After 3 Quarters of the year are done and HTNG Middle East is well digested it might be time to do a quick tour through various events, developments and/or news from the technology world which somehow come and stick to mind:
Sounds strange, but is an almost logical result of the “Internet of things”-Thing. First, more and more “things” like AC, lights, Curtains etc. are networked and controllable via IP – eg. by a tablet provided for the guest. Second, many of the manufacturers of those “things” are quite newbies in the IT field. And third, hotels are still a quite interesting target for Hackers. So it actually is no great wonder that it didn’t take very long until the first Headline “Here is how easy it could be for Hackers to control your hotel rooms” showed up. Obviously the job of securing the IT environment doesn’t get easier when more and more doors are added.
Will wearables like the lately presented apple watch be the hotel room key of the future? Quite certainly, but also quite certainly not the only one. My guess is it will be an additional option and actually I’m grateful for every additional option which prevents me of forgeting those keycards in the room and therefore not beeing able to enter the room without going back to reception. But similar like smartphones all those tools will be for yeeeears to come no replacement for the traditional keycards.
Location based services
Triangulation, iBeacons, NFC – the technologies used to provide location based services are getting more and more widespread and popular. And in combination with the increasing number of devices to make use of those services it is quite logical that the number of applications is increasing too. From wayfinding at airports to promotions at retail stores it now makes its way into hotels and resorts.
I guess because the Internet came out of the science world, it used to stay open for everybody to be used in the same way. Not on the “consuming” side, where you always could have different speeds for different fees. But as a mean of transportation of bits it was a rare example of perfect equality in this world. A small start-up somewhere had the same options available than Unilever, General Motors or – to be more in the same field – Google and Amazon. Exactly those equality or neutrality which brought up a lot of innovation is now under risk. The big Telcos/ISPs who own the highways are about to differentiate and charge more for faster transportation and – who knows – influence in one way or another what should be delivered faster and what not. Overall not the best idea (besides for them) so please guys, define the rules for them to stay neutral!
And btw, discussing about those things with IT Seniors like Joe Tesfai at a Hotel IT Conference is one more prove that HTNG is doing a great Job when bringing the industry together in order to talk about not only hospitality IT details but also about the big picture. I like.