Hospitality brand Ascott has developed an Innovation Lab to develop immersive virtual reality and augmented reality technologies for guests at its Lyf co-living properties. Jenny Southan reports

Created in collaboration with Temasek Polytechnic’s School of Informatics and IT, the Lyf Innovation Lab will “explore, design and testbed immersive virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies and digital experiences”.

In addition, the Lyf One-North Singapore will serve as a “living lab” for field testing the lab’s digital innovations. Successful pilots will eventually be implemented across other Lyf properties worldwide, says Ascott.

Currently underway, the first pilot is the expansion of Lyf’s co-living experience into the metaverse by harnessing VR and AR technologies to merge the physical world of Lyf with the virtual space.

With 25 per cent of people expected to spend at least one hour per day in the metaverse by 2026, Ascott is co-developing these immersive technologies to deliver cutting-edge experiences in the new interactive metaverse starting with the Lyf brand.Lyf Innovation labThe service model of Lyf is anchored upon the Discover ASR mobile app that enables contactless room bookings, digital check-in/check-out, keyless room access, management of social spaces and community events, communication board with guests to cashless payment.

Tan Bee Leng, Ascott’s managing director for brand and marketing, says: “The Lyf brand has always been advocating new ways of living and forming communities. We are now enhancing our lyf community building efforts beyond the walls of our apartments and the lyf social spaces.

“Tapping on VR and AR technologies, lyf is aiming to offer a borderless experience to our guests in the virtual realm. For example, our Lyf Champions can host virtual property tours live or our Ambassadors of Buzz can offer custom Lyf tote bag design workshops where guests can then purchase their own creations in the metaverse as non-fungible tokens (NFT) or as actual merchandise in real life.Lyf Innovation lab“Guests looking for a workout can even spar over a game of virtual tennis and connect with other guests. These virtual experiences will allow guests at Lyf to explore, engage and interact with Lyf as well as with one another like never before.”

Tan adds: “Creative co-innovation with industry partners, domain experts and institutes of higher learning will be a key focus for Ascott in our brand development work. We are in talks to set up more innovation labs for our other brands to field test new lodging concepts and hospitality programming.

“These living labs will enable us to rapidly prototype anything from eco-gyms to the latest cutting-edge technology. Guest usage patterns and preferences can then be translated into actionable insights to improve and expand Ascott’s hospitality product and service offerings.

“It will also shore up Ascott’s competitiveness through the upskilling of staff and the honing of our innovation capabilities.”

So far the company has 17 Lyf properties with over 3,200 units in 14 cities and nine countries. In Europe, the Lyf Gambetta Paris, Ascott’s first Lyf-branded property in Europe, is expected to open in 2023.