Here are the latest technologies for a guest who is no longer surprised by LCD screen or WIFI connection because he is accustomed to using them daily at home. Hubs for iPod, control panels, interactive TV, light sensors, home cinema, smart tiles, and nanotextiles will be part of the equipment and decor of the rooms of the hi-tech hotels that are to come.
Home automation is a reality. It is in our homes and has come to stay. Eighty-five percent of newly built housing incorporates facilities related to this technology, according to the Spanish Association of Domotics (CEDOM). If the real estate sector is already convinced, we can expect that hotels will achieve this same percentage soon.
Domotics applied to the hotel industry has its own technical name: inmotics, or which can be defined as building automation not intended for housing and offices. Inmotics and domotics offer the users some indisputable advantages such as energy savings or monitoring overall hotel operations (security, communications, air conditioning). All that will necessarily result in a greater degree of comfort for guests.
So far, hotels have mainly dealt with on those domotic systems that are related to the lighting, air conditioning, automatic windows and doors openers, raising and lowering blinds, shades, and awnings, watering gardens and managing their power efficiency, their security systems, their communication equipment and entertainment for guests.
However, it is difficult to find a hotel that integrates all these solutions. Home Systems, a Spanish company dedicated to the automation of homes and public buildings, is trying to harness the growing interest of hotels for automation. But most of the projects developed so far are only partial, just lighting and monitoring curtains and blinds and exist only in a few rooms or common areas of urban hotels.
Frequently, the installation of home automation systems in some non-centralized buildings is experiencing problems. Indeed, there are alternatives such as wireless infrared or radio frequency technologies with more successful results. But rather than technical issues, those domotics projects in hotels can be paralyzed by budgetary constraints.
The price of basic equipment such as a Simon domotics system in a hotel room (lighting, air conditioning, and motorized blinds) ranges from 300 to 600 euros, depending on the installed devices. Time for an entire hotel automation can last up to two years. For instance, one of the most advanced hotels in domotics solutions is Silken Puerta América, in Madrid, which runs an EIB-KNX system with embedded Niessen outlets. Branded by ABB company, the EIB-KNX home automation system manages lighting circuits in lobbies and hallways by actuators controlled online. The same application includes a weather station that measures wind speed, rain, and light outside the building through the devices installed on the individual awnings of each room and can extend these awnings selectively by the whole facade.
In all the rooms of Silken Puerta América Hotel, a Niessen Triton controller is able to monitor the outdoor awnings, the opening and closing of windows, the turning on of a video projection, and the selection of different lighting scenes. Moreover, a glazed pool of photosensitive cells is activated and changes its colors when guests pass through the lobby floor designed by Margaret Findlay.
This technological miracle presents a contraption capable of offering infinite landscape backgrounds. Winscape is a double window that hides two separate HDTVs, which ultimately are the ones who project the image selected, previously recorded or available through the catalog of RationalCraft company.
Most surprising, and technically more complex, is varying the landscape as the tenant changes position. This is achieved by a WIImote, a remote motion sensor, and an infrared system that detects people at all times. Yes, waking up every morning in the same place is boring.
Mosavit, a Spanish tiles company, is currently putting on the market Liquid Floor, a transparent floor and slip bactericide filled with a special liquid that moves and changes color when someone steps on. Some ceramic tiles integrated into photovoltaic panels are been designed to be placed on the facades, and they can generate enough energy for self-supply an entire building.
The windows patented by Philips allow you to enhance the right environment for each situation, that is changing the views of the room if they are not attractive, scheduling a fictional wake up at any time of day, and simulating a real dawn or a personalized surround sound.
Although the function that has generated more expectations in hoteliers overall the world is a set of artificial white and blue lights that induce relaxation and shorten the period adjustment for jet-lag. The benefits of light therapy proposed by Philips is based on a Northwestern University of Chicago research. Some scientists discovered a light receptor in the retina of the human eye which could influence the behavior of the biological clock and the mood of the guests. But we have to wait at least ten years to experience this technique in the privacy of a hotel room. Until the next decade, we will have to settle up and down the blinds.
Fernando Gallardo |