Hotel robot is working in Hotel Hanasaari

The robot named Kalle is a collaboration between the School of Business and Hanasaari. The robot has been working as the hotel's "piccolo" for some time already
The hotel robot Kalle. Photo: Hanasaari

The era of robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) is close, with experts predicting their widespread integration into our daily lives within the next decade or two. As both practitioners and academics anticipate this reality, the research project, led and coordinated by professors Yong Liu and Virpi Tuunainen from the Department of Information and Service Management at the School of Business, explores the profound societal and business implications of implementing service robots. Professors Liu and Tuunainen focused on identifying new opportunities and potential threats from these innovative technologies.

‘There is limited knowledge on how to effectively prepare for the imminent era of service robots and leverage their full potential for the Finnish economy and culture. This project seeks to be at the forefront of understanding the design of robotic service experiences and comprehending their impacts on consumers and businesses,’ Yong Liu says.

‘By pioneering this research, we aim to contribute valuable insights into the utilization and effects of robotic service, enabling businesses and society to embrace and harness the transformative power of these technologies.’

Kalle in action

Before the Kalle robot was introduced, it was carefully tested and pre-programmed by Keenon. This means, among other things, coordinating the robot with Hanasaari's elevator network and a programmed road map of the hotel's three floors and 66 hotel rooms.

During the summer season of 2023, Hanasaari's customers have been able to order room service beverage products from the Kalle robot, which has delivered the order to the door.

The flow of the order process is as follows: the customer calls Hanasaari's restaurant PLATS. After that, the restaurant staff puts the order into the robot, selects the hotel room number on the robot's screen, and the robot delivers the order independently to the right door.

The robot can order the elevator itself and go to the right floor and room. After arriving at the door of the hotel room, the robot calls the customer's room phone, after which the customer can pick up the order at the door. If the customer is not in the room, the robot continues to call for a while. If the customer does not open the door, the robot returns to the restaurant and tries again after some time.

The project has been financed by Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation and The Finnish National Agency for Education.

Watch the video produced by Clutch Productions.

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