I just returned from the recent HTNG Infrastructure & Device Forum Meeting in Berlin and I have to admit it was (once again) a real pleasure – and there are various reasons for it.
First, this Meetings offer the best opportunity to challenge ones own thoughts with some of the most experienced minds in this industry, both from hotel and vendor side. And, btw it is very reassuring when somebody as a conclusion of a debate comes up with suggestions for the future and you can proudly state “well, that is what we actually already did” like it is the case with our chromecast integration!
Second, it is a perfect showcase about how complex technology is nowadays. If one digs just a little bit below the surface of different topics you very quickly recognize how many challenges exist in almost every aspect of tech-infrastructure in hotels. Various digital rights management systems (multiplied with various TV & STB Technologies), BYOD (Airplay, Miracast, Apps, Dongles), Fibre to the room, new WIFI standard 802.11ac, door locks with RFID or smartphones used as keys and the list goes on…
Third, HTNG is the only place (at least as far as I know) which offers a platform for working together as an industry. The whole spirit of the group is very special. In many industries you have the vendors on one side and the potential customers on the other. Not here. At least those participating at HTNG are quite aware of the fact that given the always increasing challenges (see above) the best way to handle all this is to work together as close as possible. If it wouldn’t exist already, it would be right about time to invent HTNG!
Last but not least it is fun too. Amongs many others, I had a funny discussion with a colleague from the hotel side in which we discovered our quite similar observations about fashion in the TV industry: back in the days of CRT TVs there wasn’t a lot of innovation going on. TVs had a lifecycle in Hotels often well beyond 8-10 years and still looked not that much different than newer models. Then Flat screens appeard on the scene and everything changed. From technology (HD ready, Full HD), to size and design – after at least 3 years the TV put in a hotel room looked quite old fashioned. Still working but well, old fashioned. So both of us really enjoyed the fact, that lately this seemed to change back again (if you put aside those smart TV features, that is). HD is a given, 4k due to lack of content still not necessary for a foreseeable time, sizes of 50″ and above big enough since the size of normal hotel rooms sets the frame for what is the possible distance to the screen, and fashion? What on earth can be changed in regard of design when there is nothing left except the display? They are as thin as they can get and the borders are barely visible so there is no way how they can go out of fashion right? Well, no, we were both wrong. Now they do this:
They bend it. Flat display? Out of fashion again.