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Homegrown Technology Dashing into Hospitality Industry

The future of hospitality is being paved in Silicon Valley by a company found in Santa Clara just over four years ago.

Savioke, now located in San Jose, has developed the Relay robot, the first autonomous indoor delivery robot and the next big thing in providing efficiency to customers in hotels across the country. Within six months of founder Steve Cousins, PhD forming a team, six prototypes were created and tested for safety, reliability and user interaction. The earliest Relay robot adopter was the Aloft Cupertino hotel in August 2014, and within a year, the robot had deployed to five other hotels, including Milpitas’ Crowne Plaza Silicon Valley.

David Wang, the director of sales and marketing at the Crowne Plaza Silicon Valley, said the hotel met with Cousins early on but made the decision to employ a Relay robot after seeing Aloft Cupertino’s prototype. Crowne Plaza’s Relay robot, named Dash, performs a handful of tasks that free up front desk agents to tend to other guests’ needs.

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When a hotel guest calls with a request, Dash jumps into action. The front desk agent fills “his” compartment with the requested item—anything from a snack and soda from hotel’s gift shop to extra towels or a forgotten item like a toothbrush or toothpaste—and programs the guest’s room number. Then Dash is off, by himself, navigating hallways and using WiFi to communicate with the hotel’s elevator system. Once he arrives at a room, Dash calls the guest to let them know he has arrived and they open their door to trigger a motion sensor that unlock Dash’s secure compartment. The guest is able to retrieve their items and is asked to give Dash’s service a rating and rank how their stay is going. Once the questions are answered, Dash returns to his charging station near the hotel lobby until his next job.

“We have several review portals online with the hotel and people do say they were really fascinated with the robot and he did a really great job,” said Wang. “They record videos of him and post them online. People have gone to the extent of saying ‘I’m staying at your hotel because I want to see Dash in action.’”

Wang said Dash completes approximately 20-25 customer requests each day and has allowed the front desk staff to be more efficient.

“I think people overall really enjoy Dash,” said Wang. “I think they’re wowed. Even today, I think they’re wowed that it’s very, very user friendly and I think that’s the key … It may sound like a small job that he’s doing, but that task usually would fall on the front desk team, which is always inundated. So, if they get a call in the middle of a check-in, the whole process [between the guest calling and the item requested being delivered] would take about 10-15 minutes, on average, and Dash has been able to knock that down to about three minutes.”

This year, Savioke was awarded the IERA Invention and Entrepreneurship award and named a member of the prestigious Disney Accelerator program. Since Aloft Cupertino’s early adoption of their Relay robot, Botler, Savioke technology has been installed in over 100 hotels, logistics facilities, offices and high-rise apartments, across the United States, Singapore, Japan and Europe and according to Savioke, robots have made more than 165,000 deliveries and navigated over 7,000 miles.

Cousins said that “going forward, Relay will be ubiquitous, with widespread growth into more hotels worldwide, as well as logistics facilities, high-rise residences, office buildings and hospitals. Savioke is constantly updating and improving Relay to make him more efficient and helpful, and recently announced new features including built-in integration with third-party applications, as well as a mobile app that allows large properties to manage many simultaneous delivers from a fleet of Relay robots.”

Additional information Savioke can be found at www.savioke.com. View a video of Dash in action at www.savioke.com/blog/2015/8/3/meet-crowne-plazas-dash-by-savioke.

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