Cutting-edge and advanced technology at the service of a new tourism concept. DistrictHive is a pioneering project born to change the idea we have of luxury accommodation in remote and beautiful places on the planet through the fusion of design, electronics and digital innovation.
This capsule hotel, also called podtel, is located in the Gorafe desert (in Granada) and uses estate-of-the-art technology where two factors converge: an Artificial Intelligence (AI) called “Hivemind” and the control of all its systems through a mobile APP also called “DistrictHive”.
It is a global and complex development system that differentiates this project from others due to the way in which new technologies are integrated, and that has been launched by the company behind the project, Portugal based DistrictHive LDA, and Infowijs, a Dutch company responsible for the software development, the APP and the podtel full stack of engineering equipment.
“The development process was a great adventure. We were aiming high and we set ourselves ambitious goals,” says Tobias de Graaf, Co-Founder of Infowijs, who also acknowledges that the maxim “everything controlled by an app” was a mantra that generated high expectations in the team.
DistrictHive’s mobile application (available in iOS and Android versions) allows guests to control all the devices and functionalities of the capsule hotel, such as door opening, temperature, interior scent, lighting, sound or the purchase of food and beverages on demand. In addition, this APP provides information on the podtel’s energy levels, bearing in mind that sustainability and self-sufficiency are other key premises of this pioneering project.
(Photos DistrictHive in Gorafe, Granada. Dani Guindo)
“Through multiple versions of the idea, we iterated and kept adding more and more possibilities. To the point that DistrictHive also communicates with its guests through the APP itself and allows them to view and edit their own stay and information,” continues de Graaf.
Likewise, the Artificial Intelligence, “Hivemind”, which controls the capsule has been built on a proprietary system and motherboard that monitors all systems and energy consumption collected through solar panels installed on the roof. This system is able to predict shutdown times in case of energy overconsumption. In this way, it helps in the management of the podtel’s recharging periods so that it is 100% operational, being able to leave days between bookings if necessary. And, at the same time, it helps guests throughout their stay to guarantee a high-tech and connected experience, while they relax and enjoy the wonderful scenery of the area in absolute privacy.
The Co-Founder of Infowijs explains the relationship between the AI and the APP: “As we added new ideas for the application, we also had to change the concept of the motherboard itself. One of the biggest challenges has been to make the motherboard also remotely upgradeable and to restart all services after a possible system outage. And I’m happy to say that we were able to solve it.
(Motherboard of DistrictHive)
This whole technological design process has gone hand in hand with the development of the other aspects of the podtel, and there are quite a few. After all, it is a multidisciplinary and innovative project in many ways in which international professionals from many other fields have also collaborated: architects, interior designers, designers… “The collaboration between all of us could be described as a huge brainstorming, in a more than positive sense. We passed on our enthusiasm to each other at all stages of the project and that made our ideas better and the plans bolder.”
“Usually, our company tends to work only with software, so creating the hardware (Hivemind) has been a big learning curve. And even more synchronising it with the software to make the whole experience seamless. We are really pleased with the result. I personally have not yet been able to stay at DistrictHive, but I can’t wait to travel there to enjoy it first hand,” concludes de Graaf.