Hotel Park Inn by Radisson located at IP extension Delhi has become India’s first hotel to introduce smart hotel rooms in India. Few studio rooms of the hotel have been modified in a way so that the guest can do most of the things just by voice commands. I was the first guest to experience this smart hotel room and here is my experience.
On the way to the hotel, I was also making some perceptions about the room. I thought that the room would have smart LEDs and other smart gadgets for making everything voice controlled. When I entered the room, I was given a few minutes demo and a guide to voice commands that I should use to perform different actions. I was surprised to see that there were no smart gadgets except one. The normal LED TV, LED bulbs and Set Top box were installed in the room. And the only smart gadget was Amazon Echo Dot powered by Alexa voice assistant.
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There are few hotels in America that already use the Alexa, but they are using connected gadgets to connect everything with Alexa. Here, things are totally different and worth to note.
When the company started working on Alexa integration, Amazon had no confirmation whether they will bring Alexa powered smart speakers to India or not. So, it was courageous to step to move with Alexa when there was no official support for India.
Alexa can easily understand Indian accent as well and it never ignores your voice commands even if you are at a corner of the room. The Amazon Echo dot device has been placed on the center side of the room to cover every corner.
So, now you know how this room was being controlled. You need to ask Alexa for different things and it will perform actions based on the voice commands. But in place of replacing existing room gadgets, the company took it as a challenge to change the existing room into the smart room without investing on other smart gadgets. I really appreciate this.
What can you do with voice commands?
- Control Room lights
- Turn on/off TV
- Change TV channels (Tata Sky was used)
- Play music of your interest
- Change Volume Level
- Change TV modes
- Access Amazon Prime, Google search, WhatsApp Web and YouTube in normal LED TV
- Avail any room service (order water bottle, order food, book a room cleaning service or avail any other hotel service)
I asked Alexa for telling hotel staff to bring a water bottle and I received a water bottle within 5 minutes.
What else you need?
The hotel is also working on integrating the Air conditioning system and Curtains with Echo Dot. So, the future upgrade will also allow guest to ask Alexa for opening or closing the curtains and changing the room temperature.
The room had Amazon Echo dot, so you can do lot more things than just controlling room gadgets and availing hotel services. You can perform web search by asking something. You can try asking anything related to history or any math problem.
Before going to sleep, I asked Alexa to set the alarm and even asked it to remind of out a meeting. You can ask it to read news briefs as well.
Not just voice commands, you can use a smartphone to control these things but without installing any app.
The hotel has become the first int he world to use WebRTC, browser API for real-time communications. When you will check-in, you will receive a message on your mobile phone. Opening this link will redirect you to a hotel’s local service where you will have the option to control room gadgets and avail hotel services. So, you can either use voice commands or use this WebRTC powered service for the same.
The most interesting thing was to access YouTube and Amazon Prime. As there was no smart TV in the room, it was an interesting concept. Your smartphone will be a remote for controlling the mouse pointer or typing something to search on Google. I was also able to use WhatsApp web. But this experience was not as smooth because of bit lag. So, typing and moving mouse was a slow process. So, I feel an improvement in this service. It could be because of slow connection from the server or the service need more optimization. As this is just a beginning, I will not complain about this because I actually enjoyed YouTube videos and Prime videos on the TV with the help of this.
It is really interesting to see how quickly this hotel has adopted the tech and brought a smart hotel room in India. While there are few hotels that offer similar kind of automation with the help of a mobile app, Park Inn has made it to a new level by offering a voice-activated smart room. The company is also working to make this experience even better. In coming months, the hotel will also expand this smart automation to other rooms as well.
What do you think about this smart hotel room? Let us know your views in the comments below.