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HITEC Showcases the Latest Tech Innovations for Hospitality Industry

With the ever-changing nature of the hospitality industry, hotel operators are always seeking ways to improve operations and offer superior services to their guests. The hotel technology community recently gathered in Minneapolis, MN, for the Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference (HITEC®). More than 4800 hospitality professionals from 45 countries attended the conference to network and see the latest and most effective ways to streamline business and increase revenue. Here we recap some of the major news that was making headlines throughout the event.

LodgeNet Interactive Rebranded as SONIFI Solutions
New Business-to-Business strategy puts the spotlight on customers' brands. LodgeNet Interactive Corporation, which was acquired by private equity firm Colony Capital in March, announced during HITEC that it has been rebranded as SONIFI Solutions. The move is part of a broader strategy intended to give more visibility and control to the company’s hotel and healthcare customers, as it shifts its business model to work in partnership with those it serves.

Princess Cruises Engages Guests with Infotainment Integration
Princess Cruises has partnered with UIEvolution, Inc. to deploy the technology platform Guest Evolution on the new-generation Royal Princess, the newest ship in the Princess fleet that set sail on its main voyage June 16, 2013. UIEvolution's Guest Evolution delivers the world's first HTML5 based TV solution to passenger and crew TVs, as well as to digital signs throughout the ship. Features for passengers and crew on the maiden voyage include live TV, ship channels, free-to-guest video and music on demand.

Samsung Delivers New Lineup of LED Smart TVs; Announces Strategic Alliances With Key Providers
Samsung Electronics America debuted its 2013 lineup of LED Smart TVs for the hospitality industry at HITEC 2013. Samsung showcased a variety of LED TVs and software solutions for the hospitality market, including the new 890 Series LED TVs, which feature its LYNC™ SINC content management system.

UIEvolution Campaign Manager Brings Digital Signage to Guest Devices
UIEvolution’s Campaign Manager is a new interactive platform that connects digital signage, in-room TVs and guest mobile technology. Engineered by UIEvolution, a company with a proven track record creating rich, cross-platform native experiences across connected devices, Campaign Manager enables a richer guest experience by providing them with increased options and versatility.

iTesso's Mobile Self-Service Solution Puts Hotel Services in Guests' Hands
iTesso has unveiled a self-service mobile solution that enables guests to select their own guestroom, as well as providing a host of other convenient benefits to both the guest and hotelier. The i4Guests solution integrates with the hotel PMS to display a real-time floorplan showing all available rooms-those that are vacant and clean-of the type reserved. Guests can also view vacancies within other room types, with offers to upgrade for a designated fee. This allows hotels to upsell the guest, creating opportunity for additional revenue. When completing the check-in process on a mobile device, including a secure payment transaction, the guest receives a personalized QR code for expedited keycard pickup at a lobby kiosk.

iBAHN Launches Advanced Cloud-Based Network
iBAHN has announced the launch of Mercury - its advanced cloud-based platform. iBAHN made the announcement from HITEC 2013. The introduction of the cloud-based Mercury platform reinforces iBAHN’s commitment to R&D and underlines its status as an industry leader by providing customers with the scalability, reliability and flexibility required to manage ever-increasing bandwidth demand. The new network architecture puts network management power into hotels’ hands and gives operations managers and IT staff the ability to control network speed and manage guests’ connectivity demands in real-time and at a detailed level.

LG Electronics Debuts Guest-Centric Solutions
LG Electronics USA unveiled two new series of commercial-grade LED TVs featuring the latest Pro:Centric® platform, designed to deliver an enhanced, interactive guest-room experience. New models in the premium LP870H Pro:Centric Smart IPTV series are ultra-slim edge-lit LED TVs, while LP645H Pro:Centric Direct LED TV models are designed for value-minded properties. Both series include Full HD display capabilities, interactive services support and LG EcoSmart™ technology.

Intelity Intros Premium Content Model
With its official release date fast approaching, new information is available about ICE Sapphire, the new guest services platform from hospitality technology firm Intelity. The company has announced that it is introducing a Premium Content model that will be available for clients that sign up for ICE Sapphire.

Panasonic Intros Solutions to Give Hotels Competitive Edge and Improve Guest Experience
Panasonic debuted a wide range of new integrated business technologies at HITEC in Minneapolis, MN, June 25-27. A new line of high definition LED HDTVs for in-room and public area entertainment, the LRU60 Series, will make its HITEC debut alongside new rugged tablet computers, IP security cameras and surveillance systems, professional displays and projectors as well as new cloud-based communication systems.

Hoteliers Leverage BYOD with the Power of Mobile Master Key
Employees can now utilize their mobile devices for a multitude of hotel tasks. OpenWays is enabling hoteliers to enhance their BYOD strategies by equipping the mobile hotel workforce — primarily the engineering, housekeeping and security departments — with a Mobile Master Key for secure and efficient access to guestrooms and the general property.

iRiS Unveils Multi-Brand App to Make Booking Process Smoother
Multi-tenanted brand app launched at HITEC 2013 as iRiS takes customer engagement to new level. iRiS Software Systems has unveiled its new Brand Application aimed at multi-tenanted hotel, apartment and cruise line organizations.

AutoClerk Partners with Shift4 to Create Data-Free PMS Solution
New solution prevents both front-end and back-end entry of cardholder data in to the PMS with virtually no risk of data breach. Shift4 Corporation and property management system (PMS) provider AutoClerk, introduced a card-data-free PMS integration at HITEC. AutoClerk’s myHMS3® is a Web-hosted PMS, meaning the whole solution exists in the cloud and none of the data is stored or processed in the hotel's physical environment.

hotel SystemsPro Announces Partnership with Social Tables
Diagramming tools create function layouts, seating charts, meal assignments; hotel SystemsPro will launch second new sales product at HITEC.  hotel SystemsPro has announced a partnership with Social Tables, a Washington, DC-based hospitality software company. Under the agreement, hotel SystemsPro has fully integrated Social Tables’ advanced web-based event diagramming and planning tools into hotel SalesPro Sales and Catering System. Easy-to-use tools allow meeting planners to quickly create attractive and flexible function layouts, seating charts, meal assignments, and more.

Agilysys Introduces Insight Mobile Manager Application
Agilysys, Inc. has introduced the Agilysys Insight Mobile Manager application. Insight Mobile Manager is a mobile dashboard application that allows hotel managers to view key information about the property quickly and easily from a mobile device. The application contains panels of strategically organized data elements, including arrivals, departures, VIPs, total guests, rooms, house status, housekeeping, revenue, groups, group rooms remaining and reservation summary. Users simply tap on each panel to drill down and obtain more detailed information.

ZDirect Pioneers Hotel Marketing Automation
ZDirect is radically changing the eMarketing landscape by leveraging the widely adopted and highly successful practice of marketing automation and customizing it for hotels. Dubbed "Hotel Marketing Automation," ZDirect is unveiling new tools used in conjunction with its ZMail® electronic communication platform that will help hoteliers reduce costs and optimize their limited resources. Automated workflow processes replace routine tasks performed throughout the day, freeing up time so the marketing staff can be more efficient.

Indra Unveiling All-In-One, Core-System Solution
Indra, SAP’s co-innovation partner for the hospitality industry, is unveiling the future of hotel technology at HITEC, June 25 to 27 at the Minneapolis (Minn.) Convention Center, in Booth No. 111. Through Indra's Travel Management Suite (TMS), brands and management companies can experience core system convergence using a seamless, uniform platform for all property needs that drives accurate guest information from all parts of the operation in real-time and from a single database.

Runtriz Drives Innovation that Enhances Guest Mobile Experience
At HITEC 2013, Runtriz introduced its latest innovations enabling hotels to engage guests in new ways. In 2007, technology experts who love to travel founded Runtriz to provide hotels a better way to connect with guests to alleviate their greatest pain point… waiting on hold or in line for “great” customer service. Months later Runtriz’ founders launched the world’s first iPhone hotel at the Malibu Beach Inn along the Pacific Ocean in California (Google it!) to solve this problem…and many others.

MokiMobility and Uniguest Unveil Strategic Partnership
MokiMobility, an emerging purposed mobile device management start-up, unveiled details behind a strategic partnership with Uniguest Inc., a total content and device management leader, to collaborate on leveraging mobile and tablet technologies to enhance the experience of hospitality consumers across the globe.

Shift4 Addresses EMV Migration at HITEC
Shift4Corporation offers ways for operators to reduce time and costs involved in developing EMV-ready solutions. Shift4 Corporation, has issued an open letter to merchants and payments industry players highlighting Shift4’s ability to drastically reduce the time and costs involved in developing and certifying EMV-ready solutions for the U.S. market.

MICROS Releases OPERA Mobile
New solution extends key front-desk, room management and maintenance functions to mobile devices. MICROS Systems, Inc. has announced the release of the new MICROS OPERA Mobile solution. Developed with a colorful, vibrant, and user-intuitive interface, OPERA Mobile provides essential functionality at hoteliers’ fingertips, allowing them to check-in and check-out guests, organize housekeeping activities, and manage task sheets and room maintenance from virtually anywhere while using a mobile device.  

Telkonet, Inc. Showcases Future of Hospitality Energy Management Technology
Company's new generation of integrated technology is the EcoCentral Virtual Engineer cloud-based command center. Telkonet, Inc. introduced and demonstrated its new EcoCentral Virtual Engineer cloud-based command center at HITEC 2013. HITEC, at the Minneapolis Convention Center in Minneapolis, MN, June 25th – 27th. EcoCentral Virtual Engineer, the new command center for Telkonet’s EcoSmart energy management solution, offers a wealth of convenient features to maximize energy efficiency, operational efficiency, and guest satisfaction.

New Products from Four Winds Interactive Boast Advanced Reporting and More
Four Winds Interactive (FWi) features KINECT interactivity, new advanced reporting capabilities, interactive tabletops, mobile integration advancements and award-winning client portfolio.

Cox Business Hospitality WiFi to Launch Across National Footprint
Cox Business has announced Hospitality WiFi will be available across the company’s national footprint later this summer. A managed WiFi service for hotels and large multi-location organizations, Cox Business Hospitality WiFi offers a world-class WiFi experience with a professional network design, integrated wireless network monitoring and guest troubleshooting and support.

iBAHN Launches Advanced Cloud-Based Network at HITEC
iBAHN has announced the launch of Mercury - its advanced cloud-based platform. iBAHN made the announcement from HITEC 2013, the world's largest hospitality technology show. Mercury network architecture provides scalability, product reliability and flexibility to manage increasing bandwidth demand.  The introduction of the cloud-based Mercury platform reinforces iBAHN’s commitment to R&D and underlines its status as an industry leader by providing customers with the scalability, reliability and flexibility required to manage ever-increasing bandwidth demand.

FCS i-Guest Teams OpenWays to Drive Mobile Strategy for Hotels
i-Guest with Mobile Key, the result of a partnership between OpenWays and FCS Computer, is enhancing mobile travel experiences for guests and improving bottom lines for hotels. FCS i-Guest, the guest self-service mobile application, now features OpenWays' Mobile Key embedded inside, making for an incredibly convenient, personal and stress-free guest arrival process.

Shell Vacations Drives Revenue with Big Data
Shell Vacations LLC, a Wyndham Vacation Ownership subsidiary and one of the largest independent vacation ownership clubs and property-management groups in North America, is reaping big rewards from a survey pilot launched in cooperation with ZDirect and Arizona State University. The Shell Vacations Hospitality 2013 Logit Study used predictive analysis to determine consumers' willingness to pay for vacation rental attributes like additional bedrooms and kitchens; based on guest demographic. The task exceeded expectations, with 10,000 recipients responding and $100,000 generated in room revenues.
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