- Lee Pillsbury
2019 Tech Forecast: The promises of the future
To many, it might appear that the pace and degree of change must inevitably slow down as the result of consolidation, the high costs of implementing new technology and other forces that have shaped the hotel industry in recent years.
However, nothing could be further from the truth. Forces are building that will create even bigger changes leading to the next wave of transformation. Here are some of the trends that will have the most significant impact on our industry.
Internet of Things
The promise of the Internet of Things (IoT) has been held up by the high cost of transmitting massive amounts of data over cellular networks. Beginning next year, the deployment of 5G systems will dramatically lower cost and increase speed, making use of IoT to manage everything in the supply chain a realistic possibility. Every item in the hotel will be managed in real time; its location, cost, life expectancy, required maintenance, use-by date, reorder and delivery times can be controlled, managed, and optimized.
Blockchain, the ever-growing list of records linked using cryptography, will replace double-entry bookkeeping, which has been the bedrock of commerce since the late 15th century.
Diamonds, vintage wines, fine art and other valuables are already being tracked using this technology. In our industry, accounting and inventory control will never be the same. Real-time, continuous P&L will replace the monthly P&L, the audit will become obsolete and auditors will be out of a job.
The creation of shared databases that include virtually every frequent traveler worldwide and the AI to manage it will lead hotel companies to become data science companies. It will not be enough to know what a guest does at your hotel, rather what that guest does worldwide, with everyone, and what that guest’s future potential is for you. It may even be possible to predict where that guest will go in the future and to anticipate the guest’s needs.
Voice-controlled personal assistants: Siri, Alexa and their successors are coming to provide new services, robots are washing the dishes and delivering room service, and in the near future, will recognize you when you arrive at the front door. Augmented reality will bring offers to you from nearby restaurants as you pass by.