This year’s HITEC saw the maturation of many of the trends we’ve been following in hotel technology over the past couple of years, particularly in cloud computing, mobile and guest data. While we couldn’t point to one killer app, we did find a host of new offerings that show these trends beginning to come into their own.
Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise introduced its Guest BYOD Telephony solution. Downloaded as a mobile app, the solution allows guests’ mobile devices to integrate with the hotel’s existing telephony system. The solution can also work with third-party e-concierges.
Aptech showed HM the new mobile features of its Execuvue business intelligence solution. Execuvue can now display dashboards on multiple mobile platforms, allowing GMs and hotel workers to access information more easily on the go.
Bartech was showing off three main products. The eDrawer puts the company’s automatic minibar technology in a pullout, refrigerated drawer that can be fitted with a third-party face plate to mesh with the guestroom design. The Neotray puts the automated technology in a smaller, tray form. Finally, the company has just introduced BarTouch, a slimmed-down version of its WebBart software that allows hoteliers to manage manual minibars via mobile devices.
We also got a chance to see Bittel’s new NEO series of guestroom phones, which offers a much smaller footprint for hotels looking for a sleek design. Additionally, we saw the company’s new doorbell plate, which has a built-in camera that allows a guest to see who is at the door.
Cendyn spoke with HM about the new integration of the company’s CRM and marketing platforms into the cloud-based Cendyn/ONE, putting guest data from various platforms under one roof to allow for one-to-one marketing and predictive modeling.
CSI globalVCard highlighted its secure accounts payable solution, which generates single-use MasterCard numbers for each payment. The system also offers cashback rewards and payment options for vendors that do not accept MasterCard, including eCheck and direct pay.
DirecTV showed off the latest additions to its DirecTV Residential Experience. This year the company updated the technology so that hotels can get a customized welcome page, as well as over-the-top streaming. They also debuted their next-gen head-end system, the COM2000, that is smaller, more energy efficient and offers more HD channels than previous models.
Electric Mirror displayed its latest Mirror TV solution, which allows hotels to add custom channel lineups, maximum and start-up volumes, custom start-up channel and welcome message, all controlled from a hotel’s central office.
At the Evolve booth, we got a chance to check out the new Room Operations Center (ROC), an open guestroom-control platform that runs on Microsoft’s Azure cloud. The new platform allows ROC devices to communicate wirelessly through Azure to deliver updates and receive new feature sets over the air.
FCS spoke with HM about their Unicorn module, a simple software module on top of which hotels can layer a variety of FCS’ existing software solutions, including dispatch, housekeeping and guest experience management, as well as guest-facing mobile applications.
Flyte Systems was showing off the new social media features of its airport information display boards for hotel lobbies. The boards can now display a nearby airport’s Twitter feed for real-time updates, as well as a hotel’s social media sites, such as Facebook and TripAdvisor, to encourage guest interaction. Additionally, the company rolled out new digital meeting and event displays.
At the hotel SystemsPro booth, we got a chance to check out its new hotel ProposalPro offering, a cloud-based group and events sales product that interfaces with the company’s hotel SalesPro system and allows hotel staff to quickly generate e-proposals to either send to a client on an individual property basis or share with sister properties if the lead is more appropriate for them.
We also got a chance to speak with representatives from HTS, a family-owned hospitality technology solutions company that recently started marketing itself more broadly to the industry.
Indra spoke with HM about new clients for its Travel Management Suite (TMS). The company had just expanded into Southeast Asia by signing a deal with John Keells Holdings LLC for the Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts brand to use TMS for Hotels. TMS is a modular solution that can run multiple hotel systems, such as PMS and POS, on a unified platform.
Infor introduced its CloudSuite full-service delivery solution, which brings Infor’s full slate of topline, financial and enterprise performance management software to the cloud. Previously, the company had several cloud-based applications, but the suite marks the first time the full offering is available as a cloud-based solution.
Intelity announced a deal with Sillks International Hotel Group to build a brand-level enterprise mobile solution based on Intelity’s ICE (Interactive Customer Experience) platform. Each property will be able to offer a full menu of guest services through the app, including in-room dining and housekeeping requests, transportation, and information about hotel activities.
InvoTech was coming off its 20-year anniversary and continuing to showcase its RFID tag-based linen tracking systems. Using the system, hoteliers can automatically track linens as they move to and from a laundry service, reducing loss.
iTesso showed HM a special prototype app the company had developed for Google Glass. The prototype, which is not available for hotels, uses facial recognition software to identify guests who are part of a loyalty program, allowing a front-desk agent wearing Google Glass to greet them by name and see relevant information on a heads-up display.
Kaba debuted its Kaba Mobile Access Solution, a cloud-based mobile access solution that delivers secure mobile access credentials to guests via the company’s mobile app, allowing guests to open Kaba’s Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) door locks with their smartphone. Additionally, we got a chance to see Kaba’s Secure Shift solution, an interactive touchscreen device that allows hotel workers to transfer messages via their key cards, without the need for the hotel to install a fully online network.
Kube Systems displayed its two charging solutions for hotel guests. The PowerKube Portable charges all guest mobile devices without using the guests’ own cables, and the PowerKube Alarm uses the same technology with a built-in alarm clock.
We also got a chance to meet representatives from newly launched company Mobile Simple, which offers the ABreez cloud-based mobile app that allows hoteliers to manage their minibars without installing any additional onsite equipment. Since the service is entirely online, it can work with any type of minibar.
LG showed HM its new lineup of Pro:Centric smart TVs, which now have support for Java, Flash and HTML5 apps, as well as the ability to display content from an Android device using Miracasting. Additionally, we saw a new 55-inch HD video wall for public, meeting and event spaces that uses an IPS display for very wide viewing angles. The wall can be as large as 15x15 screens.
NAVIS launched NAVIS Reach, a new CRM solution that can interface with a property’s PMS, as well as with other external data sources, such as POS systems, spa booking systems, golf booking systems or an external list. The key differentiator for Reach is that all guest data is accessed in real time, allowing users to preschedule marketing campaigns with specific rules that can run without generating a list.
Nomadix told HM about the latest extension to its gateway software, which offers new features in access control management, monetization and interfaces. The software can now cluster gateways, resulting in a user limit that has been tested up to 40,000 at once. The company is also looking to develop class-based prioritization, so that different classes of users can receive different bandwidth allocations.
Northwind showed HM the new web-based version of their Maestro PMS, which gives Northwind the option of hosting its Maestro clients in a truly cloud-based environment. Additionally, Northwind added a series of e-learning video tutorials that hotel workers can access directly from the application, as well as new guest-engagement features that allow guests to view their folio on a tablet when checking out.
OpenWays highlighted its new BlueWays encryption technology, which allows Bluetooth-based smartphone door locks to encrypt an unpaired Bluetooth transmission. This new encryption allows the door lock to operate with Bluetooth-capable phones without pairing; it is easier on the guest, without sacrificing the security of encrypting the key code during transmission.
PAR Springer-Miller spoke with HM about its partnership with Shift4 and Global Payments on a new secure credit card-processing solution that incorporates point-to-point encryption for added security.
RoamingAround showed HM three of its new mobile tools. 360 is a service in which RoamingAround photographs a hotel’s meeting spaces and common areas and stitches the result into a virtual tour. Event Engagement allows customers at an event to quickly identify people who are entering their booth in order to provide them with targeted information, and it also has note-taking and follow-up functions. Geo-Location allows hoteliers to offer push notifications to guests based on their geographic location to drive upselling and impulse buys.
SALTO Systems displayed its AElement, XS4 and GEO networked access control solutions.
SONIFI Solutions was showing off their new lineup of custom content designed specifically for hotels based on insights gleaned from the company’s studies of the ways in which travelers consume content on the road. The content, which is generally in 10-minute chunks, includes “One World” with Deepak Chopra.
SkyTouch introduced the new Smart Welcome screen for its SkyTouch Hotel OS platform. The new welcome screen displays customized information based on the job title of the user as well as the time of day, making timely and relevant information easier to access.
TSA Solutions announced a deal with La Réserve Genève Hotel & Spa to implement the company’s front desk upselling program.
At the Twisted Pair booth, we talked about the company’s acquisition by Motorola Solutions toward the end of 2013. While Motorola had traditionally offered radio communication for hotels, with this acquisition the company is now looking at using existing LTE networks to extend the range of internal hotel communications, said James Mustarde, director of marketing at Twisted Pair.
VingCard Elsafe debuted its new Essence lock, an RFID door lock that is completely built into the structure of the door. The only visible portion of the lock is a Wi-Fi symbol hiding an access port for maintenance. Hotels can customize this symbol based on their design needs. We also saw the Orion Thermostat, which communicates with the door lock to determine when a guest is in the room, eliminating the need for a motion sensor-based EMS.
ZDirect launched its new automated responsive designer for email marketing. In the new designer, marketers design a new email and see how it will appear on desktop, tablet and mobile devices in a WYSIWYG interface. Additionally, the company launched lifetime guest value predictions, which allows marketers to calculate a guest’s lifetime spending at a hotel based on their data profile.
PCI 3.0: Five points to keep on your radar
Hotel Management sat in on a HITEC session covering the recently released 3.0 update to the PCI security standard. We’ve rounded up a list to keep top-of-mind when charting a security course moving forward.
The panel included Sean Mathena, managing consultant, Trustwave; Jeffrey Stephen Parker, VP technology, Stout Street Hospitality; and Wayne Lee, managing principal, Verizon Risk Team.
1 Compliance as “business as usual” — Overall, the new update puts a broader emphasis on PCI compliance as a continuous, yearlong process, instead of only around assessment time.
2 Risk assessment clarification — In keeping with No. 1, the language surrounding risk assessments has been clarified to call out that assessments should be performed at least once per year, after any new event that could introduce a significant new risk into the environment.
3 E-commerce redirect — Per the update, if a website redirects a customer to a gateway or other service, such as PayPal, that service is now in scope.
4 Service provider agreements — Service providers must use unique credentials for what they are doing for the hotel, and new service provider agreements must articulate what that provider is responsible for (effective July 1, 2015).
5 POS devices — Hotels must now take steps, including personnel training, to prevent their POS devices from physical tampering. Hotels must also maintain a list of devices and conduct periodic inspections (effective July 1, 2015).