Back from LA, read the first post HITEC reviews, sorted out my own experiences and notes and even got my inner clock to work again on an European level.
What a week, what an experience – this is more or less the tenor of each and every comment I read so far and it really is the best short form description. Nonetheless, with some time in between some maybe less obvious things/patterns come to mind.
First, if the number of vendors is any indication for which segment is booming then Hotel TV and mobile, guest facing solutions are leading the pack. Following the last 5 HITECs it is really amazing to watch how many have entered those field. And it is at least as amazing to see how many of them have already left that field again.
Some of the older ones struggle(d) with debt loads, some had quite strange business models, some didn’t have their technology together, some focused just on a niche within the niche (eg Apple users) and for some I guess the whole thing sounded just more easy than it is 😉 Fact is, although each year there is a long list of vendors, there are still only very, very few ones which have been continuously taking part at HITEC for at least some years now.
We see this with some mixed feelings to be honest. On the one hand each vendor increases somehow the awareness for this kind of technology and its possibilities. But on the other hand, each vendor leaving again leaves also potentially unsatisfied customers, which doesn’t help anyone.
So having a look at the continuity of the market presence in the past years might be not the worst idea – given the technology and business model is cutting edge, which should be a precondition after all.
Second, the demand for bringing guests content to the big screen in the room is exploding. The traction OTT services gained in the consumer market over the last 2-3 years is now resonating within hotel rooms. And more and more it becomes a not only US but internationally important topic. Several conference sessions, two articles in the recent HITEC Issue of Hospitality Upgrade and first real world examples of installations had this specific function as a common line.
The logic is clear: no channel line up, no comprehensive (and expensive) VoD offer can compete with the individual preferences of each and every guest for specific content, to which they have access through their smart devices nowadays. And it is the preference for those specific content, which brings them to watch it on tiny screens with even tinier speakers instead of those wonderful 42“ TV in the room. Having now the technology available to stream this content to the big screen in an easy way really is a game changer.
Speaking of a game changer: especially for an European football fan it was amazing to see how the interest for this game (the one played actually with a ball) has risen over the years in the US. With the world-cup as a trigger and an US team doing very well there seems to be the next huge market in development – for pay-tv providing live sports that is.