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HITEC 2015 HIGHLIGHTS: Robotics, Gamification and Mobility Make Headlines

Taking place June 15-18 at the Austin Convention Center, the Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition & Conference (HITEC) offered attendees a chance to experience a combination of hospitality technology education, plus a showcase of the latest products and services from more than 300 companies. Here HT highlights a few top stories that emerged during the three-day event.
Study Reveals Next-Generation PMS Key to Maximizing Efficiency and Driving Revenue
Agilysys, Inc. has announced availability of the Upgrading to a Next-Generation Hotel Property Management System (PMS) eBook. Based on extensive research conducted by Starfleet Media, the document reveals how hotels are looking to new PMS technology to optimize efficiency, maximize revenue and profitability, and drive competitive advantage in a crowded marketplace. According to the research, achieving these goals means not only streamlining day-to-day operations across the organization by maintaining better management controls, but also gaining a deeper understanding of the unmet wants, needs and behaviors of guests through analytical reporting — and then, importantly, acting on those insights to increase guest satisfaction, loyalty, brand advocacy and retention. Key findings of the study include: 96% of respondents say that improving guest satisfaction is one of the biggest benefits one can expect to gain with the right property management system.

Maestro PMS Launches a Suite of Mobile, Big Data Solutions for Independent Hotels
Property Management System Solutions provider Maestro PMS launches a suite of new modules and systems at HITEC 2015 for independent hotel operators. Attendees are testing driving Maestro’s curbside tablet-based mobile guest management, SMS Text tools for instant handheld guest interaction, and mobile app-driven modules that simplify operations for independents.
Maestro PMS Intros New Mobile Solutions
Maestro PMS will arrive at HITEC 2015 with a suite of new mobile solutions to give independent operators a competitive edge. Maestro’s Housekeeping app, mobile tablet signature capture and curbside check-in, and mobile guest management modules will give independent operators leading edge tools to enhance guest service and productivity. Maestro will introduce new mobile, tablet-based guest management, SMS Text tools for personal guest interaction, and mobile app-driven modules that simplify operations for independents.
Gamification Elements in PMS to Motivate Performance
Newmarket International, Inc., an Amadeus company, has announced gamification elements in its release of the Room Attendant module on HotSOS Mobile to motivate employee performance and encourage consistency. The HotSOS Mobile Room Attendant Module, currently in beta release, utilizes information from the Property Management System (PMS) and guest profile to direct Room Attendants to the next room to be cleaned to get guests into their room faster. The addition of gamification creates a highly visible recognition system that is designed to drive employee productivity and quality of service by motivating staff members and reinforcing desired behaviors via rewards.
Agilysys and Travelnuts Partner to Integrate Web Booking Engine to PMS
Agilysys, Inc. and Travelnuts, Inc., a developer of innovative hotel booking engine technology, have announced a partnership agreement whereby the Travelnuts booking engine will be integrated with the Agilysys rGuest™ Stay property management system to help hotel customers improve conversion rates, drive incremental revenue and increase guest satisfaction.
Robotics Combined with Service Optimization Solution to Improve Guest Experience
Newmarket® International, Inc. has announced a partnership with Savioke Inc., the creator of autonomous robot helpers for the services industry, to bring the future of guest service to hospitality. Combining the capability of HotSOS, an enterprise hotel service optimization solution from Newmarket that automates and tracks preventive maintenance, service orders, and guest requests, with the robotic technology from Savioke, the partnership facilitates the deployment of service robots in human environments - the places people live and work.
Urban House Hotel Offers Live Social Media Space in Lobby
Urban House, the new funky 950 bed hotel in Vesterbro, Copenhagen is a mix between a trendy hotel and a happening hostel. What’s really new and cool is all the work put into a very lively and buzzing lobby and lounge combined on the whole bottom floor. This is where guests hang out, grab some food, buy a drink – and post current or earlier photos and comments on the world’s first Live Wall from Innspire. It is comprised of several huge screens, displaying a live flow of the latest social media, photos, comments and uploads from guests – inside and outside the hotel. It becomes an ever-changing mosaic of events, excursions, people, places and faces. Simply put a great way for people to connect and share.

Indra to Unveil New Enterprise Applications to Elevate Hotel Guest Personalization/Experience Management
Indra will unveil several new enterprise applications at HITEC (Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition & Conference) 2015. This includes a new solution for guests to do online check-in with the enhanced capability to choose their exact room number. Hotel chains will have the ability to limit this functionality to guests who book through specific channels, such as bookings made direct on their website. This value-add is intended to give customers an incentive to book direct, while at the same time, allowing hotel brands reduced distribution costs and the ability to own the customer interaction, according to Indra.
LG Intros Ultra HD TV
LG Electronics USA announced its 2015 line of 4K Ultra HD hotel TVs, ranging from 43- to 79-inch class sizes. The new UX970H series – available this fall in 49-, 55-, 65- and 79-inch class sizes – features the Pro:Idiom Digital Rights Management system, LG’s Pro:Centric® interactive TV platform, and embedded b-LAN. The UX340H “commercial-lite” series will be available later this summer in 43-, 49-, 55- and 65-inch class sizes. LG’s new 4K UHD hotel TVs, which display four times the resolution of Full HD, lead LG’s robust selection of cutting-edge display solutions optimized for the hospitality industry, demonstrated at the 2015 Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition & Conference.
Mobile Device Management System Facilitates Guestroom Device Functionality
Intelity, creator of the ICE (Interactive Customer Experience™) guest services platform, announces the development of a new mobile device management (MDM) system for use with its ICE Bedside in-room platform. The move positions Intelity to be able to provide more full-service solutions for hotels looking to embrace an enhanced digital in-room experience. The system enables direct manual device enrollment as well as enrollment through enterprise purchase programs, application authentication and restrictions, automatic operating system updates, automatic application updates, remote messaging to devices, location alerts, and remote lock and data wipe capabilities.  
Zeno's InnPoint Guest Experience Interface Connects Front Office to Environmental Controls
Zeno Controls is showcasing its InnPoint Guest Experience Interface, data that normally is reserved for back-of-house areas, now available for guestrooms, at HITEC 2015. InnPoint uses a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system that collects data points from anywhere in the building and displays the metrics in a programmable graphic user interface designed to optimize the visualization of the data and facilitate response if required.
LG Electronics Debuts New Hotel TV IP Set-Top Box
LG Electronics USA  introduced a new set-top box that will deliver IP (Internet Protocol) services on hotels’ existing RF networks. At the 2015 Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition & Conference LG also announced expanded Pro:Centric content streaming partners and showcased its broadened line of commercial displays for hotel rooms and public spaces. The new set-top box (model STB-3500) provides expanded networking options, enabling system providers to deliver an advanced, interactive guest room experience over the existing coaxial network. It supports B-LAN and includes a DOCSIS 3.0 modem expansion slot. Adding the STB-3500 to legacy televisions now enables the same advanced feature set of the Pro:Centric Smart IPTV/RF integrated televisions over the existing hotel RF infrastructure.
Samsung's new LYNK SINC Leverages Telkonet for Seamless Hotel Integration and Enhanced Guest Experience
Samsung Electronics America partnered with intelligent energy management company Telkonet to offer a new multi-tiered LYNK SINC 3.0 with HMS solution, on display at HITEC 2015. The new LYNK HMS is an optimized built-in TV content management solution, with benefits that include: energy management system, room management system and  in-room control.
Quadriga Launches Ultra High Definition-Ready Set Top Box
Guest technology services provider Quadriga will launch its new Ultra High Definition-ready Set Top Box (STB) with WiFi client for in-room entertainment, on-screen navigation and property presentation at HITEC 2015. The more powerful STB is touted to have a smaller form factor and more customized UI capabilities. Due to the growing trend of BYOD in the hospitality industry, the company intends for the STB to offer a dynamic IPG and streaming capabilities via the likes of Miracast.
Onity Unveils New Trillium Lock Series
Onity announced the launch of its Trillium lock series. Available in fall 2015, the new Trillium lock series features a sleeker design to complement modern hotel aesthetics and includes advanced security options. Trillium locks will be available in three primary versions: a standard mag stripe lock, RFID lock with MIFARE Plus® technology and RFID lock with DirectKey module on-board.

Onity Introduces Mobile-Key Solution
Onity announced the release of its DirectKey mobile access solution for the hospitality industry. Onity developed this product as a cost-effective, secure and easy-to-use mobile-key solution for hotels of any size.  The DirectKey system uses cloud-based key credentialing and Bluetooth® technology, allowing hotel guests to securely download their key to their smartphone through the hotel’s loyalty app for easy access to their assigned room and other access-controlled areas such as parking garages, elevators and fitness centers. The key credentials remain on the phone during their stay, so a network connection is not required to use the mobile key.

ASSA ABLOY Hospitality Mobile Access App Provides Keyless Entry Solutions for Hotels Worldwide
ASSA ABLOY Hospitality (formerly VingCard Elsafe) has introduced the ASSA ABLOY Hospitality Mobile Access App, a skinnable solution with an off-the-shelf approach that will allow hotels worldwide to implement mobile access without the need for custom app creation or complex integrations. The app works with the same secure Seos ecosystem upon which the ASSA ABLOY Hospitality Mobile Access solution was built.

Langham, Chicago Implements RFID Locks for Reliable Security
The Langham, Chicago installed Kaba Quantum RFID door locks for all 316 luxury guest rooms and suites. The Quantum locks link to Kaba’s Messenger 6000 wireless property network, which provides a smooth interface with The Langham, Chicago’s property management and energy management systems. The Messenger door lock platform with cross-property communication supports optimum security and guest convenience. Kaba provides the Saflok™ and ILCO™ brands of electronic locks
HITEC 2015 NEWS: Uniguest and Google Announce Partnership
Uniguest and Google announced a strategic partnership to deploy devices powered by Google Chrome OS in hotels across the world. Uniguest will install, set up and manage easy-to-use, secure and affordable technology devices powered by the Google Chrome operating system. These devices are conveniently managed from the centralized, web-based Chrome management platform. 

Itesso Intros Feature that Pushes Notifications to Apple Watch
Itesso intros its new Events, Tasks and Notifications feature that enhances the platform by alerting hotel staff, based on their role, of various tasks created by certain events — either through a special notification console or using the Itesso notification app for mobile devices, including the Apple Watch. For example, the system can now alert all managers on duty that a VIP is checking in and must be personally greeted. Notifications can also be set up to inform housekeeping of rooms being vacated by departing guests, so that they may be cleaned, or advise reservations staff that a booking with a special request was received from an external channel. The notification alert options are endless and relevant to every hotel department.
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