Every holiday season sees a population surge at popular beach resorts. In the past this meant throwing out a towel early to get a pool chair, bringing a good book to relax with, and filling in the out-of-office message before leaving work. But hotels are starting to see very different needs emerging around their pools.
Your family might be the kind where all the members go on vacation and enjoy the full benefits of it. Or you might be the kind of family where one of you had to go on a “workation” to be able to get away. Or you might be a single traveler in either category. What you all have in common is that you now put your devices in your pool bag together with your sunscreen and glasses.
E-readers are challenging the pocket paperback as the way to relax with a book. Smartphones with their social media applications are as common as pool towels. Magazines are hanging in there, but are being challenged by tablets and e-readers. Kids play games on tablets. A few workaholics bring their laptops. We used to stay by the pool until we had to eat. Now we stay there until we are out of device juice and have to go and recharge our batteries.
Last year, MIT demonstrated a solar-powered lounge chair that offers a bit of shade and an integrated USB charger, with solar panels on top connected to power outlets in the chair. So which hotel will be first to deploy these or classic pool chairs with USB outlets to offer power by the pool? A drink might not be the only juice we will demand in the future.
My predictions for the future are:
• Devices by the pool are here to stay
• Pool chairs with power outlets will be here within the next two years
• “Workation” might sound awkward, but is a growing user need for hotels to support
• Mobile coverage by the pool and in the room is an important deployment scenario for heterogeneous networks