The world’s first 5G hotel

By Chen Qingqing in Shenzhen Source:Global Times Published: 2019/4/18 16:53:40

Huawei, China Telecom unveil high-tech amenities in Shenzhen


A visitor plays a mobile game on a 5G network at a booth at InterContinental Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong Province. Photo: Courtesy of Huawei



At this hotel in South China, a 5G-powered service robot guides guests to their rooms and chats with them in the elevator. Fast and stable networks enable virtual reality (VR) gaming, and everything is connected to the cloud. 

When China's Huawei Technologies unveiled the world's first 5G hotel Tuesday in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, visitors got a glimpse of the future of the hotel business. 

InterContinental Shenzhen, along with China Telecom's Shenzhen branch and Huawei, agreed to create the first 5G smart hotel by introducing an end-to-end 5G network with integrated terminals and cloud applications. It was another step forward for the major Chinese carrier and the largest telecom equipment provider in deploying the next generation of mobile technology following the launch of the world's first 5G railway station in Shanghai a month ago. 

Louis, a traveler from Mexico, tried a 2-minute virtual reality (VR) canoeing game in a 5G-equipped room at the hotel. He wore VR glasses and watched a high-definition video while making paddling movements.

"It's so real… and you can feel the resistance of the water when you're pulling," he told the Global Times, noting that the VR game could be good for fitness.

The fastest download speed on the indoor 5G network can reach 500 megabits per second (Mbps). And with low latency, it offers a better user experience for VR gamers. 

"We'd like to fully embrace 5G technologies by using them in airports, train stations, hotels and so on. And it is set to boost bandwidth, which also brings more opportunities for the telecom industry," Zhou Yuefeng, chief marketing officer of Huawei's wireless network product line, said at the launch event. 

Now, 5G is being deployed much faster than expected, and the development of 5G devices is matching development of 5G networks for the first time in history, according to Huawei. The Shenzhen-based firm forecast that by 2025, the world will have 2.8 billion 5G users.

Huawei has consistently been at the forefront of 5G with both pre-standard and now new radio (NR)-based use cases for smart city deployment, Will Townsend, senior analyst at US-based Moor Insights and Strategy, told the Global Times. "Transportation, public safety, healthcare, smart manufacturing and hospitality should rise to the top as initial applications," he said.

While China is still testing 5G technologies, the industry will see a wide range of 5G services officially in the second half of 2019, with more than 60 carriers worldwide releasing 5G business and services.  

The 5G hotel could be the beginning of a full-fledged "intelligent society." Some analysts said it's more important to find ways to make 5G technology profitable than to rush into the launch of 5G services. 

"We're moving in the right direction, as both carriers and equipment providers have been aware of the significant value in 5G, which will encourage them to tap into more scenarios," Cui Kai, an industry analyst at International Data Corp, told the Global Times. 

Huawei and Chinese carriers could be more creative and go beyond 5G welcome robots, cloud computing terminals, cloud games and VR rowing machines to make the hotel even smarter and expand the experience into other areas. 

"I believe there could be even more transformative services such as integrating a hotel loyalty program to identify a guest upon arrival, issue electronic room keys to a smart phone, self wayfinding and proximity messaging with rich video content to promote spa and resort amenities for incremental revenue generation," Townsend said. 



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