“We will make the most efficient hotels in the world…in the future, we’d like to have more than 90 percent of hotel services operated by robots.”
This is the vision of the service industry that Huis Ten Bosch company President Hideo Sawada shared at a news conference earlier this week to announce the opening of Henn na Hotel within the Nagasaki Prefecture in Japan.
This is the future of robotics and the future is now…
The hotel is fully equipped with a startling array of robotic features such as automated receptionists, including an English-speaking dinosaur and a Japanese-speaking female android, facial recognition technology, rather than keys, is used at check-in and guests have to type their information into a touch panel, porter robots are used by tapping room numbers into their digital panel for delivery, giant robot arm usually seen in manufacturing helps guests store items at the hotel’s cloak room and sensors in the bedroom adjust the room according to body heat and also deliver weather forecasts.
It’s not just the functionality of the hotel that looks to the future, room prices are reasonably low compared to other high end hotels in Japan and potential visitors will have to bid for the price they are willing to pay. The highest one wins, although there will be an upper limit of ¥14,000 for a single room. The park’s founder Hideo Sadawa told reporters that having robot staff at the hotel is no gimmick as he said he wants to show how establishments can improve efficiency and lower labour costs.
The name of the hotel reflects how the hotel will “change with cutting-edge technology,” said a company official, “this is a play on words: “Henn” is also part of the Japanese word for change.”
Exciting times ahead, let’s just hope it turns out rosier than the outcome in the 1973 sci-fi classic Westworld.
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