Nov 24, 2020
No one was prepared for the onset of the novel coronavirus earlier this year. Now that we are living in the new normal, however, hospitality power players, tech entrepreneurs, and governments around the globe have been coming up with out-of-the-box solutions to keep people safe. Here are just a few of the inventions that are making waves right now.
1. State-of-the-Art UVC Technology
The latest in UVC technology is safely employed in all areas of the integrated resort.
Solaire Resort & Casino, a four-time Forbes five-star property in Manila, uses UVC cleaning systems, usually reserved for world-class medical facilities, to make sure that the entire property is free from harmful microbes. The process uses a specific ultraviolet light wavelength capable of inactivating 99.9 percent of bacteria and viruses. These disinfection technologies, ensure that both guest rooms and gaming areas are free from harmful microbes. After each guestroom at Solaire undergoes a thorough wipedown, the highly trained staff members use a specialized UVC device to sterilize the area. Staff also use portable UVC scanners to disinfect tables, poker chips, and other equipment at areas for blackjack, baccarat, roulette and other games, so that guests can play in a worry-free environment. The property has even taken things up a notch by installing UVC lamps even in their air-conditioning filtration systems, guaranteeing that the air throughout the resort is of the highest quality. Out of an abundance of caution, staff regularly conduct hygiene swab tests after routine cleanings in guestrooms, restaurants and all public spaces of Solaire.
2. PPE to Go
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) has never been more crucial, yet many people around the globe have struggled to find even basic, essential gear such as face masks and gloves. In order to ensure that travelers can access what they need with minimal human contact, Selecta launched a line of vending machines stocked with essential items. These “Safety Stations” can already be found at the central Brussels train station and Zurich Airport.
3. Virtual Onsens and Resort Retreats
While Zoom can never quite capture the full magic of travel, many popular tourist attractions around the world have been offering digital experiences. For example, Child Studio’s Casa Plenaire is a dreamy resort escape viewable on Instagram, where the wanderlust-struck can escape to a Mediterranean seaside from the comfort of their homes. Meanwhile in Japan, popular hot springs retreats including Arima Onsen and Kosugiyu have recorded videos to give viewers the illusion of a serene spa getaway.
4. Bumper Tables and Pool Noodles to Enforce Social Distancing
Social distancing is not an intuitive concept and for many guests at restaurants, it’s all too easy to lapse during a meal. In order to keep guests at an appropriate 1.5 meters apart, some restaurants have resorted to drastic—and often hilarious—measures. Fish Tales Bar & Grill in the United States asks guests to sit in “bumper tables” outfitted with large, rubberized tubes, while Cafe & Konditorei Rothe in Germany required guests to wear hats with pool noodles.
5. Vibrating Bracelets
Despite their best efforts, the average person touches their face 23 times per hour. While that might not matter much in normal times, virologists and epidemiologists warn that this can dramatically increase transmission of COVID-19. Since it’s difficult to break the habit alone, Seattle-based inventor Justin Ith created the Immutouch bracelet, which vibrates every time the wearer inadvertently touches their own face. It’s a subtle, but effective reminder to help keep everyone a little bit safer.
6. Thermal Imaging Technology and Smart Helmets
Temperature checks are one of the most widely effective methods to quickly identify individuals who may be infected with COVID-19. Certain stores around the United States have already started using thermal imaging to identify customers running a fever, while the police force in Dubai has gone a step further and outfitted its officers with helmets designed to identify high temperatures from a safe distance.
7. Robot Butlers and Digital Assistants
In retro sci-fi movies, menial human tasks have often been taken over by helpful machines designed to cater to our whims. Nowadays, that image of the future no longer seems quite so far-out or fantastical. Yotel, a high-tech hotel brand, robots help guests with their luggage and handle a portion of the housekeeping tasks, thereby minimizing person-to-person contact and risk of transmission. Rather than make requests through a concierge or busboy, guests at Peninsula Hotels can take advantage of PenChat, a mobile app that makes ordering room service or adjusting the temperature a breeze.
8. Detecting COVID Through a Mobile App
While the most accurate COVID test still requires a swab and a lab analysis, the handy application Lyfas can provide a useful risk assessment using nothing more than a mobile phone. By using this to capture guests’ pulses, hospitality and medical professionals can often suss out potential superspreaders before trouble strikes. Another useful AI-assisted app is Docdot, which uses light reflected in the blood vessels of a human face to instantly monitor vital signs and search for danger.