The Dinosaur says, “If You Want to Check In, Press One.” Welcome to The Henn na – or Weird Hotel.

July 22, 2015

Wierd Hotel JapanThe English-speaking receptionist is a vicious-looking dinosaur, and the one speaking Japanese is a female humanoid, writes The Guardian (July 15, 2015). “If you want to check in, push one,” the dinosaur says. The visitor punches a button on the desk, and types in information on a touch panel screen. From the front desk to the porter that’s an automated trolley taking luggage up to the room, the Henn na Hotel in southwestern Japan, is manned almost totally by robots to save labor costs. The hotel uses facial recognition technology, instead of the standard electronic keys, to register the digital image of the guest’s face during check-in. The reason? Robots aren’t good at finding keys if people happen to lose them.

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Airlines Pass More Work to Customers

July 9, 2015

Airlines are adding new technology to improve and automate how they handle and track bags

“For decades, fliers have checked their bags the same way: hand them to an airline employee and trust that they will reappear at the destination,” writes The Wall Street Journal (July 6, 2015). Now big changes to that model are coming as airlines look to streamline the airport experience—and pass more work to customers and machines.

Their latest ideas including letting fliers tag their own bags, print luggage tags at home and track their bags on smartphones. Later this year, some fliers in Europe likely will begin using what could be the future of flying luggage: permanent bag tags that digitally update if flight plans change. Improved technology and loosened security rules are accelerating changes to baggage handling. More than 1/3 of global airlines now ask fliers to tag their own bags, compared with 13% in 2009. By 2018, 3/4 of carriers intend to offer the service.

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