Tourism and Robotization

Julkaistu 14.9.2017 UUTTA!

There will be 13.10.2017 a very special workshop about tourism and how robotization may effect on hospitality industry ... and education. The event is taking place at Linnanmäki Amusement Park and there is registration needed to attend at the event. See more in Skål International Finland website www.skalfinland.com (in Finnish): https://www.skalfinland.com/?x103997=324832

Here an article of Mrs. Janika Leoste who is going to organize this robotization and tourism workshop. She is doing at the moment her doctoral thesis about robotization and she has been honored and awarded already about her contribution on this topic. Please find her thoughts about robotization her below. You will find her short curriculum vitae in the end of the article.

Tourism and Robotization

by Janika Leoste 

 

"There are many opinions and speculations about the consequences of the robotization that is taking place right now. On the other hand there is a lot of talk about how more than half of the people are going to lose their jobs because of robots, and on the other hand, it is believed that due to robots the work process will become so effective that people actually do not need to work.

 

We are today here for thinking about the situation in such a traditional sector of the economy as it is tourism. This sector includes a lot of human work, communication that is not easily automated - and yet we should find out how to use the advance of robotics in the interests of the tourism sector.

In order to talk about robotics, having a say in the discussion, we would need to acquire the basic knowledge about algorithmic thinking and about the main principles of robotic devices. That said, one thing seems to be quite clear: no tourist will travel anywhere to see some robots - if we leave out the exception of robotic enthusiasts and highly developed robots.

 

Therefore we should focus on the general trends in tourism and see if algorithmic thinking with robotics may prove to be beneficial for us either today or in the future.

 

One of the first trends to bring forward is an exponential growth of tourists in the world. It is predicted that as there are about 1,2 billion tourists right now, there will be 1,8 billion tourists by 2030. This will definitely increase the number of tourists visiting Finland and from these facts perhaps the first question could be introduced: as it is very easy to increase the capacity of repetitive tasks by using robots then we need to find out what are these tasks in tourism sector? We should not look for physical robots exclusively but also software based robots, AI and more similar solutions that are making human jobs easier and more effective. For example, travel booking is one of these tasks, but also at first glance quite distant service like digital marketing that by using carefully designed activities and personalized approach to millions, by using automatic systems, can make tourists to visit your tourist destinations.

 

It is usual to outsource these tasks - but for making right decisions in the outsourcing process we have to learn about algorithmic thinking - and that is what we are going to do today by programming these robots here.

 

The next important trend in the world is the aging of the population. This creates a pressure of integrating movement assistance, health services, but also integrating healthy and sporty added value into the tourism services. This framework includes understanding about Internet of Things and different robotic assistants, for example, self driving vehicles. We will take a look at on a simplified model of one of these vehicles and you will create a program that is on a par with programs used on some of the self-driving buses today.

And last, we can not forget that we are living in an information society, meaning that there is more and more information available to our customers. This will create pressure for us to transform our offers as realistic as possible, at the same time offering as much positive emotion as possible. One of the tools of achieving this is the virtual reality that will make the customers to experience the tourism destination, hotel room, the city ambiance in a life like way already in the process of making travel plans. Instead of photoshopped ads, stock photos we should use 360-degree videos and specially built virtual worlds.

One of the popular talk subjects when speaking about robots in tourism has been the wonder robot that would replace hotel maids. This kind of the innovations should be examined with curiosity, with full attentions, keeping in mind that tourist is spending his/her money on mainly on emotions. Therefore we really have to ask if the robot can achieve the goal of giving good emotions to the tourist while remaining cost effective and following ethical considerations.

 

Coming back to our topic of today, we have here 2 robotic games that need us to use algorithmic thinking for giving commands to the robots and lead them into right destinations."

 

About Janika Leoste

 

Her speciality is marketing novel and innovative technologies via scalable edutaining methods, bringing them to the maximum amount of end-users by using interactive presentations, lectures and social media, and bringing these from the level of innovative research to the level of the end product.

With different business domains, she has pioneered techniques and methods that have been at early stages during implementing era, for example QR code supported animated online cartoons as RLOs for making workbooks interactive for kids, usage of social media in educating sector,  using short videos and sample programs with engaging narratives background to engage kindergarten and elementary teachers with STEM and robotics.

At the moment she is doing her doctoral thesis about robotization and education.

Robotics educator of the Information Technology Foundation for Education (training teachers to use educational robots and related mind-set); 2015-2016

CMO for Estonian most popular children site www.lastekas.ee, www.youtube.com/lastekas. (Also, marketing for related workbooks, books, etc) (Lasteveeb LLC); 2004-2015

Chief Software Developer for the most popular Estonian accounting software Raama, aka HansaRaama; also CEO of the company developing the software (Raama LLC); 1990-2004

 

Honors:

Estonian Research Council: Estonian Science Communication Award; 2014

UNICEF Estonia: The Bluebird Award; 2010

The Ministry of Science and Education: The Act of Language of The Year Award; 2008

 

Leoste. J, (June, 2017). Ozobot for Beginners, https://www.udemy.com/ozobot-bit-algajatele/learn/v4/overview , 54 students, 24 lectures, 1 hour video content

E-learning course helps teachers and students make their first steps with robotics and programming when using Ozobot Bit robotics platform.

 

As a teacher of HITSA (The Estonian Information Technology Foundation for Education) she has trained 968 Estonian teachers in educational robotics.

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