While watching the World Cup over the weekend, I saw a commercial for a car that could parallel park itself. I have a few friends whose cars have this feature, but I don’t know a single person who actually uses it. Do you? To me, this feels like tech for tech’s sake. Which raises the question — is it really worth it to digitize EVERYTHING?
Too much tech?
Take towels. Towel theft at hotels and gyms is a real problem, with some businesses reporting tens of thousands of stolen towels each year. RFID technology could be used to track those towels, but would that be technology overkill?
My opinion: it depends. If employees still have to scan each towel as it is checked in and out, and manually follow up if it goes missing, the tech isn’t worth it. What a business would save in lost towel revenue it would pay out in employee wages. Breaking even (time- or money-wise) isn’t a sign of successful technology.
But if the RFID technology were combined with an efficient omni-channel network to make management effortless? Now there’s a winner.
Enter: Towel Tracker
Towel Tracker is an interactive self-service kiosk that manages towel usage in hospitality and healthcare settings. A member swipes their ID card at the touch screen kiosk, which unlocks the door so they can take their towels. When they’re finished, they drop their used towels into a separate compartment of the machine. Towel Tracker uses RFID chips embedded in each towel to track when they’re removed and returned.
The system’s omni-channel network is what makes this technology worth it. The towel kiosk shares information with the business’s main computer system via WiFi. Interactive software allows the business to connect every towel used to a member’s ID card or room key, so they can follow up on unreturned towels however they choose.
The interactive system also alerts staff when the machine is running low on fresh towels or is full of dirty ones (The Internet of Things). Instead of an employee regularly checking the machine, they only need to refill or empty it when it’s truly necessary.
This smart omni-channel system utilizes technology to solve a problem in a simple way, so it’s definitely not tech overkill in my book. What are some examples of over-the-top technology that seem unnecessary to you?