RPA AND AI IN HOSPITALITY: 6 Ways in Which AI and Automation Have a Bright Future in the Hotel Industry

“True hospitality consists of giving the best of yourself to your guests,” said Eleanor Roosevelt.

Travelling and exploring new foods and cultures and cuisines certainly unfolds a new and exciting world before us. The diversity in this planet affords plenty of room for discovering and re-discovering the world around as well as within each of us. However, while having a wonderful time exploring new places and cultures, have we paused to consider the efforts involved in establishing a world conducive to our various adventures? The hospitality industry is definitely the ‘behind-the-scenes’ domain that leaves no stone un-turned to ensure that this process of exploration and discovery is hassle-free and comfortable for every enthusiast. From providing accommodation and transportation, to food and beverage and luxury facilities for its clients, the hotel and hospitality industry works round the clock to ensure we make good memories.
And with the unimaginable growth and expansion taking place today, nearly every nook and cranny of the world is accessible to its eager tourists. Hence, it applies that the hospitality sector must work doubly hard to ensure that these tourists are comfortable in course of their ventures. In such a scenario, it often becomes tedious and time-consuming for humans to be everywhere, shuffling tasks and being superheroes. And that’s where your new-age superhero, Artificial Intelligence, steps in and takes matters forward!
We’re back with a blog; and today, it’s time to consider some brilliant ways in which AI can work wonders in the hotel and hospitality sector:

1. NEW GUESTS? ALLOW AUTOMATION TO LAY THE RED CARPET…
Welcoming new guests into the hotel premises and ensuring their comfortable and peaceful stay is every hotel’s primary responsibility. However, the bigger and more luxurious the hotel, the more the number of clients; and consequently, the more the amount of efforts exerted by the staff. That’s where automation and AI technology step in to make life more efficient. With the guestroom automation feature, hotel rooms can now be automated to adjust room-temperature levels in accordance with the ‘occupied’ or ‘vacant’ status of a room. Moreover, with the Guest Automation System being applied in leading five-star hotels today, it is possible for guests to automate all electrical appliances (including the A.C., fan and lights) using the ‘master switch’. The Shangri-La hotel in UAE famously applies guestroom automation in providing day-to-day hospitality services to its guests.

2. ENTER, GUESTS! SO…ENTER MORE DATA?
The entry and exit of your esteemed guests often translates into the entry of a massive amount of data pertaining to the same. And undoubtedly, this task induces monotony and stagnation, and prevents professional growth for the hotel staff. The good news is that this data entry task is very much ‘automable’! With automation, that whole chunk of data pertaining to the occupancy status of the rooms as well as extremely integral information to promote sustainable living – such as data on energy saving and staff responses to guest calls can now be taken care of.

3. BECAUSE THE ENVIRONMENT HOSTS US EVERYDAY…
Just like a hotel hosts its guests on a daily basis, the environment around us also continues to host us every single day, providing us with the necessary resources and space. And so, it follows that we, as a society, owe it back to nature. A report by Energy Star states that 47,000 hotels across America incur an annual expenditure of $2,196 per available room, which amounts to 6% of all operating costs. This alarming statistic is reason enough for the hotel industry to begin to consider environment-friendly alternatives on priority. AI is here to help you out in your journey towards a sustainable living. AI enables all electrical appliances in a room to be automatically switched off when the occupancy status of the room changes to ‘vacant’. What’s more, the electricity automatically switches to standby mode when the guest is not in the room, but still somewhere in the vicinity (for e.g. at the balcony).

4. KNOCK, KNOCK! CHATBOT SERVICE…
Like in many other significant domains, chatbots and virtual assistants can play an indispensible role in the hospitality industry, too. These virtual friends are available to your guests 24/7, answering any questions and providing constant assistance. These allow for more efficient and quick customer service, preventing any delays in attending to your guests while also providing a much-needed respite to the hotel staff.

5. NOW, YOUR MOBILE PHONE IS LITERALLY THE ‘KEY’…
No, the word ‘key’ isn’t just a metaphor. With the digital transformation attaining unimaginable heights, your phone can literally act as the key to your hotel-room! Now, high-end five-star hotels have successfully enabled digital check-in for their guests, wherein the guests can check into their hotel rooms using the hotel app instead of queuing up at the reception to acquire the room keys. This is not only a major time-saver for the guests, but also paves way for the hotel staff to engage in more productive tasks pertaining to hospitality and hotel management.

6. “HOW DID WE FARE?” NOW, YOUR HOTEL GUESTS CAN FEEL FREE TO SHARE…
Guest reviews are extremely important sources of constructive feedback for any hotel. However, it often happens that this feedback is not very comprehensive owing to dearth of time on part of the departing guest. Moreover, hotels are often apprehensive to directly approach guests for their feedback. With digitization, the entire feedback process can be transformed into a more efficient and convenient one. Automating the guest review process ensures that guests who have recently checked out of the hotel receive custom emails requesting their feedback. This allows for the guests to fill up the feedback forms in a hassle-free and relaxed manner while also increasing the possibility of a more in-depth feedback.
So, here we were, with the 6 major benefits of deploying AI and automation technology into the hotel and hospitality industry. While digitization is certainly the way to go for any hotel to increase its efficiency and productivity, it cannot replace the concern and care provided by human staff. The key to successful automation in this industry is to identify the processes that are indeed monotonous and rule-based, and to automate these in order to increase overall efficiency and promote employee growth.

SOURCES:
1. HospitalityTech
2. Revfine
3. Energy Star
4. Pacific Controls

DELVING ‘DEEPER’ INTO AI: Key Differences between Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Deep Learning

KEY DIFFERENCES BETWEEN ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE, MACHINE LEARNING AND DEEP LEARNING

The human race has been constantly challenging the notion of “impossible” for centuries and epochs on end. With unbelievable inventions and discoveries and out-of-the-box ideas to overcome constraints at every level, we have emerged as a supreme species and carved an almost invincible niche for ourselves in the planet. And our successor-of-sorts is Artificial Intelligence.
Efficient delegation of tasks has also been one of our strengths – and over the past few years, we have taken this quality of ours to another level by not only delegating tasks efficiently, but also manufacturing loyal entities to carry these out with minimal errors and maximum output. Artificial Intelligence is indeed an almost magical invention by our race.
While Artificial Intelligence is being used by individuals and groups across the globe, there is an acute lack of awareness amongst many users about the precise difference between a machine being overtly instructed to perform a particular task, and technology being made independent to carry out these tasks without any human assistance. We’re back with a blog; and today, we’re going to discuss Artificial Intelligence at the macro as well as micro levels – with its two major offshoots: Machine Learning and Deep Learning.

1.Meet Artificial Intelligence. Again. In All Its Glory.
While artificial intelligence is, more often than not, an integral part of the modern world at various levels, it is often taken for granted in the sense that one rarely stops to ponder about the mechanisms involved in the working of AI. And when you open the door to the processes involved in AI, you unearth a Pandora’s box.
Artificial Intelligence is a one-stop term for referring to the ability of machines to observe and understand certain rule-based tasks typically performed by humans, and then emulate these tasks in order to relieve humans of monotony, and pave the way for us to perform more intellectually stimulating tasks. Self-driving cars; video games; the names of your friends that your keyboard-prediction completes for you; your conversations with Siri and Alexa; and Amazon’s suggestions for you based on your previous online shopping spree – it’s time to thank AI for all of these supercool phenomena.
But…wait. Is a human secretly helping Siri follow my instructions every single time?
Have you ever wondered with amazement at how (at least most of the times) Siri is not only able to follow your instructions efficiently, but also converse with you spontaneously when you inquire about its personal life and well-being? And also come up with different, dynamic, even witty responses every single time?
Obviously, the development of virtual assistants like Siri, Google Assistant and Alexa would be quite futile if humans were expected to function behind the scenes every single time, instructing these assistants to provide satisfactory answers to the users.

2.Enter, machine learning.
“The greatest sign of success for a teacher…is to be able to say, ‘The children are now working as if I did not exist,’” says Maria Montessori. And Machine Learning can be conceptualized as technology’s teacher. Machine Learning uses the mechanisms of AI, but goes a step further; and ‘empowers’ technological equipment by making your machines not only intelligent, but also independent.
ML involves enabling our technological equipment to not only work efficiently on its own, but also to constantly adapt itself to any new information or experience over time. If your device is able to suggest those cool Versace leather-jackets for you based on your previous overcoat purchases on Amazon, you need to thank Machine Learning for it!

3.But hang on. Your machines are capable of EVEN ‘deeper’ stuff!
Try to think of the first time you, as a toddler, learnt to label a chair as ‘chair’. Now try and recollect the various other chairs you may have been accustomed to ever since. Were all these chairs identical to the one you had first labelled as a child? Most likely, not at all. But did you manage to still find a broad similarity between all these chairs, and label all of them under the umbrella-term of ‘chair’? That’s exactly what deep learning teaches machines to do.
While ML teaches technology to perform AI-based tasks independently, DL goes even beyond the ‘independence’ phase, and teaches your machines to also be smart enough to carry out abstract connections, and form prototypical conceptualizations. It consists of certain algorithms that process and store every relevant input, based on which they come up with a statistical model, which becomes the prototypical output. This process continues until a precise prototypical image of the output has been obtained. In our day-to-day lives, Deep Learning is able to predict and process extensive data online, and typically provide accurate solutions to the same. If ML enables online retail websites to suggest a certain brand of clothes based on your previous shopping records, DL takes online shopping to another level. If you have been repeatedly purchasing products whose target audience is women, DL not only provides you suggestions based on that classy pair of heels you bought the last time, but also some trending tops and accessories based on its prediction of your gender-identity. That’s the brilliance of Deep Learning in AI.
And so, while AI is the broadest category that one can think of for machines being able to mimic humans in their mundane tasks, AI is not complete in itself, without its subsets of Machine Learning and Deep Learning. And together, AI, ML and DL constantly work in tandem in order to make our lives a little more efficient and productive, every single day.

AI IN PHARMA: The Role of Artificial Intelligence in the Pharmaceutical Industry

“Wherever the art of medicine is loved, there is also a love for humanity,” says Hippocrates.

Through centuries of dedication and extensive research, the medical industry has managed to come up with remedies to innumerable ailments and diseases, and has found cures for illnesses that used to be relegated as incurable and deadly. And the pharmaceutical sector performs an indispensable role in the world of medicine. From diagnosis and testing, to prescription and treatment, the pharmaceutical industry works around the clock in order to ensure optimal health and well-being. Having said that, the various processes involved in pharmaceutical interventions are extremely intensive and cumbersome, and a number of these can afford simplification to a great extent. Enter AI.
Artificial Intelligence is no less than modern-day Frankenstein’s monster, in that it is human’s magical creation that can perform all those tasks which humans are either incapable of carrying out, or end up investing too much time and effort in. Today, from chat-bots at our disposal to self-driving cars, the world is approaching an AI renaissance of sorts. In such a scenario, can such an integral domain as pharmaceutics stay far behind? We are back with a blog, and this time, we shall disclose to you the key areas in pharmaceuticals where AI is being put to use, as well as those sub-fields where AI has tremendous scope:

1.SAY GOODBYE TO ELABORATE TESTING LABS!
Testing and diagnosis forms a crucial part of the intervention process, in that it provides the doctor and the patient with a definite direction in the tumultuous journey of treatment and cure. The usual testing and diagnosis process consists of examining, in a laboratory, the collected samples of the patient, and detecting any abnormalities or irregular patterns in the same. However, with the advent of Artificial Intelligence, it is now possible to use a compressed version of lab testing, with the help of easy-to-use diagnostic kits. In fact, a report published by AIMEDIS suggests that in April 2018, the United States Food and Drug Administration approved to commercialize the first AI machine to detect diabetes retinopathy, a major eye disease. AI is almost like your Superman of the pharma world – a magical savior.

2.‘CLOUD NINE’ AIN’T FAR AWAY!
Need personalized medical treatment and solutions? AI has the perfect solution for you. AI now consists of a cloud-system called IBM Watson that can store large amounts of patient data. Then, with the help of this vast repertoire of information, IBM Watson can come up with tailor-made solutions for each patient based on individual symptoms and requirements. Heard of “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”? How about we replace ‘apple’ with ‘AI’?

3.AND NOW, DR. ROBOT WILL PERFORM YOUR SURGERY…
Unless programmed in a faulty manner, robots cannot falter in their deeds. What if a perfectly designed robot performs surgery on a patient? There’s no escaping the fact that while doctors are no less than demigods to us, they are just as human as any of us, and they deserve their own breaks and rest.
With AI and unbelievable advancement in robotic technology, robots can now be programmed to perform assisted surgery, which not only ensures absolute precision and better control of surgical instruments, but also provides surgeons with intermittent breaks during the course of the surgery. Moreover, with the help of Verb Surgical, a Johnson and Johnson initiative in collaboration with Google, it is now possible for surgeons to manage, with remarkable efficiency, the paraphernalia of surgery, including pre-surgery planning and preparation and post-surgery analysis and care.

4.CANCER IS CURABLE. AND AI’S CONTRIBUTION TO CANCER TREATMENT IS DURABLE!
AI is now being widely used in the various processes of cancer treatment, including diagnosis, treatment and radiation. The faculty of medicine at the Toronto University has come up with a unique software that utilizes the data obtained through radiation therapy, in order to come up with customized treatment plans for the patients. In addition, IBM Watson is also being used in order to develop cancer treatment plans. While clinicians are still majorly involved in the entire radiation process, AI is predicted to soon reduce the segmentation process duration from 4-5 hours to around an hour.
In addition, Genetech, a member of the Roche group (which is a research-based healthcare giant), in collaboration with GNS healthcare, has come up with a machine learning technology dedicated to cancer treatment. This software processes large amounts of information on cancer patients, and converts these to computer models that can be used to come up with new cancer interventions.

The sub-fields of pharmacy and medicine listed above are just the tips of the iceberg. Artificial Intelligence is predicted to bring about substantial changes in various stages and phases of cancer diagnosis, treatment and cure. However, while AI and robotics can provide patients and doctors with personalized solutions, and bring about efficiency in the process, any journey of medical intervention requires emotions and empathy alongside intelligence. And that’s precisely why one cannot do away with humans in a profession as sensitive as medicine and pharmacy. Perhaps, if the right balance between AI sensibility and human sensitivity is attained, it is possible to achieve unparalleled heights in the domain of healthcare and medicine.

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