A new hotel in eastern China has a unique selling point: it’s mostly powered by artificial intelligence. Internet giant Alibaba is the brainchild behind the venture that’s transforming the typical hotel stay. CGTN’s Frances Kuo shows us how.
Who needs a key card when you have your face?
That’s all it takes to open a room at Alibaba’s “FlyZoo” Hotel in eastern Zhejiang province.
Sam Wang and his grandparents are among the first guests.
“It is really very convenient,” Sam says.”We don’t have to waste our time waiting in lines.”
Stepping inside is like stepping into the future. A smart speaker controls the room’s lights, TV, and curtains.
But it doesn’t end there. Customers can check into automatic machines in the lobby. Robots offer meal delivery or they can serve you in the restaurant and pour you a drink.
FlyZoo is one of an increasing number of hotels worldwide using smart technology – and that worries some.
“This kind of smart hotel faces risks of customer information leakage,” Sam explains. “Hotels would never leak or sell personal info, but some hackers may attack the internet and steal information.”
Andy Wang, the hotel’s CEO, says they’ve already considered that. “First of all, we will completely comply with local government policies and laws. Secondly, with our system capabilities, because you know all our systems are cloud-based, we have stronger capabilities to protect the data for our individual guests.”
There’s also another issue of security – job security, that is. Could robots replace human employees?
“I’m not worried about this,” says Sun Xiaotong, a member of the FlyZoo Hotel’s staff. “Machines and robots can only do some repetitive and programmatic work. The robots can save us a lot of time so that we can provide more quality and customized service for our customers.”
The hotel says the technology allows it to be much more efficient than its competitors, and guests seem to be embracing it.
On its first day, FlyZoo’s rooms are almost all booked. And if you’re interested, well, robots can help with that too.
Scott Schober on the potential – and consequences – of AI
So where is this technology going? To find out, CGTN’s Elaine Reyes spoke with Scott Schober, CEO and President of Berkley Varitronics Systems.