Hilton rolling out mobile-controlled hotel rooms in 2018

Hilton is introducing Connected Rooms, an experience for guests "where the room knows them, and they know their room."

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Image: Hilton

Hilton announced on Thursday guest rooms that can be controlled by a mobile device, dubbed Connected Room, and laid out a vision for eventual additions like voice commands.

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Through the Hilton Honors app, guests in a Connected Room will be able to control the temperature, lighting, TV, and window coverings. It's a travel experience for guests "where the room knows them, and they know their room," according to Hilton.

Connected Room is currently in beta testing at the Hilton Garden Inn in Memphis. Hilton said it will deploy Connected Room to more of its hotels in the coming weeks, with a plan "to scale rapidly to hotels across the United States in 2018." The beta is using a physical remote for control, but Hilton is planning to rollout the app update soon.

In the future, Hilton plans to add support for a range of connected devices. This includes the ability for guests to control their room or access their content, and to upload their own artwork and photos to automatically display in their room. Hilton also envisions its guests will be able to set individual in-room preferences in their Hilton Honors account profile.

"At Hilton, almost all digital products are born out of necessity and shortcomings in the marketplace - and Connected Room is no exception," Joshua Sloser, SVP of digital product at Hilton, said. "The technology we put in hotel rooms has to be intuitive, simple and quick to pick up because guests typically spend a limited amount of time in their rooms and we want them to spend that time enjoying the experience instead of adapting to new technology."

Soon, Connected Room guests will also be able to "personalize their room with technology" that loads streaming media and other accounts to in-room TVs.

The Hilton Honors app already features room check in, selection, and the ability to open a hotel room's door with Digital Key. Hilton said in the month of October, a door was unlocked with Digital Key every 1.5 seconds.

In 2016, Hilton launched a pilot program with IBM to test Connie, a Watson-enabled robot concierge capable capable of walking, pointing, understanding and responding to human emotions. It can also answer guest queries ranging from room locations to restaurant recommendations.

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