Sky Replacement 

By Phuthego Precious Nthoke

We can all agree that the Corona Virus (COVID-19) pandemic has affected us all; our jobs, school and social relationship, many industries were forced to adapt to the changing times and try to accommodate us during and after the pandemic. The tourism industry was hit the hardest as travelling was banned and everything was closed.  Even as restrictions eased, people were still hesitant to return to normal and businesses needed to adapt a new structure and way of service that would guarantee the safety of guests and staff members alike.  While the year 2020 was an economic disaster, some in the industry were able to capitalise and lead the fourth industrial revolution. 

With the fourth industrial revolution around the corner, more and more workers fear for their livelihood and their ability to earn a living wage in a stable work environment. Many industries have adopted the use of new technology in South Africa, such as within the tourism industry. When we look at the tourism industry, we expect human interaction. The Sky hotel is the first hotel in South Africa that has adopted a robot as part of the staff. Imagine walking into a hotel and being greeted by a piano playing, roof riding, talking robot. Well, Hotel Sky has just that and it is just the beginning. This not only attracts more visitors, but it acts as a measure to protect their staff from guests who could potentially carry the virus. 

Hotel Sky is a duo of hotels that opened during the 2020 pandemic. One is located in Cape Town’s Foreshore and the other in Sandton, Johannesburg. Both equipped with a personalised digital experience, remote booking, as well as check in, a room key that you get via an application on your phone, a restaurant with a grand piano that plays itself as guests arrive, state of the art technology, Wi-Fi coverage and ready to watch streaming services. Upon entering the hotel, you are greeted by three robot concierges named Mika, Maya, and Skyla at the Cape Town location and Micah, Ariel, and Lexie at the Sandton location, eyes bright red with LED lights and ready to assist. They can carry a maximum of 300 kg worth of luggage and guests have an option to make use of the robots or request a human if the need arises.

With the hotel’s beautiful scenery and top-notch technology and service, many wonder if the human staff that remain will be replaced by the efficient robots. That currently seems unlikely, as the hotel works with the local tourism and job creation departments to create great working environments and more work within the communities. Some may argue that this is a setback for many of the youth that could have potentially been hired by the hotel, but the construction of this hotel will bring in business and make room for expansion in their respective areas and in turn, create more jobs. Hotel Sky is definitely a destination point for the rich and wealthy, young, and vibrant, and everyone who wants to experience something new.  

Photo credit: Pexels

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