Lolly’s Peter Moore says the world has woken up to a new phenomenon, and looks at what’s in store for the year ahead…
Reflecting on 2023
When he looks back on 2023, Peter Moore, CEO and founder of software specialist, Lolly, comments: “This time last year, I said that the adoption of AI would accelerate massively in the hospitality sector. Look where we are today (only 12 months on), and ChatGPT, which was then unknown, has now become omnipresent.
“The news is filled with headlines such as ‘AI will end work’. The world has woken up – both in excitement and in trepidation – to this new phenomenon.”
Here, Moore offers his technology 2024 predictions…
AI will continue to dominate the headlines
Whether overtly or covertly, the use of AI will be enormous in the year ahead across every sector.
When it comes to hospitality, those more forward-thinking providers will continue to embrace AI and ML (machine learning), in order to create greater levels of personalisation and to improve the customer experience. Whether that’s facially-recognising a customer as they walk through the door, or enabling them to pay by face for a slicker, more professional experience.
I also believe that where the sector continues to struggle to find good staff, AI will help to bridge the gap. Whether making existing staff more efficient, through age verification tools and integrated data insights, AI tools will help to manage business better – reducing wastage and increasing efficiencies. We’ll also see hospitality providers placing greater focus around data, using applications such as ChatGPT to generate answers and greater levels of data processed through ML.
Rise in robotics – edging closer to the ‘restaurant of the future’
As service-based robots become more functional and cost effective, it won’t be unusual to see them in restaurant environments before the end of 2024. They will continue to be trolley-based for the foreseeable future, taking plates back to an automated dishwasher, for example. Their form and function will carry on improving.
They are also likely to help hospitality providers meet the skills gap and labour shortages which may worsen in 2024 if the new immigration rules come into place.
I believe walking and fully-interacting robots are still two to three years away, and – at that stage – we’ll see restaurants of the future being built, with robots running the front of house.
The Metaverse – how far is this from being reality?
In hospitality, we are seeing more Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) propositions. In 2024, Holographic (hypo look) menus will become more commonplace, with a view to enticing more customers.
AR will see its beginnings in shopping malls, with the Alpha generation embracing this, for example by ordering a burger on their headset, billing it to their account and having it delivered to their home address. It’s different and it’s the future, which we must embrace.
Managing the ongoing cyber security threat
Cyber crime continues to remain a huge concern for the hospitality sector. We’ll see a big response to this in 2024, with hospitality tech providers using more AI tech to defend against fraud. The onus will be on them to deliver huge advancements to defend the industry with AI security – delivering major investment to support this.
ChatGPT will come into its own for policies and processes creation – using data in a positive way. It will be part of our lives, and we’ll never go back.
A continued focus on sustainability
Sustainability will remain firmly on the agenda, and we’ll see a continued focus around energy and carbon consumption both from the technology providers, but also in the products being consumed.
The past year has been a difficult storm for many to weather. However, the slowdown in the economy vastly supports the need for greater technology adoption.
I foresee the focus around reducing inflation as a massive green flag for technology, creating the ability to drive more functionality in hospitality environments.