The IoT is constantly expanding, with more and more Smart products hitting the shelves every day. There are devices beyond your wildest imagination; Smart egg trays which notify you when you’re on the verge of being eggless, Smart water bottles which prompt you to stay properly hydrated, Smart forks which tell you when you’re eating too fast and Smart toothbrushes which show you live videos of the inside of your mouth. The list is endless. But with such scope for interconnectivity, the potential has arisen for these devices to sculpt experiences as well as functioning uniquely.
Smart scavenger hunts
Various companies, such as SmartHunts, have created scavenger hunts to be carried out on Smart devices. SmartHunts are challenging, high tech, corporate, sight-seeing scavenger hunts delivered on Apple iPads. They utilise apps which use text messaging, audio, video, photo, QR codes, social media and GPS tracking. Teams use iPads to find landmarks, solve clues, answer trivia, complete challenges and take photos and videos of their teams in action. The SmartHunts facilitators use GPS to track teams, send surprise detour missions and monitor all photos, videos and scoring in real-time. The SmartHunts app also creates a live-feed slideshow of photos and videos shot by the teams during their adventure, so when they arrive back at base it’s already playing on the big screen! Whether it’s a City SmartHunt, Chase SmartHunt, Mystery of Davinci SmartHunt, Foodie SmartHunt or Mission Possible SmartHunt that takes your fancy, there’s something for everyone!
Smart escape rooms
An escape room is a physical adventure game in which players solve a series of puzzles using clues, hints and strategy to complete the objectives at hand during a set time limit. These rooms have taken the world by storm in recent years, with over 3,500 world-wide, but certain escape room owners are beginning to incorporate Smart technology into their lairs.
Owner of Sydney based escape room Enigma, Lee, explains that before players enter his rooms, they are shown a video that inserts them into the narrative, and then given a tablet which acts as a personal guide and means to dispense hints. Once inside the room, players are watched on surveillance and can tap on the tablet for help should they get stuck. But rather than hearing from staff, they’ll get personalised hints coming from the characters that appeared in the video at the start.
The surveillance cameras aren’t the only ways the players are tracked in the room. There are also plenty of smart sensors used throughout the space to fully automate the experience, by displaying content on screens, playing audio clues and even opening doors.
Some of this automation is Arduino powered, an inexpensive and easy-to-use chipset that can be programmed for countless applications, from lighting and robotics to “the craziest things you could possibly think of” according to Lee. At Enigma, Arduino boards are linked to sensors meaning that as puzzles are solved, players get immediate feedback in the form of more clues.
But it’s not just hobbyist electronics that are hiding in the walls. The team has also used Kinect sensors for motion detection, meaning certain movements in the space are capable of unlocking new elements of the room.
“Most people would have heard of using a Kinect to play Xbox games, so having the ability to use a component like that, but in an unexpected way, I think it provides that element of surprise,” says Lee.
“It’s that magic factor. As mainstream as it’s become – everybody’s got a smartphone these days, everybody’s got a good computer and a good internet connection – there is still that magical nature to some tech, especially when you use it in unexpected ways.”
There has been an increase in the number of Smart hotels entering the market in the past year, from the rising number of design-led, high rise hotels in China to pioneering tech hotels found in chains across the world…
Yotel is a hotel chain which prides itself on space-efficient rooms in the heart of city centres, with all of the Smart technology needed to create a seamless stay. If you are ever at Heathrow or Gatwick airport and need a room for the night, why not test out Yotel’s Smarts:
- Touch screen check-in kiosks and keyless room entry
- Free super-fast WiFi everywhere
- Signature fully adjustable SmartBed™ with Serta gel mattress which can be stowed away during the day to create space
- Smart TVs with easy connectivity to stream own music and video content
- Robotic luggage store
The NH Collection Eurobuilding hotel in Madrid is the first in the world to be able to project life-size holographic 3D images of people to talk to live, no matter where they are in the world. Actor Hugh Jackman and director Neill Blomkamp recently used the tech to promote their film, Chappie, at a press conference in the hotel, despite being at a sister property in Berlin.
Marriott has tested a “VRoom Service” in two of its New York and London hotels which allows guests to travel to far away foreign places right from the comfort of their hotel rooms using Samsung Gear VR headsets. VR Postcards, the first in-room virtual reality travel experience, is described as a virtual travel content platform that offers “intimate and immersive travel stories that users experience in 360-degree 3D, via a virtual reality headset.” Each story follows a real traveller on a journey to a unique destination; viewers are immersed in the destination and hear the travellers’ personal stories about why travel is important to them. The first three VR Postcards were shot in the Andes Mountains in Chile, an ice cream shop in Rwanda, and on the packed streets of Beijing.
There is no doubt that as technology continues to progress and become more readily available, more and more experiences will begin incorporating Smart technology. Are there any other Smartsperiences you know of, or perhaps that you would pioneer? Let us know in the comments below!