Next time you want to get a read on where home automation is headed, check into a hotel. The bedding and sundries industries used the upscale hotel experience in the 1990s to stimulate demand for 1,000-thread-count sheets and luxury lotions, and the home automation sector hopes lightning will strike twice.
At the newly opened Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas’ new CityCenter complex, over 4,000 guestrooms are wired, outfitted, and programmed with Control4 automation solutions controlling RFID-enabled SafLok door locks riding on a ZigBee Pro network, Lutron lighting, and motorized blinds and drapes from MechoShade. Each room is programmed for various basic scenes, including the welcoming scene that turns lights, music, and video screens on and opens the blinds or drapes. Control over these and the HVAC system is done from an Ethernet Control4 7-inch touchscreen that sits bedside. The same functionality is also available through the onscreen interface on the Philips 42HFL5860D/27 42-inch LCD video display using the remote control. The recently opened Trump SoHo New York also offers guests a “door-to-drapes” automation solution, and even the downmarket Red Roof chain has announced an advanced in-room technology initiative.
“A hotel is a great setting for both customers and builders to evaluate automation systems,” says Paul Williams, vice president of global hospitality operations for Control4, who says hotel installs have already stimulated systems sales. “[Guests] only get a day or less to learn how to use it so you find out quickly what works and what doesn’t.”