Hospitality and Entertainment Applications
Push-to-talk over cellular (PoC) has already impacted wireless communications and hardware development with the introduction of Bluetooth equipped two-way radios, transitional gateways for hybrid systems and smart phone adoption. Recently, we’ve seen a growing trend toward the use of mobile messaging apps among hotels, casinos, stadiums and other venues. Plus, with the addition of PTT accessories, which enhance audio clarity, offer hands-free convenience and discreet communications, more hospitality companies are jumping on the PoC bandwagon.
The Internet of Things (IoT) has been the impetus behind most wireless innovations and will continue to be until another network technology surpasses it or, as some may fear, it reaches maximum capacity. Mobile apps are being developed daily to fulfill sector-specific needs and are easily accessible over internet (Wi-Fi) or broadband networks, as well as cellular, allowing extended reach and consistent connectivity.
Additionally, PoC is a more affordable communications method than traditional land mobile systems, requiring no infrastructure or major equipment, which means serious savings to hospitality businesses. Thus, end users are hungry for devices optimized to support these new mobile applications.
Although trends indicate that every job will eventually have a dedicated application, today’s cellphones, iPods or tablets may not always fit the utilization. Manufacturers are already developing app-specific devices and unique communications accessories designed for individual departments. For example, Housekeeping, Food/Beverage, and Front Desk might need a wired earpiece, while, engineering may want hands free with wireless Bluetooth headsets instead.
Lately, new software technologies are acquired as fast as they’re launched. The consolidation trend will continue, as demonstrated by Motorola’s recent purchase of Kodiak’s PTT platform. To stay relevant, manufacturers must be able to react quickly.
Another way manufacturers can stay relevant is to develop joint solutions with other companies to meet end user mandates. LMR radio and smart phone makers are already working with PTT app firms and network providers to keep up with PoC demand. Synergistic partnerships to share the load, or systems integration alliances to compete for new business, will continue to spread among hardware companies.
The trend toward replacing two-way radios with smart phones has been on the rise. Still, some remain reluctant to convert. Consequently, manufacturers are creating devices that look exactly like radios on the outside, but are really 4G phones on the inside. It won’t be long before this transition becomes commonplace.
Ultimately, as software and network improvements prove to enhance safety, productivity and response time, you can bet hospitality and entertainment businesses of all types will convert to the newly developed hardware devices that support them.
Doing more with less is an ongoing trend. Hardware devices that control multiple communication outlets at once, yet are smaller than ever before will soon emerge. Pryme is working on a ring-sized Bluetooth Low Energy (BLTE) button that controls everything, including PTT (App. activation), phone calling, channel selection (App. Groups and Channels) and even music programs.
Bluetooth technologies also offer similar sensors to Wi-Fi beacons and near-field technologies that communicate with smart devices at strategic access points to display individualized messages. Some hotels are even experimenting with technologies that send keys directly to smartphones for guests who want to skip the check-in process.
Venues are finding more and more ways to incorporate this kind of location information into communications and marketing, as well as to establish deeper customer relationships and more personalized service.
Ultimately, it’s the end-users that drive future applications, which in turn inspire hardware and accessory innovations.