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NEWS 11 The Robots Are

NEWS 11 The Robots Are Coming! ITB Berlin looks at the future of humanoid robots in hospitality Tomorrow at ITB Berlin, the ITB Berlin Convention’s “Digitalisation” section will spotlight the future role of robots in hospitality with two sessions on the impacts of robotics in the industry, and on Friday, the convention will feature “The Future Of The Tourism Product - Humanoid Robots In Destinations And Hotels!?”, including a live demonstration of Toshiba’s ChihiraKanae. For Roger Langhout, General Manager, Ghent Marriott Hotel, the idea of deploying a robot first came about when he met the founders of the Mario software, QBMT, 2 years ago during a healthcare conference where they presented Zora - the ‘sister’ of Mario, a robot which Roger Langhout, General Manager, Ghent Marriott Hotel, and Mario is already being deployed in healthcare in well over 100 facilities throughout Europe. “Mario is clearly a unique entity in our industry and guests are curious to see what is all about. In every department where we deploy Mario, he puts a smile on the faces of people”, Mr Langhout told ITB Berlin News. The first issue was to find someone to dedicate time and passion to this project: “Mario is not Artificial Intelligence, so everything that we want Mario to do, needs to be programmed. We have found an employee who enjoys working with Mario and has skilled himself with all major programming.” “I do not expect robots to take over jobs within the next 10 years”, adds Mr Langhout. “As technology develops quickly I do feel that we will have productive robots at some point in time, as long as it does not replace human interaction with guests.” On Friday, the special guest is Toshiba’s newest robot, Chihara Kanae. “She can be called one of the most human-looking robots in the world, we believe”, says Hitoshi Tokuda, Chief Specialist, Research and Development Centre, Toshiba Corporation - project leader of Toshiba’s humanoid development and promotion. “At one exhibition we showed her, up to 20% of the attendees didn’t notice her as a robot and just passed her by.” Toshiba is now trying to introduce robots into the normal living environment, in places such as office, hospital, shopping mall and homes where the company believes they have great potential either as assistants or to provide information, but the road will be long: “Some people don’t like to use digital devices when they ask for some necessary information,” says Tokuda-san. “They want to be treated kindly and experience better customer service rather than just be told ‘Check Screen’. Our communication android is meant to add such hospitality and comfortable feelings when we provide the asked information.” So what does the roadmap look like for the next years? “It’s very unpredictable. It’s dependent on how people welcome/accept humanoids as partners. To date, we have seen good acceptance and the more people become accustomed to this, the more it is likely to increase. Toshiba will continue to improve interactive responses and will lower costs to make such technology more accessible and appealing.” DIGITALIZATION I: WELCOME, MARIO! THE FIRST HUMANOID HOTEL ROBOT AND HIS FATHERS DISCUSS THE DIGITAL WORLD Date: Thursday, March 10, 2016 Time: 10.30 am - 10.50 am Location: Hall 7.1b, Auditorium London DIGITALIZATION II: WHAT IMPACT DO ROBOTS AND OTHER HIGH-TECH INNOVATIONS HAVE ON THE FUTURE OF THE HOTEL INDUSTRY? Date: Thursday, March 10, 2016 Time: 11.00 am - 12.00 Location: Hall 7.1b, Auditorium London THE FUTURE OF THE TOURISM PRODUCT - HUMANOID ROBOTS IN DESTINATIONS AND HOTELS!? PART 1: LIVE DEMONSTRATION OF TOSHIBA’S CHIHIRAKANAE Category: Future, Hospitality, Marketing Date: Friday, March 11, 2016 Time: 14:15 pm - 14:30 pm Location: Hall 7.1b, Auditorium London Norbert Fiebig President, DRV ITB BERLIN NEWS • Wednesday 9 th March 2016

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