Concept Design For

SMART HOTELS

Studio Project

Concept Design for Smart Hotel

Master of Design (Multimedia) Achievement Award

The Smart Hotel solution provides an extraordinary accommodation experience for guests when they stay in hotels. Guests can swiftly check-in, and control all the devices in their room with mobile phones easily.

Design Tools

Illustrator, Photoshop, After Effects, Axure, Final Cut Pro, Marvel POP

Final Video

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Design Process

Concept Background

Hotel accommodation experience is becoming increasingly important for guests in recent years since the living standard improves. It is getting difficult to become exclusive for most traditional hotels in this saturated industry. As technology develops, I started thinking is it possible to bring more high-end technologies into the traditional hotels, and significantly improve the hotel accommodation experience.  

In this project, I sought to explore how can technologies be applied to improve hotel accommodation experience for guests.

Research

I implemented multiple research methodologies (literature review, interview, precedent research) to discover guests’ hotel accommodation experience, for example, how do they feel when they stay in hotels, what makes them feel uncomfortable, what factors do they care about when they select a hotel. In addition, in what ways can technology be applied to hotel accommodation experience. This is crucial for me to get a clear design direction.

Literature Review

​A study of the factors influencing the choice of hotel from Ozimeik et al (2017) shows that there are some top factors that guests care about are the cost of service, service quality, interior design, atmosphere, the standard of the hotel, and friends or their own experience.

Precedent Research

As technology develops, we can see smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, smart home are becoming increasingly prevalent. However, most hotels are traditional and not smart enough. Thus I did some study on Apple “Home”, and a smart hotel solution from INELS to see how can technology address the issues from the interviews.

Apple "Home"

The Apple “Home” is an app for users to control the smart appliances in their home wirelessly. The Apple ‘Home’ is provided in multiple platforms, such as iPad, iPhone, Apple Watch, Apple TV, and Mac. Users can access the device control panel via the ‘Control Centre’ or the ‘Home’ app in their iOS devices. Users can also use their voice to control the appliances with Siri

Pros: Users can effortlessly control all the devices in their home with their mobile devices, which can save time and effort for them.
Cons: Not convenient to access more detailed settings in the control panel, users need to tap the “detail” button to expand a new panel to make other settings.

 

Smart Hotel Solution from INELS

The main feature of the solution is that they provide a bedside panel for guests to control some devices in their room.

Pros: Users do not need to download an automation app; no mobile devices are required.
Cons: The devices can be controlled are limited; more detailed settings are not provided, such as color and brightness of lights, the strength of fans and so on.

Interview

In order to get more details and insights, I conducted some interviews to see what factors the interviewees will look at when selecting hotels, why they care about the factors, and how they think the accommodation experience can be improved.

Key Interview Questions

  • In what kind of situation do you go to hotels?
  • What is the most important factor you would look at when selecting hotels?
  • Have you had any frustrating experience in a hotel? Why?
  • Is the room atmosphere important to you? Why?

Key Findings

  • They normally go to hotels when they travel, away on business, and stay with their partners.
  • They often feel tired when they get to hotels with bags and suitcases in their hand.
  • Room facilities and interior design are important elements they will look at.
  • Couples would care more about the room atmosphere.
  • They have different preferences for the room lighting condition, some prefer staying in a bright room, and some prefer a warm and soft light environment.
  • Sometimes they left their room key in the cardholder when they leave.
  • The check-in process is too slow sometimes.

Persona

"I love traveling, but I need a cosy hotel to relax myself after a day-long trip."

Name: John

Occupation: Student

Education: Mater of Accounting

Age: 27

I recently graduated from Monash University, the thing I like most is traveling around the world and take photos of the gorgeous sightseeings. Sometimes in order to take a nice photo, I have to drive or walk for hours to get to the perfect photo shooting spot, even climb a mountain with my bags and cameras.

Problem: feel exhausted after a day-long trip.
Needs: a comfortable hotel room to relax.
Device: iPhone X; iPad
Factors influence selecting a hotel: price, room interior design, room facilities and devices

Define Design Requirements

Context Scenario

John is a photography enthusiast, he decides to travel around the United States to take photos of the places he wants to go during the summer. He gets up at 5:00 am and goes to the airport to take a plane to Los Angeles. After 12 hours of flight, he arrives at Los Angeles airport. He didn’t sleep well on the plane, and he feels exhausted when he arrives at the hotel with his luggage and heavy backpack.

He soon discovers the self-check-in device in the lobby, and he quickly chooses the room he like and the number of days he is going to stay. Then the system needs to verify his ID card and then make payment. He puts his phone on the NFC reader and the reader automatically verifies his eID, then he makes a payment with his phone. Meanwhile, the eKey saves in his phone automatically. Subsequently, he downloads the room automation app suggested on the screen. The entire check-in process is completed with a few taps, as most of the steps are done automatically.

John takes the elevator to his room. Before he arrives in the room,  the devices in the room have been automatically turned on. He takes out his phone close to the lock, the door automatically opened. After placing his baggage, he opens the automation app, the app detects the room he stays automatically. Now he can easily control the temperature, humidity, windows, blinds, lights of the room, etc., he doesn’t need to look around for switches and figure out which switch controls which device, he just wants to rest in bed.

In the evening, he decides to watch a movie and then go to sleep. He opens this app and selects a scene for watching movies, the room’s lights were automatically dimmed, the TV turned on automatically. Soon he finds his favourite movie. After watching the movie, he sets a scene for a good night rest, the lights are automatically turned off, and the blinds are automatically closed

Clarify Design Requirements

Functionality Requirements

Smart Check-in

  • Select room type, number
  • Set number of accommodation days
  • View pictures of guest room 
  • Verify eID
  • Make payment with guest’s phone
  • Send command to the guest’s room and turn on the  room devices automatically
  • Save eKey to guests’ phone
  • Unlock door with smartphones

Room Automation

  • Control devices with the app (temperature, humidity, blinds, windows, lights, TV, music etc.)
  • Set scenes to create different atmosphere
  • ​Create and customise scenes

Data Requirements

  • Room numbers within room categories
  • Price, pictures, and introductions within each room selection 
  • Room device list
  • ​Value of different devices settings

Other Requirements

  • Self-check-in touchscreen
  • NFC reader
  • Smart phone
  • Network connects check-in device and room device control centre
  • Automation APP
  • Smart devices and appliances 
  • Guest room Wi-Fi and device control centre

Designing the Product

In the previous sections, I developed the scenarios to imagine ideal user interactions and define requirements from these scenarios and sources. Now these requirements will be structured into framework and then make refinement.

How does it work?

By using the touch screen at the hotel lobby, guests can select room types, services, verify IDs, make payment, and get a room eKey swiftly. After the check-in process, guests can unlock their room door with their phone and control the devices wirelessly.

Smart Check-in
with Hotel Touchscreen and NFC Reader
Select room type & number
Verify eID
Pay
​Get eKey
​Get automation app
Room Automation
Control room devices
​Set  scenes to create different atmosphere
SMART CHECK-IN

Form factor:
Touchscreen + NFC Device (Read and write) + Smartphones

Functional Factor:
Touchscreen – Guests can check in swiftly by few taps;
NFC Device – Guests need to place their smartphone on the NFC Device, it can automatically activate guests’ eID from their phones and make verification; The device can also activate guests’ eWallet (Apple Pay) to make payment; Finally, the NFC device is able to write a eKey into guests’ smartphones, so that they can unlock doors with their phone.

ROOM AUTOMATION

Form factor:
Smartphone
Functional Factor:
Device control: Lights, air-conditioner, fans, windows, blinds, music, TVs, etc.
Set scenes: set different scenes to create different atmosphere to meet different needs.

Sketches of interaction framework

Touchscreen sketches

Automation APP sketches

User Flow

Prototype Testing

In order to test the functionalities and usability, I imported the sketches into the “Marvel POP” and made an interactive prototype. The prototype was tested with six people, they provided some useful feedbacks:

  • It is complicated to choose a room in so many steps;
  • The words on the interfaces are cold, can’t show your hospitality;
  • It would be better to tell users where they are, where to take an elevator, and shops and restaurants nearby after finishing checking in.

Prototype Iteration

​The feedbacks are positive on the room automation app prototype. However, the check-in prototype needs some more improvements. So based on the feedback from the paper prototype testing, I redesigned the check-in prototype in ‘Axure’. 

UI Design

In terms of the visual design, I want to convey a feeling of comfort and calming to the user, so I used a dark blue to purple gradient as the main tone of the design. Also, I illustrated a quiet and beautiful city as the background of the touchscreen system and the automation app, and the large space of the night sky can also bring comfort to people. At the same time, the elegant UI animation also brings a sense of pleasure and enjoyment to the users.

Touch Screen UI Design

"Smart Hotel" APP UI Design

Style Guide

Concept Video Making

This video aims to utilise motion graphic to demonstrate how the smart hotel solution works. For example, how the guests use the touchscreen to check in, and how they use the automation app to control their room devices.

Storyboard

AE Project