Robots at your ser­vice in Sin­ga­pore ho­tels

Singapore Business Review - - CONTENTS -

When guests met Jeno and Jena, the new­est staff at two Ho­tel Jen prop­er­ties in Sin­ga­pore, they found the ser­vice to be ef­fi­cient and sur­pris­ingly pleas­ant—a com­pli­ment that would have made the em­ploy­ees blush, if only they were not one-me­tre-tall au­ton­o­mous robots. “The ro­bot is friendly and a nice sur­prise when guests are be­ing re­ceived at the door,” said Cetin Sek­er­cioglu, ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent of Shangri-la Ho­tels and Re­sorts, which man­ages the Ho­tel Jen brand. “It ap­peals to our guests as the robots’ char­ac­ters are cre­ated such that they’re not only a team mem­ber but also friendly, help­ful, and hard­work­ing.”

Jeno and Jena can ride the lift, bring meals any time of the day, and make room calls to alert guests when they ar­rive with their de­liv­er­ies. Ad­vanced sen­sors also mean they do not stum­ble en route to their des­ti­na­tions. It was a wel­come bonus that the robots also promised to boost worker pro­duc­tiv­ity and shave costs in the long run. Sek­er­cioglu ar­gued that in­stead of tak­ing work away from their hu­man coun­ter­parts, Jeno and Jena sup­port them by do­ing repet­i­tive tasks and leav­ing their col­leagues to fo­cus on spe­cialised in­ter­ac­tions with guests.

“Tech­nol­ogy will help us re­visit and re­align our job scopes: the or­di­nary tasks to au­ton­o­mous robots, au­to­mated ma­chines, and ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence will al­low hu­man col­leagues to work on more com­plex tasks and in­ter­act face-to-face with guests,” Sek­er­cioglu said.

Bots at your ser­vice

Aside from Jeno and Jena, other Sin­ga­pore ho­tels have also rolled out their ro­botic staff last year. M So­cial Sin­ga­pore of­fers ro­bot but­ler ser­vice and its AUSCA restau­rant has a ro­bot chef that cooks per­fect eggs. Mean­while, Park Av­enue Rochester Ho­tel has a ro­bot bell­hop and house­keeper duo. Yo­tel Sin­ga­pore and Sof­i­tel Sin­ga­pore City Cen­tre were also re­ported to be field­ing in­ter­ac­tive robots with de­liv­ery and but­ler func­tions in the near fu­ture.

Sin­ga­pore ho­tels are field­ing robots not only for their task pre­ci­sion but also for the nov­elty fac­tor to at­tract the mil­lions of ad­di­tional in­bound tourists set to visit the city-state over the next decade. In 2017, Sin­ga­pore was the fourth most vis­ited city in the world with 16.6 mil­lion vis­i­tors, and is ex­pected to over­take Lon­don as the third-most vis­ited city in the world by 2025, ac­cord­ing to Euromon­i­tor In­ter­na­tional’s Top 100 City Des­ti­na­tions Rank­ings.

When asked about the fu­ture of ro­bot­ics in the ho­tel in­dus­try, Sek­er­cioglu said it can only get bet­ter from this point, es­pe­cially as robots ex­pand their func­tion­al­ity in the com­ing years.

Jeno and Jena can ride the lift, bring meals any time of the day, and make room calls to alert guests when they ar­rive with their de­liv­er­ies.

Jeno is equipped with ad­vanced sen­sors that al­low him to nav­i­gate the ho­tel cor­ri­dors with­out stum­bling

Jena can in­ter­act with guests and make room de­liv­er­ies

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