Thank you. There’s something very strange
about saying thank you to a robot. You probably know Alibaba
for its ecommerce platforms, but the Chinese tech
company is branching out. It’s aggressively testing and
implementing tech concepts that span from retail to
restaurants, and even hotels. This should open with
facial recognition, let’s see. I’ve come to Alibaba’s futuristic FlyZoo
hotel, which is a stone’s throw away from its headquarters in Hangzhou, and almost
everything you can imagine here, is automated. I’m not sure if this
is cool or creepy. The first thing I see is no
counter, no couches. This is it, this is the hotel lobby. You don’t have a
traditional check-in counter, you don’t have a concierge. Checking in. Foreigners will check in here as
staff will come up and assist. But for Chinese nationals,
they’ll check on the kiosks, or they can just check in on their phone if
they actually have the app of the hotel. She’s going to take my picture, so I’ll be able to
open the door and get access around the hotel. That’s it? Just like that? How do I remember… what
was my room number again? I’ll take a picture so I can
remember my room number. Just use your face
to open the door. Okay, thank you. I feel a little bit lost without a keycard
or receipt or anything like that. To access my floor, I have to
scan my face in the elevator. And again, at my door
to access my room. It’s just like that. I enter my room. The 290-room so-called ‘smart hotel’
welcomed its first guests at the end of 2018. And while you won’t see as many faces at reception
as a traditional hotel, there is still some staff around. Like housekeeping, which Alibaba says still have
to use a traditional keycard to clean your room. For the young generation, they love it. And for the generation like us, they
would feel a little bit nervous initially. Andy Wang is the CEO of Alibaba
Future Hotel, which oversees FlyZoo. With our assistant from our service ambassador
in the hotel lobby, they will feel more comfortable. Because everybody knows how to use Alipay,
everybody knows how to use their smartphone. But the idea here isn’t for
Alibaba to open its own hotels. It’s using FlyZoo to develop technologies
it can sell to existing hotels chains. One of its partners is Marriott International, the company
behind Marriot, Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis, W and more. No one would say, “I’d like to go to
the front desk and do more,” right? Peggy Fang Roe is the chief sales and marketing
officer for Asia-Pacific at Marriott International. It’s getting good traction, but there are still
steps in that check-in process that require you to stop by the front desk so we
haven’t eliminated it completely. But when we do, I think people
will adapt to it quite quickly. She says some of Marriott’s properties in China could
be eliminating the front desk check-in process soon. Each hotel room has one of these and it’s sort of lik
Alibaba’s answer to Amazon Alexa or Google Home. You can order water, you can order slippers
you could even order room service. It can also open the curtains for you, it can
turn on the TV, it can even dim the lights. Tmall genie. What did she say? Apparently she said, “I don’t understand
what you’re saying. Can you say it again?” Many of those deliveries are
made by these robot butlers, except for things like soups,
and irons and ironing boards. This robot can call an elevator itself.
It doesn’t need to actually hit any buttons. And there it goes. Forget about your traditional
hotel vending machine. Here you can open the AliPay app, scan
the QR code, and then it unlocks. So let’s say I grab this drink. Within seconds the app recognizes the product that
I picked up from this refrigerator and it’s charged me. This is what’s called Future Fitness Center.
To enter, again facial recognition. This one’s a lot more relaxing. The hospitality industry is one of the
world’s top job-creating sectors, so does that mean hotels
will one day be staff-less? Do you think guests will miss
interacting with humans? No, never. Hotel associates will always be one of the
most important parts of hotel business. Technology only help us
to improve our efficiency. Wang claims that all the facial recognition data is
only kept through the duration of a guest’s stay. It disappears once
a guest checks out. Peggy says facial recognition is already being
tested in one of its Marriott properties nearby and could be rolled out to more properties
once they get the okay from the government. Around the world, consumer engagement with
facial recognition can be really different. I think the Chinese market is more ready to consume
that functionality than other places around the world. Even the hotel’s restaurant is being used
as a testbed for the technology too. Every table has
its own QR code. So using the AliPay app,
I simply open the app, and then it immediately shows me the
restaurant, along with the menu. From there, I’m ready
to start ordering. Pork, chicken, fried rice. And
just like that I’ve ordered dinner. You found me. Thank you. Ah, there’s more. So
there’s multiple layers. A staff member just
served this lotus root. When I asked why not the robot, he said,
“Well the steam is time sensitive so it had from the kitchen
to the table quite quickly.” I’ve come to the bar here at FlyZoo hotel, where once
again I’m greeted with a QR code here at the table. And perhaps unsurprisingly, behind me I see my
drink is being made by, you guessed it, a robot. Hey guys, it’s Uptin.
Thanks for watching. Do you think facial recognition
will be in the hotel of the future? Let us know in the comments below and don’t
forget to subscribe. We’ll see you next time.