A new type of hotel beckons weary travelers who enjoy the connected life. The Sinclair, Autograph Collection in Fort Worth, Texas, is on the cutting edge of the hospitality space, leveraging IoT (Internet of Things) technologies in useful and creative ways to improve guests’ experience, enhance hotel management, and reduce the building’s carbon footprint. Together with technology companies like Intel, The Sinclair is reimagining the future of hotel operations and guest experiences through connected technology.
The Sinclair features cutting-edge IoT technology built into its infrastructure, connecting everything from building operations to in-room conveniences. Joe Jensen, vice president of Intel’s Internet of Things Group and general manager of Intel’s Retail Solutions Division, says the hospitality industry has a unique, personal relationship with consumers, who look to the industry to provide a home away from home during their hotel visits. “As immersive technologies like IoT become increasingly pervasive in everyday life, consumers now expect smart, digitally connected experiences when they travel, as well,” Jensen explains. “There is an industry-wide opportunity to strengthen the customer experience by radically transforming the traditional hotel.”
The key to such transformation, Jensen suggests, is the IoT. At The Sinclair, hotel staff can use mobile devices to connect to reservation and property-management software anywhere on the premises, increasing productivity and customer service. Wireless POS (point-of-sale) systems enable food and drink sales anywhere on the property. Hotel rooms automatically configure environmental settings like temperature and lighting to guests’ pre-selected preferences. Even the hotel gym plays a role, featuring exercise equipment that generates energy and feeds it back into the hotel’s power grid to reduce its carbon footprint.
Intel’s IoT gateway brings together the data, edge computing power, and management capabilities of the smart building infrastructure. Other technology that powers the hotel, according to Jensen, includes a smart Wi-Fi cloud networking solution from Cisco, which offers location-based analytics and personalized guest messaging; VoltServer’s PoE (Power over Ethernet), which delivers its “Digital Electricity” solution to power Cisco switches; motorized shades and drapes from Somfy; PoE-powered LED mirrors from Electric Mirror; and even SinkTech IoT sinks in the hotel restaurant that regulate water temperature, soap, and sanitizer levels.
“In order to stay competitive and differentiate their offerings, hotels will increasingly adopt smart home conveniences and amenities to retain loyal guests and attract new customers,” Jensen adds. “While the initial investment costs of an all-digital hotel may be prohibitive for boutique or smaller facilities, over time, early adopters will see these technological implementations result in reduced operational costs and increased energy efficiencies, leading to longer-term savings.”
As the technologies integrated into The Sinclair become more commonplace and readily available, it will be easier for hotels to implement these innovations into their facilities. One day, this type of innovative hotel will become the norm in hospitality. For now, it’s a new benchmark in connected home away from home.
Challenge: Leverage IoT technologies to solve common issues in the hospitality industry in ways that will benefit hotel guests and employees alike.
Risk: The upfront costs associated with investing in technologies that will create the desired experience.
Solution: Cutting-edge IoT technology built into The Sinclair’s infrastructure connects everything from building operations to in-room conveniences.
Payoff: Potential outcomes include reducing operational costs; creating more engaging, personalized experiences for guests; and freeing up employees’ time so they can focus on higher-value tasks.
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