Sunday, November 30, 2014

Are we ready for Smart Life?

The Straits Times (Saturday, 29 November 2014)
Click HERE to read article at AsiaOne website.

Scanned through the article - it talks about what we envisioned Singapore would look like, and what are some of the hurdles we need to overcome for implementation, and of course, the advantage of Singapore being small would be the quick deployment within a short period of time.

Basically, the success would mean changes to our habits - how adaptable and flexible we are, and also how receptive we are (as we tend to compare the existing state with what's upcoming). In fact, since technology is supposed to bring about greater efficiency and better connectedness, I think the success would be how well-thought through the implementation plans, its implementation, and of course, its communication to generate buying-in.

Take for instance, I experienced some pleasant surprises in my recent trip to Beijing. It was about 10 years ago, when I first visited the city. The impression then was largely my encounter with the people around (I supposed, the culture) - I was shocked and it did not leave much good thoughts after the experience (apart from the rich historical learning I gleaned during my visit). Nevertheless, 10-years later, I was impressed by the level of the services that had improved, and one more unspoken aspect - the use of technology.

Look at this boarding pass - notice the barcode printed at the bottom?
We don't see this in the boarding pass issued in Singapore.

My wonder was answered when we enter the immigration zone. In most of the airports, we would have to show both the boarding pass and the passport to the security officer who would check before allowing us to proceed. That's where we sometimes have to wait before continuing with numerous queues after the first stage. Well, there's no queue at the entrance to the immigration zone in Beijing Capital Airport. Indeed, the security officer stationed there were not checking the passport or the boarding pass, but to aid unfamiliar travellers how to place the board pass underneath the barcode scanner to scan the info. Once that's cleared, one could proceed to the next stage. It's a breeze!

I wonder, would the Singapore Changi Airport consider this?

The other thing that impressed me was that the hotel that we put up in taps on technology to bring about more convenience to guests. Recall, each time we check in to the hotel room, we would check for the switches to the lights (located at different parts of the room) and air conditioners, etc?

Well, I was pleasantly surprised that the guest room in Dongsheng Gloria Plaza Hotel provided the guest with the apps in an iPad that allows the guest to configure the lighting and temperature of the room at the finger tips:

What I like is the hotel still gives the guest an option between the use of technology, as well as the 'conventional' ways - yes, there are physical switches too!

The only service that I 'tested' but not quite successful was the "Room Services" where I could place order for food items, however, it's still not friendly enough to allow me make changes to the items put in the 'cart'. For this, I think it's still better to go through the phone :)

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