xi's moments
Home | Technology

Dining rooms get taste of conferencing technology

By MA SI | China Daily | Updated: 2021-02-10 09:47

An employee readies a table for diners at a Haidilao restaurant in Changsha, Hunan province, in March. [Photo/Xinhua]

Cutting-edge digital technologies are likely to enable virtual get-togethers in place of traditional family reunions for the Spring Festival holiday this year.

In China, people have been requested to stay put where they work and not travel to their hometowns for the Lunar New Year, to preempt further spread of COVID-19.

As if to make up for the disruption in traditional festivities, Huawei Cloud, the cloud computing unit of Huawei Technologies Co, is partnering with Haidilao, China's leading hot pot chain, to offer consumers cloud-based reunion dinners with their family members and friends far away.

Since the start of this month, people have been able to book special dining rooms in Haidilao restaurants across the country, which are now equipped with Huawei Cloud's video conference services and smart screens.

Children can eat hot pot in their city, while their parents, relatives or friends may do so at the same time in their hometown. Both the dining rooms will have wall-mounted high-definition smart screens as large as 86 inches, connected via cloud conferencing services.

The distance of hundreds or thousands of miles between them is bridged by high technology that ensures razor-sharp images and high-fidelity sound in real time create the same effect as a physical reunion.

What's more, people on either side can even interact online and play games in real time when dining, and tether their smartphones to the cloud service.

Such services are available in 57 Haidilao restaurants in more than 40 Chinese cities, including metropolises such as Shanghai and Beijing, and third-to fourth-tier cities such as Yibin in Sichuan province.

In addition, the services are included at some Haidilao restaurants in Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia.

That, market experts opined, is an appropriate, creative and commendable response to newly imposed limits on the number of people who can dine together at restaurants.

Cloud-based services at dining rooms could emerge a future trend, said Zhou Zhaocheng, executive director and chief strategy officer of Haidilao.

Chen Xi, marketing director in China for Huawei Cloud, said the catering industry has been trying to offer cloud-based conference links at dining rooms for a long time.

But, in the past, prohibitive costs were a problem. Now, technological advancements like cloud computing and 5G telecom have helped bring down network costs, Chen said.

Many restaurant chains are able to afford them, he said.

The trend is in line with the accelerated digital transformation of the catering industry amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Digital technologies are said to have boosted efficiency of many Chinese restaurants, helping attract more consumers.

Haidilao will also beef up its delivery services during the holiday for the benefit of people dining at home.

The government has been encouraging people to dine at home during the pandemic, in a bid to stem the infectious disease.

Global Edition
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349