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2016 Top Tech Predictions

As another year comes to a close, Hospitality Technology magazine looks ahead to see what trends will be driving the hospitality industry. HT’s recently released 2016 POS Software Trends Report forecasts that operators and suppliers alike are looking to embrace disruption on several fronts, the frontrunner being mobility. Nearly every vendor in the report, which queried both restaurant operators and suppliers on 2016 plans and predictions, shared that mobile remains a major focus in 2016.
On the operator side as well, respondents rated mobile features high on their list of must-haves. Two business goals will drive most POS spending in 2016: payment security, and mobility. When asked to evaluate a list of potential business goals, all those related to mobility and payment rose to the top of the list. The number one goal for restaurant POS software upgrades in 2016 is preparing for EMV (58% of restaurants selected this option). Half (50%) said they’re seeking to enable new mobile payment options, and nearly as many (46%) said they’re looking to add mobile POS in general.  Survey takers were also asked to identify specific functionalities that have the greatest appeal for their next POS upgrade. Mobile wallet topped the list, with 58% of restaurants seeking this capability.
On the hotel side, the 2016 Lodging Technology Study reveals that 43% of hotel operators named leveraging mobile solutions for customer- facing applications a top objective for 2016. These respondents also revealed that among customer-facing technology rollouts, mobile apps for customer use is poised to reach a majority position by mid-2017, with 84% either already using, planning to upgrade or planning to add the technology. Even more telling, is that across the technologies HT measured in 2016, mobile solutions dominate the list, with half of the top ten having a mobile component.
For a snapshot of trends that will be impacting the hospitality business in 2016, HT queried several key suppliers to find out their thoughts on what developments are shaping up to affect change in the marketplace. Here are several of their responses:  
AGILYSYS: Mobility to Yield Better and Bigger Data on Guests
The trend to customer facing technology will accelerate, resulting in growing investments in mobile apps, kiosks and other guest-facing terminals. Self-service options for guests will expand, and mobile interactions will become more common place. This will also result in an increase in the types and volume of guest data that is collected and used to further personalize the guest experience. For those properties that are aggressive in deploying these technologies, the results are likely to include improved customer loyalty, increased wallet share and a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
PARTECH: Use Technology to Improve Food Safety in the New Year
More than 48 million Americans are affected by food poisoning annually. New federal regulatory compliance laws around the safe handling and holding of foods require everybody handling food for public consumption to have proof of a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) plan. The new laws take effect in 2016, making it the year of food safety and using technology to improve food safety measures. Internet of Things (IoT) technology will allow digitized solutions to replace pen and paper, improving and redefining the food safety processes and creating newly required audit trails.  By connecting directly to the cloud, automated solutions will provide intelligent, checklist-based logging, monitoring and reporting and proof that irregularities were spotted instantly and corrective actions were taken. Recent food borne illness outbreaks highlight the need for more stringent solutions that focus solely on food safety. Businesses carry responsibility towards their customers and cannot afford to take risks anymore.
TASK RETAIL TECHNOLOGIES: CRM and Loyalty Drive Customer-Facing Solutions
Now that 2015 is over and most organizations have EMV behind them, we will see hospitality technology show up late to the “omnichannel” trend.  For hospitality this means focusing on their business beyond the counter and allowing consumers to access their brand and systems in a way that makes the most sense for their lifestyle.  We have already seen KIOSK 2.0, online ordering and delivery play a big part in consumer-facing solution but many of these are disparate by nature and what will really bring these technologies together will be strong CRM and loyalty implementations.  CRM and loyalty will then allow for proper analysis of consumer behaviors and targeting of these consumers in a meaningful way.
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