Mirror effect: Panasonic and IBM introduce talking ‘digital concierge’ mirror for hotels

PICTURE checking into a hotel, walking into your room, and getting ready to settle in when all of a sudden, a disembodied voice pipes up to greet you. Terrified, you search for the source of this friendly ghost, only to find that it’s coming from your mirror.

This could potentially be the future of the hotel industry, thanks to Japan’s Panasonic, who partnered with IBM to introduce a new “digital concierge”.

According to Travel Daily Media, the “digital concierge” comes in the form of the unsuspecting mirror in your room. Hotel guests can speak to the mirror to call up the hotel manager or staff, find local area information, request room service, or even check the weather.

SEE ALSO: Japan: Panasonic made a megaphone that translates whatever is said into it

IBM’s artificial intelligence offering, named ‘Watson’, will become the technology behind the speaking mirror. Panasonic says there is a “need” for more connected products in the hotel world – this is in line with their goal to integrate the Internet of Things (IoT) into their portfolio.

Yasuji Enokido, president of Panasonic’s AVC Networks Company, was quoted saying: “Panasonic has identified a need for this and several other kinds of connected solutions in the hospitality industry. Working with IBM, we plan to further implement our connected solutions vision while making use of Watson intelligence to provide end users with more natural cognitive functionality.”

The “digital concierge” would also offer hotel guests a “highly personalized experiences and recommendations”, says Bruce Anderson, global managing director at IBM Electronics Industry.

The product was showcased at CES 2017 in Las Vegas, where thousands of other innovative and developing technologies were up on display.

Panasonic has been actively innovating and investing in new products that incorporate emerging technologies like AI and IoT. This year, a laundry-folding robot created by startup Laundroid is expected to launch, backed by Panasonic.