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Novotel and Microsoft launch ‘room of the future’

Room 3120 at Novotel Paris Vaugirard Montparnasse

Novotel has partnered with Microsoft to launch a hotel room of the future.

The room, named Room 3120 at Novotel Paris Vaugirard Montparnasse, showcases the latest in cutting-edge technology and innovative design, with Novotel and Microsoft working closely together to create the revolutionary room that allows guests to sample the ultimate in hi-tech hotel rooms.

The visionary room will take guests on a technological journey with features including a Kinect interface, Sensorit mirror based on Kinect technology, a fitness interface and a Surface multimedia table.

Rather than the hotel room controlling the guest, the guest is able to control the room environment by body gestures and voice recognition, changing the space to suit the situation.

REINVENTING ROOM DESIGN AND THE CLIENT EXPERIENCE
The ambition to create this concept room, piloted by Accor’s design managers and project teams, was driven by the Novotel brand’s ongoing desire to innovate and jump farther and higher, so as to take a truly visionary approach in designing the networked room of the future.

Novotel tapped the Naço architecture firm to translate this vision into reality and develop an overall concept, spanning from the brand identity to the design of an ambitious architecture and smart signage. The resulting Room 3120 breaks free from traditional hotel thinking to offer a new experience in which people can share new sensations and enjoy new services. Targeted to both Novotel’s business customers and family clientele, Room 3120 is packed with technology, but the goods are tastefully integrated in a contemporary layout that puts a priority on fluid lines.

Guests discover the unique ambiance of Room 3120 as they walk into the entrance, designed to serve as a ‘decompression chamber’ between the outside world and a spacious sensorial environment, filled with ingenious practical features and interactive technology that surround without being overwhelming. Both relaxing and flexible, the room belongs to another dimension where guests can use the available technology the way they want, when they want.

Room 3120 is divided into two main spaces dedicated to entertainment and, of course, rest. Each space has its own Xbox 360 console with Kinect. The first, intended for the adults, has a fold-up bed, while the second, designed more as a playroom for the kids, has a tatami mat that rises up on one side to form a bench containing a Surface table with games and various multimedia applications.

Only part of the technology is visible, and smart signage guides users to the solutions they desire. The furniture disappears to make way for integrated, modular functions. The use of diffracted volumes and geometric shapes has made it possible to experience the available space in a new way. The adults’ area is white, rather like in the TRON universe, while the children’s side is more playful and colorful. The two environments co-exist and echo each other with extruded volumes.

An architecturally masterful green capsule, visible from the exterior, replaces the first room’s balcony and offers occupants a high-tech area and comforting cocoon.

“We wanted to reinvent the hotel room experience by harmoniously melding design and new digital technologies,” explains Grégoire Champetier, Global Chief Marketing Officer. “It’s crucial to take our customers’ changing habits and expectations into account. In particular, this means rethinking our rooms in digital terms.”

LEADING TECHNOLOGY
Novotel and Microsoft have been in partnership for four years, with the Xbox 360 game consoles introduced into more than 300 Novotels globally as part of the brand’s Novotel&Family offer.

The two brands then joined forces to integrate the Xbox 360 console and its new, revolutionary game concept Kinect into the room environment through Kinect’s use of body gestures and voice recognition to control entertainment. With Kinect, the player becomes the joystick and can even use words to tell the console what to do.

This technology is the perfect answer to the need for an interface that guests can pick up and use the minute they walk into the room. For Novotel, the real innovation is to enhance the hotel experience while making it more intuitive.

Kinect does not require any prior training. All the user has to do is wave his or her hand at the console and then navigate through the menus with simple gestures.  The console also works with voice control. With the Xbox 360 and its Xbox LIVE service, guests in Room 3120 have access to a whole universe of digital entertainment, including games, music and HD movies.

The Surface table, another Microsoft innovation, responds to users’ hand gestures as well, and is able to recognize several users simultaneously. The technology can manage a large number of contact points on the table’s 30-inch tactile screen. Its applications are virtually unlimited, ranging from web browsing and board games to interactive maps that guests can use to select their destinations in the city.

Offering a surprising experience, the Sensorit interactive mirror is an apparently ordinary mirror that displays a variety of information in graphic or text form. Users can select the various experiences and choose information tags with a simple wave of the hand, accessing news, local weather or a wide range of multimedia content. Radio station NOVA (Le Grand Mix) and BFM Business, France’s leading business and financial news media, have chosen to partner the Room 3120 project, which makes a point of providing rapid access to world news. In addition, a fitness application offers a game in which an avatar reproduces the body movements of the real player, who has to touch a series of falling objects.

The Sensorit mirror is one of the very first applications developed with Kinect technology. The development kit for the revolutionary Kinect interface was recently made available to third-party vendors for integration in their own products.

Novotel and Microsoft will continue their partnership through the deployment of specially-designed Kinect Experience stands in public areas across the Novotel network. They are also considering the possibility of offering the game console in rooms so that guests can benefit from an ultimate entertainment experience during their stay.

Room 3120 at the Novotel Vaugirard Montparnasse is available for general reservations for a period of three months until February 14, 2012. Designed to accommodate up to four guests (two adults and two children under 16), the room will be offered at €199 a night.

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