In the paper, IoT Technologies and Applications in Tourism and Travel Industries, the authors write that the Internet of Things (IoT) play a crucial role in the way of understanding and managing this industry, including how offers and demands are linked. It makes the case for Smart Destinations as a natural evolution of Smart Cities.
The paper claims that Smart Destinations require this smart management as well as the integration of the stakeholders’ value-chain throughout the entire process. In this process, IoT has a crucial role in enhancing the experiences of tourists, managing the destination more efficiently, and offering a channel of information exchange.
Sanjiv Verma, vice president, Ruckus Networks, APAC from CommScope, acknowledged that personalised guest experience remains at the top of the must-achieve for guests. That said, following the prolonged, there is a greater focus on sustainability.
“From the hotel properties side, they are looking into how they can improve the operational efficiencies when they're delivering these services,” he opined. At the same time, there is pressure on these businesses to improve asset utilisation, so they have a better return on capital.
According to Verma, IoT devices are used to improve facilities management by deploying sensors to regulate conditions such as temperature and air quality in tooms. “If somebody left the door open in the balcony, rather than the AC running, (sensors) can turn the AC off automatically so that there is much better conservation of energy,” he suggested.
He conceded that one of the biggest challenges here is the integration of operational technologies (OT) with information technology (IT) – so that you have a single network where you can optimise your cost and efficiency, he continued.
In addition, IoT can also be used to ensure both the security of guests and staff.
He suggested that if a guest room is accidentally left open, sensors can inform hotel management of such and assign staff to check out what has happened and take appropriate actions.
Verma is quick to remind that with more connected devices the more complex the ecosystem becomes, and the more important cybersecurity becomes.’
“Any kind of connected devices poses the same risk as IoT devices will. Those that can be leveraged to make sure that when guests are in the hotel, their information is protected, their payments through the card system are protected and things like phishing attacks can be protected. A lot of this stuff is treated in the same way as an enterprise network. We need to make sure that those tools are in place and that the customer can be protected from all these attacks,” he suggested.
Improving IT-OT connectivity
Verma commented that the reality is that businesses maintain multiple networks that operate in silos. He acknowledged that some hotels are working to improve efficiencies by merging networks.
The (merger) process starts with a consolidation of network protocols with the intent of merging the OT and IT on a single platform.
“There is software like “SmartCell Insights” which are labelled, which can give you a common dashboard and will be able to provide all the visibility from various IoT devices that allows you to manage them from the control centre,” he elaborated.
Click on the PodChat player and listen to Verma go into details about how the hospitality industry, one segment of the Tourism and Travel industries, can take advantage of IoT to move into the digital economy.
- How will the hospitality industry shift in the next few years in a technology perspective in terms of streamlining processes and ensure hotels operate more efficiently?
- Beyond the current IoT implementations in hotels, what are the other ways hotels can leverage IoT to increase efficiency level in building maintenance and what are the potential challenges they might face?
- With hotels adopting more advance security systems (for entire property and individual guestrooms), how do we ensure that they will not be bypassed by a third person?
- With travel slowly restarting, what can hotels implement to boost travellers’ confidence within the property, while at the same time allow hotels to ensure safe distancing and have sufficient health & safety protocols in place?
- You mentioned the need for OT to work with IT for better network efficiency. How do we bridge the divide between IT and OT to maximise value for the business and experience for customers?