As Bloomberg noted in March, Marriott International, the world’s biggest lodging company, is testing devices from Amazon and Apple at its Aloft hotel in Boston’s Seaport district “to determine which is best to let guests turn on lights, close drapes, control room temperature and change television channels via voice command.” It has also installed Netflix-ready televisions, allowing guests to access their personal Netflix accounts in another customer-driven test of personalization and connectivity.
Now Marriott has created a connected “hotel room of the future,” a three-month test concept at the Innovation Lab located in the basement of its corporate HQ, with two other tech partners: Samsung, which is providing smart appliances featuring its ARTIK IoT and SmartCloud tech, plus smart lighting and power products from Legrand.
As technology continues to evolve and play an increasingly active role in our daily lives, particularly when we travel, Marriott International hopes its partnership with Samsung and Legrand to test and design the hospitality industry’s leading Internet of Things (IoT) hotel room, will a real-life “ultimate hotel experience” in the near-future.
The just-opened IoT Guestroom Lab—located in Marriott’s Innovation Lab at the hotelier’s corporate headquarters in Bethesda, Maryland—explores concepts that have the potential to elevate the guest experience, create more efficient hotel room design and construction and contribute to Marriott’s global sustainability efforts and goals.
As a state of the art “smart” hotel room, the Lab allows multiple responsive IoT systems, devices and applications to communicate with one another to serve guests and optimize hotel operations.
It’s a connected concept informed by polling guests, particularly millennials, in recent years, and also by its year-old M Beta Innovation Incubator in Charlotte, NC (more in our story here) and a pop-up innovation lab in Los Angeles in January (which we covered here). Now it’s specifically focusing on developing the optimal IoT design from the customer experience perspective using Samsung and Legrand’s technologies.
“We know that our guests expect to personalize almost everything in their lives, and their hotel experience should be no different,” stated Stephanie Linnartz, Global Chief Commercial Officer, Marriott International. “By teaming with best-in-class partners, we are leveraging mobile and voice-enabled technology to give our guests the ability to set up the room to best meets their needs, whether that is creating the ultimate relaxation environment or one that enables productivity for business travelers.”
“At Samsung, we aspire to make life easier and better for our consumers, whether they’re at home or their home away from home,” said James Stansberry, SVP and General Manager of ARTIK IoT, Samsung Electronics.
“Partnering with Legrand and Marriott, we can offer users unprecedented levels of control and personalization, thanks to our end-to-end IoT services powered by the ARTIK platform and the SmartThings Cloud. From intuitive lighting to voice-activated room controls, we’re delivering customizable, intelligent experiences that make our consumers’ lives more convenient, productive and secure.”
As Stansberry also commented to Skift, “Think about a hotel room. There are dozens of different products in there from many different manufacturers — curtain shades, thermostats, TVs, light switches, etc. How do you connect all of those devices together easily and be able to trigger an action easily?”
Samsung elaborated in a blog post about the Marriott project:
The IoT Guestroom Lab incorporates multiple responsive IoT systems, devices and applications that communicate with one another to serve guests and optimize hotel operations. Customizable, intelligent experiences mean that guests on vacation can enjoy the ultimate relaxation environment, while business travelers can achieve heightened productivity based on their personal preferences.
Underlying the smart hotel room’s capabilities are end-to-end IoT services powered by the Samsung ARTIK platform and the Samsung SmartThings Cloud. From intuitive lighting to voice-activated room controls, the ARTIK platform is enabling a future where hotel guests enjoy an elevated guest experience in rooms designed and constructed with greater efficiency.
Developing an intuitive system is critical as Marriott seeks to continuously innovate the global guest experience across its 30 brands. The technology inside the IoT Guestroom Lab allows, for instance, a user to ask a virtual assistant for a 6:30 AM wake-up alarm, to start a yoga routine on a full-length mirror, request additional housekeeping services and start the shower at the desired temperature stored in their customer profile—all by voice or app.
“We’re proud to be innovating with industry-leading partners to get closer to revolutionizing the guest experience, along with hotel operations and even hotel construction,” said Karim Khalifa, SVP, Global Design, Marriott International. “Together with Samsung and Legrand, we are well on our way to creating the hotel room of the future.”
“At Legrand, we offer a suite of power, light and data solutions that bring power and connectivity to previously untapped locations,” said Ken Freeman, its SVP of Demand Creation. “Legrand is partnering with Marriott to improve the guest experience in a cost-effective and intuitive manner.”
“This work further supports our Eliot Program in North America, Legrand’s global IoT program that encompasses our ambition, drives our product innovation and fosters our partnership in the IoT space,” he added. “Legrand’s product portfolio can elevate a property by turning everyday features into lasting highlights. We are thrilled to collaborate with Marriott and Samsung to conceptualize and deliver on the future traveler’s needs.”
Marriott is working towards a future where hotel owners would have a seamless, transparent and flexible end-to-end solution that requires minimal equipment, while customers would enjoy an integrated experience with access to their own data and information, as well as accessible voice- and mobile-optimized controls. Such systems would also benefit hotel operations and improve personalized service by, for instance, allowing staff to provide services at a guest’s desired time.
Following the three-month-long IoT Guestroom Lab, Marriott, Samsung and Legrand will analyze the data and feedback to continue innovating with IoT technology. The plan is that consumers will start to see elements of the technology in hotel rooms within the next five years.
As Skift commented, “It was only a matter of time before the big brands started rolling this smart-room technology. But what will be even more interesting is seeing which brand’s approach works better in a hospitality setting, and is more appealing not only to guests but to hotel owners, too.”