Microsoft demonstrates Connected Room concept at HITEC conference

Sean Dudley
Sean Dudley
By Sean Dudley on 18 June 2015
Microsoft demonstrates Connected Room concept at HITEC conference

In an industry where the customer experience has always been paramount to success, the expectations of hotel guests are changing.

Online bookings and mobile payments are gaining momentum, and technology is beginning to bring about significant transformations within the industry.

Microsoft is demonstrating what the future of the hotel room may look like with its ‘Connected Room’ concept at this week’s Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference (HITEC) in Austin, Texas.

“While hoteliers are increasingly looking at tablet PCs and other devices to facilitate this change, the Connected Room is taking the concept a step further with a voice-activated solution built on Windows 10,” said Greg Jones, managing director, Worldwide Hospitality and Travel. “Multiple pieces of technology are coming together to make this solution possible — bringing together environmental controls, room service menus, information about the property and in-room entertainment into a single system controlled by voice commands.”

In the hotel industry, factors such as reservations, arrivals, check-ins and check-outs are all of vital importance when looking to ensure guest satisfaction. Hospitality companies are now looking into introducing new ways to improve the guest stay.

Microsoft’s ‘Connected Room’ aims to streamline the process hotel guests go through when trying to figure out the thermostat, light switches, TV controls and hotel amenities.

Developed in partnership with Intel, Teknikos and Technovation, Connected Room offers a voice-activated solution built on Windows 10.

The solution brings together environmental controls, room service menus, information about the property and in-room entertainment into a single system controlled by voice commands.

The solution’s prototype is currently being showcased at the HITEC event, but companies in the hotel industry are already using this approach with specialised industry devices based on the Windows platform.

For example, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group’s iRiS solution is a suite of touch-enabled apps delivered in each room through a Surface Pro tablet, giving guests immediate access to information on restaurants, spas, facilities and room service.

Staff are also able to communicate and collaborate more easily with software such as Skype or SharePoint portals, helping provide guests a unique experience.

“It all comes back to helping properties provide a personal experience for each customer and making that customer journey more seamless,” said Jones. “By putting the right technologies in the right places, organisations have a chance to make the entire interaction more personalised and build loyalty based on those experiences.”

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