Current Thinking

Design Problem – personalized hotel room

I did a design problem awhile ago that asked: “What would a hotel room be like if it could be customized to the traveler’s tastes?” Sound familiar to any Google Designers out there? ;-)

Here’s a sketch of my solution, timeboxed to 3 hours…

Internet of Things - hotel room design


bigquoteImmediately immerse the person in their own life and loves. It feels nothing like it used to be – sterile, lonely, and sad.



The room feels modern, warm, connected, alive, comfortable, safe, private.

  • Highly personalized room design based on shared information
  • Feels like a super high end luxury experience, much better than home
  • Immersed in messages and communication; they appear projected on the floor, walls, windows
  • Walls are used as giant displays for entertainment, business and communications
  • Sensors embedded throughout the room to respond to proximity, speech and desires
  • Seamlessly connected to all of the services you’d expect from your phone or tablet

It gives me access to my shows and movies, new music releases that fit my tastes, easy booking of events, restaurants, concerts. Contacting my family and friends is easy, ideas for healthy activities and transportation to them, a whole library of books from Amazon, and local shopping that’s delivered right to my room.




Since I set out to keep this timeboxed to 3 hours total, I choose a very straightforward approach:

Brainstorm and Quick Research (1 hr)
Sketching and Notes (1 hr)
Comps and Writeup (1hr)


My first thoughts were to make the room feel it’s a reflection of the person and their loves, not a sterile and empty feeling room. It would need to leverage the technology of the Internet of Things and smart homes to pull this off. All while keeping my huge concerns about privacy and security top of mind. The target customer I envisioned was the frequent business traveler – a person who is in a difficult situation any way you look at it. Away from anything they call home, out-of-sorts, lonely, bored, excited, deviant.

State-of-the-art technology is deeply integrated throughout every part of the room, but blends so deeply it seems completely natural.




Wish my room wasn’t so generic and sterile.
Wow. This TV is so old and small compared to mine.
Ugh, why is the WiFi so slow?
Wonder what cool things to do are close…
I feel so isolated and alone here.
Really can’t wait to go home.


I love this room! Wow, is this really mine?
OMG. It’s so cool, I have to post pics right now.
Can’t believe all my shows and music are right here.
They made it soooo easy to have a great time.
Hmmm… wonder if I could extend my stay?



It’s not so much about the view itself, but rather how it’s now augmented with basic communications, map overlays in matching perspective, contextual news and weather.

Approaching the glass triggers a subtle transformation to a heads-up display, and ensuing conversation with Siri or Cortana (detected of course).

When you do choose to call home, the glass also displays a relevant communication summary.



Illustrates the deep integration of tech within the living space:


Some of the tech:

  • Floor to ceiling screens for primary input, backlit to combat glare and low projection contrast
  • Projected messages and images on the floor for effect
  • Kinect-like sensor arrays provide input on all window and glass surfaces
  • Smart Home connectivity and sensors for proximity interactions and mood lighting


This was a fun problem to work on – imagining how digital technology could make any dumpy generic hotel chain room feel even better than your own home. Given the rate of progress with sensors and networked devices within the Internet of Things universe, this should all be possible today.


Ready to book this room?
Great. Me too.


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