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Seeking Peace of Mind? Robots to the Rescue

If you’ve read my editor’s notes, you know that I sometimes use this space to share something I’ve just discovered with you. If it makes me stop and think, “Wow,” then that need to tell someone—everyone—about it takes over.

As we were wrapping up this issue, I got an email that had me actually say it. And since this issue is accompanied by our Technology Solutions supplement, it’s a great fit. Go to any conference, open any publication, and technology—and the ever-changing and evolving nature of it—is front and center. We see this in our personal and professional lives and, certainly, in our industry.

While our supplement taps into three specific areas of the subject—infrastructure (IoT and WiFi; guest-facing (voice and artificial intelligence); and back-of-house operations (distribution systems and data) and, more significantly, how it should all be connected—it’s the topic of robotics and its presence in hospitality that caught my attention.

The announcement came out of Temecula, CA, where the 1,090-key Pechanga Resort Casino has implemented a tech program designed to enhance guest and employee safety. The property has become the first resort-casino in the country to go all-in with using autonomous security robots. What I like about this initiative is that the mechanical security guards, so to speak, are not there to replace people (something which many of us feel strongly about), but to supplement the human approach. The units, designed and made by Mountain View, CA-based Knightscope, will patrol the property to secure the grounds. One stationary bot and one roving unit, the K5, will provide a “commanding” (the unit stands 5.5-ft. tall and weighs 400 lbs.) but “friendly” security presence in the lobby and on the casino floor. The unit is capable of capturing and sending 360-degree, HD night/day video of its surroundings, auto-detecting license plates and people, and using thermal imaging to alert a fire threat.

While these robots are already being used by entities such as Westfield Malls and The Sacramento Kings, at Pechanga, the goal is to assist the property’s security personnel by improving response times, as well as better detect suspicious activity or weapons.

Pechanga’s VP of public safety, Robert Krauss, underscored the point that the initiative is reinforcement, not replacement, for his 300-person team. “We feel this setting is the perfect application of the technology,” he said. “We can use it in our parking lots and garages, at our entrances, have it scan a line of people…With the events in Las Vegas and elsewhere in recent years, this is one more enhancement to our security strategy.”

Peace of mind is priceless. You can never do too much to ensure the safety and comfort of your guests. Especially in today’s world. This might be the first resort-casino to install this type of security protocol, but I’m betting it’s not the last. I’d say the odds are in my favor.

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