How to invest in guest facing technologies

Great times for gadget lovers, not so great for hotel owners and management companies.

For everyone who has some interest in technology and gadgets the times we live in are a real blessing. Internet disrupts industry after industry and offers fertile ground for applications unknown only a few years before and already widely used today.

Making calls is only one of many features of a phone nowadays and complete new tech categories appear on the landscape – a tablet is no longer only something to serve drinks for example.

As a result a technology interested middle class household gathers more computing power than what the Apollo mission had when they flew to the moon.

Really nice times if you have some interest and the money to afford new toys you like and keep pace with the ever shrinking replacement cycles.

On the other hand, if you have to decide on the long run for a whole hotel property where every room resembles a household with very different inhabitants from day to day: OH MY GOD!

At least if you position yourself in a category where the provision of the absolute basics isn’t enough things get very quick difficult. That’s why we try to compile our thoughts in some blog posts and to give some hints about what we think may be the the best approaches when deciding about guest facing technology like Hotel IPTV, Internet access or integrating smart devices.

First let’s have a look at some of the reasons for the increased complexity:

Disruptive technologies

After years of friendship, some ups and many downs, Internet and TV happily announced their engagement at last. Sure, they will marry but unfortunately they leave us still unclear about the details – how will their future look like?

wedding1

Will there be some sort of integrated Smart TVs produced by the big CE players? If yes, which of all those proprietary different platforms (LG/Sharp/Philips Net TV, Samsung Smart TV, Sony Bravia, Panasonic Vieracast to name but a few) will be the winner?

Or will the marriage come through intelligent Boxes? If yes, which one (Boxee, Roku, Western Digital etc.)?

Or will the more internet affine partner in this relationship wear the pants? If yes, who (Google TV/Android, Apple TV/iOS, Microsoft xbox live)?

As a matter of fact we know little about this marriage, however going further we have no idea about the upcoming kids. It will be interesting to see which innovations/applications will be developed based on this infrastructure. “Only” better/more direct access to content (speak Netflix, Youtube etc.)? Also Skype via TV? Social TV with or without companion screen device? And on and on it goes…

Those are interesting and disruptive times for whole industries where traditional players like the CE manufacturers all of a sudden compete with new rivals who want to secure their piece of the new to be sliced cake. And if those rivals are Google, Apple, Microsoft there is something to think about. There is very much going on, yet so little known about the result. That is exactly the kind of situation one doesn’t like if you have to decide on the long run.

And that is just the result of unknown details coming from the combination of TV and Internet. Have I mentioned 3D? Ultra High Definition? OLED?

Shrinking replacement cycles at consumer homes

Do you still remember those days when you had 1 TV in your household and it was the one in the living room? Back then it was not too difficult to exceed my expectations when I came into a hotel room. Afterall, air conditioning, Satellite TV, Video on Demand – I saw it first in a hotel room.

We all know those days are long gone and some argue that one should try to establish that experience once more. In short provide a better, more futuristic equipment in the hotel rooms than those the guests have at home.

That is a very tough one to say the least. Digital technology plays an increasingly important part in our lifes, innovation and adoption is faster and faster. All of this resulting in more devices and shorter replacement cycles, consumer spendings for consumer electronics are on the rise.

If you buy a TV today it will last for 15 years up? Yeah, maybe still works fine in some secondary room in your house like a study, guestroom or the like, typically as the last one in the row of then 4 or 5 screens in the house. But in your hotel room? No way.

Cutting edge, future proof technology today, hopelessly outdated tomorrow…

New categories evolving

Apples iPad established a whole new category of technology: the tablet device. Already widely adopted the prospects for its successors and Android cousins are even better.

And since it is quite perfectly suited to present Hotel services and the like one could think about to provide one in every guest room. Or at least how to integrate those, which are brought along by guests.

And what about connectivity panels? They are still a quite new part of in-room technology – no wonder, what would you have wanted to connect a few years back? And although new, there is already some talk how long we will really need them. Doesn’t already today everybody want to connect wireless?

One last change: who would have ever thought that air-condition and lighting would be part of the tasks of the IT team in a hotel opening?

So in the middle of all those disrupting technologies, shrinking replacement cycles and new categories we will try to get some order in this ever growing chaos and concentrate on the most important parts in the upcoming posts :

  • Hotel IPTV
  • Internet access
  • Integration of smart devices

.

2017-05-19T08:28:56+00:00 By |

About the Author: