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The New York Times reports this morning on how "hotels around the world are using technology in new ways, with the goal of speeding up or personalizing more services for guests," essentially using technology "as a substitute for human hospitality."

An excerpt:

"Instead of the staff at the front desk offering advice on where to go for dinner, guests may be lent an iPad loaded with maps and suggestions for local restaurants and sightseeing. A hand-held device in the room might control the television, blinds and temperature, replacing the role of the bellman who would describe how the features in the room work when he dropped off a guest’s luggage ... Hotels are also using technology to save money and manage inventory. Workers used to have to count sheets, towels, robes and table linens by hand on the way out of the hotel to the laundry and on the way back in, to try to avoid theft. Some hotels now stitch in small radio frequency ID tags, which transmit radio waves, so that when a cart of laundry passes by a sensor, the number of items inside is displayed. The method saves time in counting items and has decreased theft."

The use of technology in the hospitality business isn;t always analogous to various forms of retail, but the article remains instructive ... and you can read it here.
KC's View:
I'm a big fan of technology, but I do think that this story raises a fascinating question about de-peopling the act of personalization, especially in a tech-driven universe.