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Machines, but not workers wanted in Alibaba's futuristic hotel

Alibaba, one of the largest e-commerce companies based in China, debuted a new prototype of hotels in the future, where machines provide the service. Let’s see what Alibaba’s futuristic hotel offers.


The futuristic hotel

The hotel of the future is called FlyZoo. This 290-room property is located in Hangzhou, China, the headquarter of Alibaba. FlyZoo maximizes the guest-machine interactions but minimizes guest-staff interactions.


A more powerful app

Travelers, for example, can book and check-in into a hotel room with the FlyZoo App, as many other hotels have already offered. What makes the FlyZoo App stand out is that travelers can choose the room they want to stay, including on which floor the room is located and to which direction the room is facing.

Possibly because of the country’s strict security controls, mobile check-in is only available to Chinese citizens. Foreign travelers still need to use a kiosk located in the hotel to complete the check-in process.

Facial recognition that enables keyless experience

The hotel also utilizes facial recognition technology throughout the property. Guests can gain easy and secure access to the guestroom and other facilities throughout the hotel without using a keycard.

Tmall Genie as a guest’s personal assistant

Each room is equipped with a voice-activated device called Tmall Genie, similar to the Alexa by Amazon. Tmall Genie can help a guest adjust the room temperature, operate the lights, curtains, and TVs, play music, and answer some simple questions.

Guests can also make requests through Tmall Genie for additional amenities or commercial items, which will be delivered by Alibaba’s robot. This is similar to the Botlr concept launched by Aloft Hotels back in 2014.

Digital workout experience

Today’s travelers want to stay active and healthy even when they are on the road. The FlyZoo Hotel is equipped with digital workout facilities, allowing travelers to have gaming sessions or interactive experience (with the machines or AI) during the workout.

Pack-and-go as needed

When it is time to check out, a guest can proceed with the FlyZoo App too. Guests are able to enjoy the “pack-and-go” experience in FlyZoo.

Other e-commerce services

Shopping is made easy with the Flyzoo App. When a guest wants to purchase an item (e.g., a piece of furniture) in the hotel, they can also use the Flyzoo App to take pictures of the object and add it into the shopping cart.

Alibaba’s futuristic restaurants and grocery stores

It was just a few months ago when Alibaba introduced a similar “worker-optional” concept for restaurants and grocery stores --- the Hema (sounds like “hippo” in Mandarin) Restaurant in Shanghai and Hema Xiansheng (sounds like “hippo fresh” in Mandarin) Store. Today, Alibaba has opened over 100 Hema Xiansheng Stores in China.

Like the Flyzoo Hotel, the Hema Restaurants and Hema Xiansheng Stores utilize mobile apps and robots to maximizes consumer-machine interactions while minimizing consumer-staff interactions. Machines will perform most tasks for consumers, including ordering, delivery, and processing payment.

Are there still jobs for humans?   

On the one hand, companies want to hire fewer staff members to lower the labor cost. On the other hand, machines are now replacing humans in more places. Are there still jobs for humans?

The fact is technology is only going to get more sophisticated and becomes part of our lives. It is likely that more jobs will be performed by machines in the near future. Now, it is time for us to think about the big question: What can we do to avoid being replaced by machines?


How about cyber security?   

From the perspective of cyber security, do you have concerns about the safety of customers’ data collected by commercial firms? What regulations must be put in place when companies collect and use consumer data for commercial purposes?

Note: The picture was downloaded from https://kohler.design/flyzoo-hotel/; This post is also available on MultiBriefs.com.

Comments

  1. Interesting article, although when I read about news like so, I cannot comprehend success without the human hand. Perhaps this caters to individuals who want to experience innovative change, and are less reliant on service. However, situations come to play when this type of service is being initiated. For example, what if a natural disaster, or something less catastrophic, like a power outage, were to occur? Given this hotel is primarily reliant on databases and internet inquiries, how will such be resolved and transmit to guests? Perhaps there is an off-service staff that acts on behalf of these machines in the case such situations were to occur. However, how effective will these off-service staff take initiative if they have not experienced the hotel live? Moreover, ethical questions come into play, for example, China is the largest in capita in terms of population; How will it’s people support themselves in a nation that strives towards an technological empire?
    HRT 3020 Section 1 Talin Manoukian

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  2. This is for sure an interesting article because technology is a big part of the industry. Now while I do think that technology is an important asset in hospitality it should be limited. Since this place is mostly reliant on databases and its connections to the internet a lot of things can happen. The human interaction is always good for people because while robots and programs can be designed to do things the right way there is a "human touch" that technology cannot replace. South Korea for a long time has been the leader of internet and much technology, but remember that humans can do things technology will never be able to.
    HRT 3020 Sec 4 Joseph Gonzales

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  3. Although I do enjoy the economical efficiency with this idea, I do believe that the amount of technology used is a bit excessive and could even harm the company. Technology can store a lot of personal information like credit card numbers, names, passwords, and more. Without proper security, others may take advantage of this and use it to steal from guests at the hotel. Also, technology has the tendency to break or be vulnerable to problems people can easily avoid like mobility and correcting problems instantly. Over all, this hotel does seem like an amazing experience for technology lovers but may not be the place to achieve great hospitality.
    HRT 3020 Sec 4 Anthony Cervantes

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