Anywhere between 20 and 50 billion IoT connected devices will exist by 2020 alone, depending on what survey you choose. Either way, that’s a lot of ‘things’. With smart assistants and connected devices becoming ever more popular in the home, people increasingly expect similar services when away from home.
Hotels need to get connected, and fast. It’s not just a case of being left behind, and being irrelevant, the benefits of incorporating IoT are manifold. The first and foremost are the benefits to the guest. A connected stay means a more seamless personalised experience. From personalised welcome messages to heating, lighting and media settings that are customised to individual tastes managed through in-room tablets, voice control or mobile apps. These are just the start; how about pillows that track your sleep routines, mirrors that monitor your heart rate during yoga workouts, or artwork that changes to match your taste?
IoT Return of Investment
But the benefits don’t end with the customer; IoT connectivity can improve a hotel’s bottom line and help streamline operation processes. 94% of organisations that have implemented IoT solutions have seen a return on investment. The use of smart heating, lighting and other services can save dramatically on energy, with a 25% reduction in utility bills by using IoT solutions, leading to savings of as much as $300 a room per year.
Greater connectivity also leads to greater automation, freeing up staff and — perhaps — leading ultimately to fully automated hotels. It also allows for ‘predictive maintenance’ — the ability to track the performance and maintenance needs of devices, avoiding costly repair bills and reducing customer frustration. Imagine being able to replace lightbulbs before they fail rather than waiting until it’s already gone.
IoT data management
All these devices mean data — a whopping 160 zegabytes of it by 2025. Data will enable hotels to further personalise stays for repeat customers to the point where, with the help of machine learning, room personalisation becomes automated and predictive. With enough information of a guest’s habits, preferences and routines, preferred room settings can be activated without even touching a tablet or opening an app.
With all this data flying around, hotels need to think of secure, robust platforms, systems and data connections to avoid guest information being leaked, hacked or misused. And with the recent GDPR regulations, as we’ve seen, sanctions are promising to be very tough on those businesses who do not protect their guest data securely enough.
Secure IoT connections
IoT devices need to solve problems, enhance the experience, and make operations more efficient — they’re no toys — when implementing your IoT digital strategy it’s important to ensure all tech points are exchanging information for the right purposes. Until IoT connectivity becomes sufficiently developed, situations are bound to arise that provide more frustration than automation — the sooner these are trialled and tested, the more guest- and employee-ready your IoT system will be. This will ensure adoption with confidence and excitement.
Sciant can help solve some of these problems getting connected to the IoT, and support the product roadmap to implement these new technologies. We can also help with how the subsequent data is gathered, consolidated and visualised so that hoteliers can use it to their full advantage.
The path to full IoT connectivity seems clear — it’s going to happen and probably sooner than later. The hotel industry needs to embrace the opportunity to get ahead or else risk falling by the wayside. Who wants to be that person stumbling around in the dark trying to find the toilet, when the girl in the hotel next door has automatically-activated strip lighting guiding her steps?