Alibaba opens AI ‘future hotel’

admin   •   December 26, 2018   •   25716

Interior of Alibaba’s AI ‘future hotel’ and a robot | REUTERS

Chinese internet giant Alibaba has opened a hotel loaded with artificial intelligence (AI) and robots, automating a series of procedures like check-in, lights control and room service.

FlyZoo Hotel, opened in Hangzhou, capital of east China’s Zhejiang Province, where Alibaba is headquartered, is known as the company’s first “future hotel”.

Customers can check into the hotel by simply scanning their faces. The facial recognition system installed in the hotel also enables customers to use their faces as key cards to open doors and access other hotel services.

Users can also control the lights, television and curtains in the room via Alibaba’s voice-activated digital assistant, while robots are deployed to serve dishes, cocktails and coffee.

Hotel bookings and check-out can also be done with a few clicks on mobile through an app. The hotel is the latest example of Chinese techcompanies’ foray into traditional industries such as the hospitality sector.

“We don’t have to waste our time on registering and waiting in lines. Many services like check in can be done with a smartphone. Secondly, I feel more safe with the help of this technology and these smart facilities,” said Sam Wang, a customer.

Some people may concern that these robots may put the human hotel staff out of a job.

“I’m not worried about being replaced by robots, because machines and robots can only do some simple works at this hotel. It is the human employees that can provide better services. The robots can save us a lot of time so that we can better serve our customers,” said Sun Xiaoting, an employee of FlyZoo Hotel.

Many customers said technology is making hotels more convenient and upgrading their services. But others said information safety and privacy are major concerns.

Many hotels across the world are now teaming with tech companies to upgrade their facilities with AI and Internet of Things technologies. FlyZoo Hotel’s CEO Wang Qun said safety and service will always be their top priority.

“So we are already concerning about this kind of issue. First of all, we will completely comply with the local government policies and local laws. Secondly with our system capabilities, because you know all our systems are cloud based, we have more and more strong capabilities to protect those data and privacies from our individual guests,” said Wang.

Wang said the FlyZoo Hotel is 1.5 times more efficient than its competitors. — Reuters

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China suspends entry of non-Chinese travelers from PH to prevent imported cases of COVID-19

Marje Pelayo   •   November 6, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — China announced it is temporarily closing its borders to non-Chinese nationals from the Philippines in a move to prevent entry of fresh cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The announcement was made by the Chinese Embassy in Manila on Thursday (November 6) through its official social media platforms to notify Filipinos and foreign nationals in the country who intend to travel to China.

“The suspension is a temporary response necessitated by the current situation of Covid-19,” the statement said.

Similar entry ban was also imposed on British and Belgian nationals.

The entry restriction applies to all non-Chinese nationals in the Philippines regardless of whether their visas or residence permits are still valid.

It added that all Chinese embassies and consulates in the Philippines would no longer issue certified health declaration forms to those affected by the entry ban.

“The above-mentioned measures will be assessed in accordance with the evolving situation and any adjustment will be announced accordingly,” the embassy said.

Meanwhile, members of the diplomatic service or holders of C-visas are not covered by the ban including international transport workers such as airline crews. Those who were given a visa after November 3 will also not be affected.

However, foreign nationals visiting China for emergency needs may apply for a visa in Chinese embassy and consulates.

Joint oil exploration with China won’t compromise Phl position on WPS — Malacañang

Marje Pelayo   •   October 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Duterte administration stands firm that the Philippines’ position will not be compromised should a joint oil exploration with China in the West Philippine Sea pushes through.

This is in relation to the country’s arbitral award on the disputed territory against China.

“First, this lifting of the moratorium is an exercise of our sovereign rights. In no way it weakens the arbitral decision, and our MOU to explore a joint development program or cooperation with China, in no way that it weakens or gives away our sovereign rights,” noted Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi.

Recently, President Rodrigo Duterte approved the recommendation of the Department of Energy (DOE) to lift the suspension and once again issue a resume to work notice for service contractors for oil exploration in the West Philippine Sea.

“Although sovereign rights are defined as exclusive rights, that exclusive rights may be shared to others. The decision to share it is part of the sovereign rights,” explained Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque. –MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

BOC destroys P50-M worth of misdeclared cigarettes

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 8, 2020

Around P50 million worth of misdeclared cigarettes from China were destroyed by the Bureau of Customs (BOC)-Port of Cagayan de Oro last October 2.

The cigarettes came from different shipments that were declared as furniture and disposable cups. One of the shipments arrived last May 14 while the other shipment arrived last June 9 at Mindanao Container Terminal in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental.

𝗕𝗢𝗖 – 𝗣𝗼𝗿𝘁 𝗼𝗳 𝗖𝗗𝗢 𝗗𝗲𝘀𝘁𝗿𝗼𝘆𝘀 𝗣𝗛𝗣 𝟱𝟬 𝗠𝗶𝗹𝗹𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝘄𝗼𝗿𝘁𝗵 𝗼𝗳 𝗖𝗶𝗴𝗮𝗿𝗲𝘁𝘁𝗲𝘀 𝗗𝗲𝗰𝗹𝗮𝗿𝗲𝗱 𝗮𝘀 𝗙𝘂𝗿𝗻𝗶𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗲𝘀, 𝗗𝗶𝘀𝗽𝗼𝘀𝗮𝗯𝗹𝗲 𝗖𝘂𝗽𝘀Fifty million…

Posted by Bureau of Customs PH on Tuesday, October 6, 2020

District Collector John Simon issued a Decree of Abandonment after the shipment failed to request for extension of lodgement of its goods.

“The shipment has been previously issued with an Alert Order. This was followed by a 100% physical examination which revealed the shipment actually containing cigarettes,” the BOC said in a statement. AAC

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