Facial recognition tech features prominently in futuristic Alibaba hotel

Facial recognition technology is a prominent feature of Alibaba’s futuristic “FlyZoo” hotel, enabling biometric check-in, elevator and room door access, and additional charges for things like room service to be added to the bill, Reuters reports.

The new 290-room hotel recently opened as an incubator and to showcase its artificial intelligence and products for the hotel industry. It is also an opportunity to test consumer comfort with unmanned commerce, according to the report.

Alibaba Future Hotel Management CEO Andy Wang said the technology delivers consistent, efficient service.

Guests can check-in in advance with their Chinese national ID and a face scan with their smartphone, or on arrival at a kiosk where they scan their faces and passports or other ID documents. Elevators identify guests with facial recognition to deliver them to the correct floor, and room doors allow entry only after matching the facial biometrics of the authorized guest. Charges at the restaurant or bar can also be added to the room bill with facial recognition.

Such projects are not entirely new to China’s hotel industry. Shangri-La Group and Tencent have partnered to develop smart hotels, TTG Asia reports, and Alibaba and Marriot have an existing partnership which includes facial recognition check-in.

“For the China market, market research results by consulting firm Ipsos indicated that Chinese travelers have shown a strong interest in new technology in hotels, with over 60 per cent showing preference for facial recognition technology,” Marriot International Chief Sales and Marketing Officer for Asia-Pacific Peggy Fang Roe said, according to TTG.

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