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How Voice Activation Is Transforming Healthcare, Corporate And Hospitality Real Estate


As the increasingly indispensable Internet of Things expands its reach outwards, the augmented reality tools helming its growth in the healthcare, corporate and hospitality industries are more innovative—and important—than ever.

Take, for instance, the newly cemented partnership between IBM and Harman Pro and Healthcare, Hospitality and Corporate. For more than six decades, the latter has specialized in audio, lighting and video systems for a diverse array of clients. Now, the two firms are partnering to deliver AV tools to several distinct markets.

The firm has already recognized (and is working toward establishing) its voice-activation system's powerful potential in the hospitality and corporate sectors. The corporate solution offers consumers a natural way to interact with an intelligent room—by controlling HVAC, lighting, blinds, sound, audio/visual equipment, and even obtaining information relevant to the office environment, including hours of operation, conference room booking schedules and more.


Imagine a hotel room with this kind of technology; guests can walk into their room after a long, tiring day of travel, sightseeing or meetings and tell the room to turn the TV on to their favorite channel, turn on bathroom lights or even adjust the air temperature.

Right now, however, the healthcare industry is poised for revolution through voice activation.

"We are solving some distinct problems in the space with the Harman device," Harman Professional Solutions president Mohit Parasher said at the World of Watson 2016 Conference earlier this month. "[It] enables IBM Watson to actively learn from situations, contexts and interactions."

Stethoscope and Laptop Computer

Overworked doctors and medical staff are rarely able to set aside more than a few minutes per patient per day, resulting in a severe lack of interpersonal connection; the human touch so vital to medicine. Patients (as well as their friends and family) may feel uncomfortable seeking assistance in the vast mazes of a hospital, and voice activation can help reduce that discomfort.

One of Pennsylvania’s largest research and student hospitals, Philadelphia’s Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, has begun implementing Harman's tech into its hospital-wide system, allowing patients not only to reach out to available nurses and doctors, but also enabling them to carry out simple tasks—such as adjusting room temperature, operating lights, or opening and closing windows—without outside help.

Hospital inhabitants and visitors can access more casual information that isn’t worth the hassle of tracking down a staff member, like cafeteria hours or the nearest bathrooms.

These voice-activated machines are built with cognitive systems harboring comprehensive knowledge of the hospital, its employees  and the statuses of its patients’ treatments. And just like any “live” cognitive system, it learns, improves and stores information with time.

“The result is a system that intelligently adapts to the patient and the environment [to] deliver enhanced healthcare and support," Mohit said.

Visiting family members and bedridden patients can connect with attending nurses and take care of their own non-medical necessities. This allows nurses, doctors and other workers to use their time taking care of patients and procedures that most require their attention.

“In the future, this solution could even be part of a health kit that patients could take home and discharge to track their progress and help speed up their recovery,” he said. “It could even perhaps help reduce the chance of readmissions.”

To learn more about Bisnow partner Harman, click here.