Alibaba’s New Hospitality Robot

Alibaba’s New Hospitality Robot

The demand for service robots has been growing for several years. As from October this year, Alibaba A.I. Labs are providing one for the hospitality sector. Alibaba’s New Hospitality Robot was announced at the Computing Conference 2018 in September, which was held at the site of Alibaba’s headquarters on Hangzhou.

Hotels have been entirely reliant on human labor till now. This little under a meter high robot will deliver food, collect laundry, accepting commands from the guests via voice control, touch and hand gestures. Its responses are powered by AliGenie, the software that drives Alibaba A.I.Lab’s smart speaker, Tmail Genie.

Alibaba’s New Hospitality Robot Announced

When making the announcement, LiJuan Chen, the General manager of Alibaba A.I.Lab’s said “ We are excited by this tremendous development that is helping us to bridge the gap between guest needs and the response time they expect. Alibaba A.I.Lab’s robot is the next step in the evolution towards smart hotels. In addition, it is solving pain points in the hotel sector, such as enhancing service efficiency, with our leading AI technologies. The robot will be the ultimate assistant for hotel guests who want everything quickly and conveniently at their fingertips.”

As well as having the latest technology driving its systems, it has an aluminum casing with multi-sensor functions and parallel computing for lightning-quick responses. It also has a semantic map and an autonomous navigation system to allow it to identify and avoid obstacles. On top of that, this robot has a communication system that can control elevators and identity verification via facial-recognition technology.

According to The International Federation of Robotics, the market for service robots is on the rise all over the world. In the US alone it is estimated that $27 billion will be spent on service robots in the 2 years up to 2020. They forecast that this growth will continue for several years to come, and that service robots will be as normal as a human porter or receptionist.

This does not mean these jobs will disappear. The idea is that the robots complement the existing workers to make the hotel, or other business, run more efficiently.

This is because there are many more industries than hospitality they can be useful in. They could prove invaluable in hospitals, restaurants, offices, theaters, libraries, schools, and no end of other places.

These days, the public demands and expects the highest quality service wherever they are and this is more likely to be achieved if a service robot is present. The robots cannot only provide this; they will do it without offending anyone, which will help the number of consumers that return to them.

Friendly, small robots that will carry out most of the services a hotel guest will need will be a totally new experience for many people. But it is something that is going to happen worldwide with the space of a very few years. Alibaba A.I.Labs might be one of the first to develop such a piece of robotics, but they certainly will not be the last.

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