WeChat, China’s biggest app, joined hands with InterContinental to start a smart hotel in Shanghai that allows consumers remotely check in, book rooms, and employ their handsets as key cards—all without needing human support. Once they have confirmed their reservation, users authenticate their identity at the hotel with the help of facial recognition and get their digital key card. Even though the hotel is located underground 88 feet, it is sufficiently connected to offer quick services, as per a press release it shared with the media.
Tencent and WeChat have been operating on designing smart hotel experiences form 2014, but now it has included facial recognition into the mixture for quicker identity verification. Conventionally, hotels in China need you to take a pic of yourself and show the government ID to be copied & scanned before you can make an entry in the room. On the other hand, internet connectivity provided by most Chinese hotels also stays limited by the firewall placed by regulators.
On a related note, WeChat earlier refused amassing chat histories of users. This came after a leading businessman was cited in reports of the media as claiming that he thought Tencent was observing account of every user. “WeChat does not amass chat history of any users. That is only kept in computers, mobiles, and other terminals of the users,” WeChat clarified to the world on the social media platform in a post.
“WeChat will not employ any material from consumer chats for analysis of big data. This is due to technical model of WeChat that does not analyze or store chats of user, the rumor that we are everyday observing your WeChat is complete misinterpretation,” the company further claimed. Chairman of Geely Holdings, Li Shufu, was cited in Chinese media as claiming that Ma Huateng, the Chairman of Tencent, must be observing all our every day WeChats.