The Internet of Things (IoT) and smart devices are already finding their way in manufacturing through smart factories and industrial computers. Service-oriented industries like hospitality and healthcare have taken notice and look to apply the technology to their businesses. We cover a specific form of IoT applications – the smart room – and a couple of its uses in the hotel and healthcare industries

What is a Smart Room

A smart room is a room that connects various electronic devices through the IoT to perform greater functions than normal, or even unique ones. Multiple devices like a flat screen or shower controls, for instance, can be controlled through a smart speaker. Room features like temperature or brightness can be monitored from a single hub and adjusted automatically per the occupant’s instructions. Smart rooms allow devices like smartphones to find and retrieve information from the Internet, and to interact with other nearby devices like door locks.

Businesses like the hotel industry and services like healthcare are turning to smart rooms to improve and expand their goals and objectives. 

Smart Rooms in the Hotel Industry

Hotels are always looking for ways to make their guests’ stay a pleasant one. Hotels also look to do this and more in the most efficient ways possible.

Two ways smart rooms look to achieve this fulfill include: 

Provide New Experiences Through Technology

Guests in the past had to manually adjust individual devices like the thermostat or even light switches to get the right ambience. This can be a time-consuming chore. 

Smart room technology does away with that. Heating controls, air conditioning, lights, etc., are linked via IoT and can be changed from a central control point in the room like a mini PC. Then through a provided hotel tablet, TV remote, or even their smartphone, guests can quickly and easily make adjustments to their room to their liking. This includes scheduling such changes from dimming the lights at a certain hour to turning on the shower at a selected temperature. 

All of the above and more can improve the guests’ experience of the room as they realize they’re no longer back home and instead in a new and exciting high-tech experience.

Providing Greater Efficiency for Hotel Staff

Smart rooms aren’t just for the guests. The hotel staff can access a variety of room controls usually from a remote location. 

This offers numerous advantages. The heating in a hotel room can be automatically turned on at a specified time before a new guest checks in. This will ensure the room is at an ideal temperature for their arrival. Since no staff member actually has to go into the room, this saves on time and effort.

Remote access can be used to reduce some of the costs associated with running a hotel. Room lights for example can be automatically reduced during daylight hours. This means less energy is wasted through heating. HVAC systems can be set to automatically turn off when the room reaches a specified temperature or when it’s unoccupied. These and more can improve financial results. The hotel can even use smart rooms this way to promote “green” efforts in its marketing. 

Finally, smart room technology allows hotel staff to monitor the performance of electronic devices remotely. Imagine the ability to notice when a bulb is burning out. Or when the thermostat in the luxury suite is always a couple of degrees off. Thanks to IoT, these issues with performance can be spotted before they become critical, allowing repairs to be made or replacement devices ordered. Costly last-minute repairs are avoided as well as any customer complaints. 

Smart Rooms in Healthcare, Hospitals  

Traditionally, a patient in a hospital has very little control or say over their environment. This creates stress whether it’s impatience sitting in a hospital waiting room or lying anxiously in bed in the Intensive Care Unit. 

These forms of stress can affect their recovery from the original illness or injury. Hospitals, to increase chances for better recuperation of patients, have turned to smart rooms in two distinct ways:

Give Control to Patient to Customize Care

Hospital smart rooms use smart devices and IoT to digitally integrate patient room functions like HVAC and service requests. That way a patient can personally control the room temperature, raise and lower window blinds, request an extra blanket or pillow, or order meal service. This reduces their stress levels and improves their healing. 

Many hospital smart rooms offer different control methods. The smart television is a common one. Patients simply aim the provided remote at it and make their selection. 

Medical tablets are also available. They have all the abilities of a smart remote and additional ones like a keyboard. This allows patients the ability to communicate with loved ones via text. Rugged construction and fanless design keep them working in case patients drop them. 

Control of the smart room can also be done using voice commands. Many patients that are bed-bound or have mobility restrictions cannot use the above means to control their room. Or they may find them too complex to learn. Vocal commands, though, can be done by nearly anyone. Online retailer Amazon provides such a feature through its Alexa virtual assistant. 

As Peachy Hain, executive director of Medical and Surgical Services at Cedars-Sinai, points out: “Voice is intuitive for patients, regardless of age or tech-savviness. Since it’s so easy to operate, patients can use Alexa to connect with their care team and stay entertained as soon as they settle in, while care providers can streamline tasks to make more time to care for those patients. It’s a total game-changer for enhancing our hospital experience.”

Increased Patient Safety 

Unsurprisingly, hospital smart rooms monitor patients for their safety. Studies on patient falls show between 700,000 up to 1,000,000 patients fall each year in hospitals. These can lead to a longer stay as they’re treated for possible fractures, lacerations, or internal bleeds. 

Sensor chips already in the bed monitor the patient’s vitals like breathing, pulse, and temperature. They can also send out an alert to staff if the patient tries to leave the bed without authority or aid. Sensors in the room’s floor also perform a similar function.

Interestingly, patient safety goes up through the numerous smart room controls. Patients leave their beds for reasons like trying to reach their nurse, change the room lighting, to making a call. By providing many of those functions through the smart flat screen, tablet, or voice-controlled assistant, there is less chance that a patient will leave their smart bed and experience a fall.

Closing Comment

Smart devices and IoT have expanded the capabilities of many industries to fulfill their objectives. Guests at hotels can create the perfect “home away from home” room while hospital patients can recover stress-free thanks to near-instant access to amenities and aid. 

If your hotel or hospital is looking to find out what computers are best to work with your smart rooms, contact a representative from Cybernet. 

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