The hotel room of the future is coming together — in a Bethesda, Md., basement.
Marriott International (NASDAQ: MAR) has partnered with Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and Legrand to build a pair of connected “internet of things” hotel rooms in the basement of Marriott’s Bethesda headquarters. The IoT Guestroom Lab, part of Marriott’s 10,000-square-foot Innovation Lab, was designed to explore everything from intuitive lighting to voice-activated room controls to virtual assistants.
The team will analyze feedback to the internet of things rooms over the next three months before taking both down. In a release, Marriott said its customers will start to see elements of the technology in hotel rooms in the next five years.
The internet of things is essentially device-to-device communication. Imagine, if you will, a hotel guest extending a laptop screen to the room’s TV, a desk light with adaptive brightness or a shower that can be turned on by voice. Marriott envisions a customer being able to order a wake-up call via a virtual assistant or to launch a yoga routine on a full-length, digital mirror.
The room, in theory, would be largely controlled by apps and systems that remember a visitor’s preferences and past behaviors. It is powered by three linked networks and could power down automatically when the customer leaves.
Travelers in the Queen City have already gotten a glimpse inside the future of Marriott hotels. The global lodging company unveiled its first-ever "hotel idea incubator" during the grand reopening of Charlotte Marriott City Center in October 2016.
As part of a $40 million full renovation of the uptown hotel at 100 W. Trade. St., the 446-room property received three new dining concepts, a futuristic front check-in lobby, and other tech features that will give guests a new take on the traditional lodging experience. That included allowing customers to test new product and service concepts first-hand while providing real-time feedback to Marriott.
Marriott International encompasses a portfolio of 6,400 properties across 30 brands in 126 countries and territories.
The internet of things room, when it is rolled out, will not be cookie cutter, a Marriott spokeswoman said — different properties might want different features. But it will be, the company said, seamless, transparent and flexible, “while customers would enjoy an integrated experience with access to their own data and information, as well as accessible voice and mobile-optimized controls.”
As a tech company, Samsung develops everything from TVs to smartphones to wearable devices, network systems and digital appliance. Legrand, a French company, specializes in electrical and digital infrastructure.