Los Angeles Hotel Debuts Holographic Staff In First Wave Of AI Shake-Up

"I think this is going to lead to a lot of phone calls for us.”

Los Angeles Hotel Debuts Holographic Staff In First Wave Of AI Shake-Up

Image: Four Seasons

The Beverly Wilshire Hotel has introduced holographic concierge services in its suites, using cutting-edge AI-powered tech that allows guests to interact with virtual staff.

Los Angeles is known for its top-end hotels — as well as the hyper-glamorous lifestyle that goes along with them — and The Beverly Wilshire is no different. However, the Four Seasons-owned hotel may have found a futuristic means of setting itself apart: introducing holographic concierge services in its penthouse and presidential suites. Partnering with Proto, the hologram devices allow guests to interact with staff as if they were physically present…

This is the first time this kind of technology has been deployed directly into hotel rooms and suites. David Nussbaum, CEO of Proto, is unsurprisingly very optimistic about the potential expansion of this technology within the hospitality sector: “Hospitality… is going to be massive for us. And it’s because we can do a lot of things… from corporate meetings, to live concierge, to entertainment, and also live events… I think that this is going to lead to a lot of phone calls for us.”

The device that the Beverly Wilshire has chosen to use — known colloquially as ‘M’ — stands 74cm tall and works by capturing live video that is then projected in real-time into the space behind the in-room device’s screen, allowing for an apparently lifelike interaction between the holographic staff member and the guest.

The tech enjoys backing from a number of celebrity investors including Paris Hilton, Howie Mandel, and Lil Wayne along with tech bigwigs like Tesla and SpaceX investor Tim Draper and Uber investor Mike Walsh.

Relying on advanced projection techniques and LED lighting to enhance the three-dimensional experience, Reed Kandalaft — the general manager of the Beverly Wilshire — believes the scope for other uses within the hotel space is vast:

“[These] include projecting guests to remote meetings, providing shopping options with luxury retailers on Rodeo Drive, hosting business speakers, and offering entertainment and fitness content.”

Justin Dawes at Skift

Given the AI boom in recent years, you won’t be surprised to hear that Proto isn’t the only company looking to make big bucks in holographic solutions for hospitality. A similar technology built by Holoconnects was recently rolled out at the Aiden Hotel in Denmark, aiming to replace traditional front desk staff as part of a contract involving 30 hotels.

While this kind of expansion will inevitably result in staff redundancies, which many are far from thrilled about, Nussbaum seems unphased, looking to highlight the environmental benefits of this technology. He believes that “beaming” people in for key events rather than flying them across the world could significantly reduce the carbon footprints associated with conferences and mass live events.

Since its creation in 2019, Proto has attracted similar attention from the entertainment, education, and health industries, with the company recently raising US$12 million (c. A$19 million) in a Series A funding round. It seems that the days of bell boys and butlers alike hang in the balance… hotels, like everything else AI touches, are about to change in a big way.