As digital technology becomes increasingly more present in all areas of life, it is changing not just how we work but also how we interact with people. It also influences our relationship with our surroundings. Alfred Batet, global manager connected home and building area of Simon, discusses how the company can help hotels evolve.
People want to have greater control over space. Just as the internet and mobile devices offer immediate access to the people and information we need at any time, users are beginning to demand that same immediacy in many areas of their daily life, including in their relationship with spaces. Simon believes technology should play a crucial role in this experience and, at the same time, be user friendly and invisible. This goes for spaces as well, where interaction should be extremely straightforward.
This new relationship with our surroundings translates into new commodities that the hotel guest, perhaps without even realising it, searches for in their room: simple interactions, total connectivity and the ability to customise the experience. More than an overnight stay, the client is now searching for impeccable service and a unique experience. One way to respond to both needs is by creating a user-friendly environment and making customisation easy.
Upon arriving at the room, the client is likely not familiar with it; they obviously don't have the comfort and immediate control that they do at home. That's why Simon believes that light-controlling devices (as well as other commodities in the room) should be as intuitive as possible. While it may seem trivial, those few minutes wasted upon arriving to the room can be a critical factor in the client's experience (just take a look at comments left on hotel rating sites, such as TripAdvisor). Hotel companies should understand that the client wants to be able to easily comprehend their surroundings, and customise them in the quickest and most intuitive way possible.
Clients want to feel as though the service they've hired is custom-made just for them. This can be achieved through lighting, for example, or access to their personal music instead of pre-established channels. It's about nearly intangible things that are key to making the user experience better, such as the room being comfortable and customised to their liking.
For example, the client should be able to listen to whatever they like. At a time when our smartphones store all the music, radio channels and podcasts that we each enjoy, the client should be able to listen to theirs in the room while relaxing or going about their daily activities, such as showering or brushing their teeth. Simon has a solution for hotels called DigitalSound, which connects the room's sound system to the client's mobile device through Bluetooth. It has become a very successful product. Hotels see the added value it offers to the room: a simple and quick customisation method.
It's also possible to offer lighting customisation. Clients should be able to turn off all the lights with a single gesture and wake up to lighting adapted to their preferences. With the lighting control system Scena, one can preprogram various types of lighting scenes that the user can then activate with a single click.
To meet these new needs, Simon has solutions adapted to timing and resource requirements. Through the Scena system, one can change the lighting in common rooms at any time of day and for any specific use. A single space can be turned into a room for doing business or an informal meeting point just by changing the lighting. Through this system, the hotel guest can create scenes for any situation, as well as colour sequences.
Simon recently launched Simon|100, which consists of traditional mechanisms that can become smart. Using existing installations, with these mechanisms, you can program new functions, as they are connected to the digital world (again, without complicated installations) through an application with which you can configure lighting scenes. Through minimal interaction, it achieves a large number of functions. Even so, one of the most common interactions in our daily life is still flipping a switch.