Can Smart Hotels be a Danger to our Privacy?

Would you like to stay in a “smart” hotel room?

Almost 10 years ago, Hospitalitynet, a hospitality industry magazine, and Dr. James Canton from the Institute of Global Futures imagined hotels 25 years in the future. They theorized AI managing the guest experience. Sensors would provide enhanced services. Touch screens and devices would provide contextualized information.

It turns out, the future is much closer than they imagined.

Smart Hotels are Here

Late last year, Marriott announced a partnership with Samsung and Legrand to create smart hotel and Internet of Things (IoT) connected guest rooms. According to the announcement, smart devices would improve the guest experience but improve operational efficiency at the hotel.

They plan voice-activated room controls, responsive lighting, and mobile apps for improved hotel responsiveness. Automated operations would manage everything from check-in, to room service, to check-out.

Hilton also announced plans for a smart, connected hotel room – starting with a mobile-centric connected room. Using the Hilton Honors app and your phone, you’ll be able to manage connected devices in the hotel. Using the app, you’ll be able to not only check in and out of the hotel, but also control smart-home devices. This could include smart lights, a thermostat, and even streaming services.

Other hotels are looking at using smart-connected devices and the IoT to improve services and enhance the guest experience. For example, the Yotel in New York City includes an app they call a mobile concierge that automates much of the service provided by the hotel.

Smart Hotels and your Security

Not everyone is happy with IoT and smart, connected devices enhancing the hotel experience.

According to a recent article on CBS News, while a benefit to travelers and guests, Smart Hotels are also a danger to personal privacy.

There are security and privacy concerns to consider with a Smart Hotel. Many of the hotels reviewed for this blog utilize personal information to enhance the guest’s experience.

Putting that personal information, like your schedule or even how you take your breakfast and coffee, makes you vulnerable. Using your phone to open a lock or access hotel services provides another avenue for someone to steal data. It’s a danger that must be considered by savvy travelers.

Staying Safe in Smart Hotels

Luckily, security experts and hotels understand the danger and are looking at ways to keep you safe in Smart Hotels. Companies that are implementing smart devices in hotels are also adding security.

Taking steps to protect yourself will also help keep you safe when traveling. Ask about cybersecurity and how your data will be used before offering your personal information. If you have concerns, hotels won’t require you to use their app or connected devices. A standard key card can still be used to access your room.

Have you run into smart connected devices and hotels in your travels? What steps have you taken to protect yourself? Let us know in the comments below.

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