Future cabin: biometrics, connectivity centres and a plain old TV and DVD player
Cruises are all about shore visits and onboard entertainment around the ship, but the cruise information website CruiseCompare has come up with a list of 10 future and current hi-tech gadgets that increase comfort and convenience in the cabin.
The first two items on the list are obvious enough – a flat-screen TV and a built-in DVD player, the former having entertainment and news channels, the latter being a great reason to take along your favourite movies.
Third, the oft-used communications system accessible through the television provides essential information, anything from daily cruise schedules and services on the ship to access to your cabin bill.
These days, wireless internet access is an essential service in the cabin as well as around the ship, as is wireless-enabled capability for mobile phones. Soon, it is expected that passengers will be able to order food and drinks and open their cabin doors using their phones – something regular hotel guests will be able to do too.
Biometrics are being harnessed to improve guests’ and crews’ security and monitoring the movement of people around the ship. Technology like face recognition and palm scanning will soon be available on cruise ships.
Radio-frequency identification (RFID) carried by passengers in wristbands or around their ankles is a possible alternative to biometrics.
Replacing the often hard-to-find electrical sockets in the cabins is the “connectivity centre” – a power strip and charging station together with iPod/MP3 connectors.
Safes inside the cabins are another essential gadget, but these are also changing to use the same technology as the door locks. Taking away the need to memorise another PIN code, passengers will soon be able to open the safe with biometric, mobile phone or RFID technology.
Finally, the desk telephone is a developing technology, with passengers now able to make ship-to-shore as well as intra-ship calls – although many passengers already use internet phone services such as Skype to avoid international call costs.