Posted: Jun 15, 2018
Picture this: a hotel staffer is carrying room service on a large tray when their boss wants to contact them. They don’t have any hands free to answer a phone or walkie-talkie so they have to respond when the tray is out of their hands. Or maybe a maintenance worker is fixing an AC unit two-handed when the phone rings and they miss the call or, worse, in their haste to answer, they drop the device.
Samsung may have found the answer with a new program to speed up towel delivery or make hotel managers’ requests more discreet.
In conjunction with ALICE, the hotel operations platform, Samsung is issuing hotel staff with Samsung Gear S3 smartwatches so that contact between managers and the team can be quick, discreet and hands-free.
This changes everything, perhaps.
Now the person with the tray can talk to their wrist to answer the call. Or the maintenance person trying to keep the noise down while they fix the issue in your room can spot the next request arriving, silently, on his or her wrist. One tap, and they’ve acknowledged it.
Samsung’s new scheme will be seen for the first time at the Samsung and ALICE booths at HITEC 2018, the world’s largest hospitality technology show which takes place in Houston, Texas from June 18-21.
It will also be used by staff at the Viceroy L’Ermitage, Beverly Hills, from this summer. Additionally, there are plans to roll the system out to other Viceroy hotels.
It’s made possible by the inclusion of 4G as well as wi-fi on the smartwatches and a properly imaginative approach. The 4G means staff can be more widely accessible, so the bellman can be summoned even if they’re outside the building.
Samsung’s Eric McCarty, who’s the Vice President, B2B Mobile Product Marketing for Samsung Electronics in the U.S., said, “This smartwatch solution from Samsung and ALICE provides a compelling tool for hotels, whose employees are often mobile, and require durable, hands-free operation for completing day-to-day tasks. With capabilities such as Samsung Knox built in, hotels not only have a wearable that keeps employees connected, but can be securely managed to meet specific business needs.”
It’s a clever idea and one that offers sophistication in streamlining operations and even means staff are weighed down with one fewer item, such as a walkie-talkie which anyway is a noisier, more disruptive element than a silent wrist-buzz.
Of course, it does mean that a staffer wearing the smartwatch who receives an instruction while in conversation with a hotel guest will immediately glance at their watch.
In my experience, gazing at a smartwatch notification has often meant the person I’m talking to will say, “Am I boring you?” or something similar.
Which in the hotel scenario may not lead to bigger tips, I’d suggest.
By David Phelan
June 15, 2018
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