(March 23, 2018) Artificial Intelligence (AI) and China are two closely related topics.
The Middle Kingdom is pushing digitalisation forward at an extremely rapid rate in a bid to become global leader in emerging technologies. Accordingly, the speech by Dr Andrew Lim, Professor for Technopreneurship and Innovation at HotelSchool The Hague in the Netherlands on the subject of AI fits well with the follow-on speech by China expert Prof Dr Wolfgang Arlt from COTRI Research Institute. These are two further highlights at our first HITT Think Tank, which will take place on 9/10 June 2018 on the seminar ship in Berlin.
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As the hotel industry has developed from a service industry into a results and now data-driven industry, technology and now also AI-driven processes have become increasingly important. The first hotel group, Yotel, began to use robots for storing luggage more than 12 years ago, five years ago the machines could respond to guests with simple audio programmes. Cleverer combinations of AI and robotics have now resulted in the first self-learning machines like the speaking and self-evolving robot at reception.
Self-learning machines change processes
This “machine learning” is part of AI and will evolve to “deep learning” – a phase in which the machine improves its learning performance by reducing its rate of error at the same time. The result: “The AI revolution is taking place in the background in business processes”, Dr Andriew Lim says, Professor of Techopreneurship and Innovation at the HotelSchool The Hague in the Netherlands.
That means that the relationships among business partners will also change. Bots, and not employees, will respond to travellers’ questions. Machines will provide live data on energy consumption or the number of employees needed the following day. Algorithms will put guest profiles together and new media will transfer travel requests in milliseconds…
As University Professor specialised in hospitality, and with courses of study both in Industrial Engineering as well as Innovation Sciences under his belt, Andriew Lim forms the perfect bridge between the world of technology experts and the layman.
China’s tech love-affair challenges the world
The bridge to China and its technological world view will be presented by Prof Dr Wolfgang Arlt. Since 1978, he has flown to China several times per year. 15 years ago, as he predicted China would become the biggest source market for tourism, people laughed. Meanwhile, the Chinese government officially supports tourism (just as it controls and tempers tourism companies) and even wishes to raise its cultural influence around the world in this way.
Chinese internet companies have developed a high degree of innovation and Chinese hospitality firms test inventions of start-ups and the efficiency of new algorithms without hindrance.
“A Chinese traveller wants to discover Europe just like his own country, with the smartphone in his hand. And he wants to use this to be able to book tickets for Schloss Neuschwanstein in Bavaria just as easily as he can make payments using WeChat in China”. Using apps, which offer real-time translations, tourists can scan tourism signs (“To the Cathedral, go left”) and restaurant menus, making them easily understandable. China’s tech giants are the counterweights to the US market leaders. And all of them are wildly collected customer data, analysing purchasing behaviour and are experimenting with facial, voice and gait recognition. Wolfgang Arlt is one of the most competent and best networked China experts; hospitalityInside.com readers already know him from his contributions to the magazine.