Tech Top Ten: What You Missed at IH/MR&S 2010
November 13-16 marked the return of the 95th annual International Hotel/Motel & Restaurant Show to New York City's Jacob K. Javits Center. And as with previous years, Hospitality Technology was on hand to cover the latest innovations and announcements straight from the vendor community. Here they are, broken down by technology type.
LG introduced a number of guestroom technologies last week, including its first full HD 3D LCD (model LD950C). The LD950C displays content in 1080p Full HD with a dynamic contrast ratio of 50,000:1. LG's LD950C uses polarized glasses, popularized by many 3D movie theaters, which utilize the "Real-D" circular polarization 3D technology. In addition to the LD950C, LG also introduced its first commercial LED HDTV (model LE530C), which is available in a slim 1.2-inch profile. All of the new HDTVs that were on display last week featured EcoSmart technology with multiple manual and automatic options for energy conservation.
Hotel Technologies, a provider of a variety of guestroom products including alarm clocks, cloak radios, speaker systems and lighting fixtures under the Timex and iHome brands, was on-hand to display some of its many offerings. One alarm clock, the HiH60B from iHome features a universal dock that slides forward and backward to accommodate any size iPod, from an iPod Nano to the iPod touch. Hotel Technologies has sold its products to a variety of major hotel chains around the world, including Hilton, Hyatt, Marriot, Disney, Wynn, Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons, Omni Hotels, MGM Grand, and many others.
Kaba, the provider of Saflock and ILCO electronic locks, announced that it was selected by Choice Hotels Scandinavia to deploy its locking solutions to the Comfort Xpress hotels (full details of the partnership are expected to follow shortly). Kaba will also continue to evolve the OpenWays system with Choice Hotels.
Vingcard Elsafe’s Orion, an intelligent energy management system that allows hotel properties to adjust guestroom temperatures remotely from a central location, thereby reducing energy costs as guests enter and leave the room, was the recipient of IHM&RS’ 2010 Editors’ Choice Award in the green technology category. The solution was recently installed in the 74-room Comfort Suites in Gothenburg, Nebraska. "Since energy is one of the biggest costs for hoteliers each year, we were searching for a way to save on energy costs without taking away from the guest experience," said Diana Unterseher, general manager of the Comfort Suites in Gothenburg in a recent press release. "By installing the intelligent energy management solution from VingCard Elsafe, we are able to save on costs while ensuring guest comfort. And since the system was designed to offer maximum functionality with Visionline, VingCard's wireless online system, we now have the added convenience of full-security integration."
ON PROPERTY TECHNOLOGIES
Libra OnDemand, an on-demand CRM solution built specifically for the worldwide hospitality industry on the Force.com platform, demoed its suite of CRM tools. This year marked Libra OnDemand’s first time exhibiting at IH/MR&S. The Libra OnDemand solution includes individual modules, which can be utilized separately or as a complete Web-based solution. These include: customer relationship management, loyalty management, group sales and event management, analytics, e-mail marketing, and a customer portal. The vendor’s latest innovation is a social collaboration application direct from salesforce.com (called Chatter) which offers a number of communication tools. Since Libra OnDemand is embedded on the Force.com platform, every type of record within the Libra OnDemand system is Chatter-enabled, meaning that hotel management and sales staff can easily follow relevant people, documents and applications, with the option of receiving updates whenever edits are made or statuses are changed. To date, more than 150 properties, representing 50,000 rooms in 15 countries, have implemented the solution to manage guest services, e-mail marketing and customer communications programs.
Micros Systems’ MyStayManager, an application that enables guests to interact with the Opera PMS system via iPhone to manage the details of current and future stays in real-time, was selected as the 2010 Editors’ Choice Award in the technology category. The solution was released in February 2010. The vendor was also recently honored by Casino Enterprise Management (CEM) as the winner for the category of “employee productivity and efficiency” in the inaugural Hospitality Operability Technology (HOT) Awards. Micros’ comprehensive solutions for casino operations include powerful business intelligence tools, such as casino point-of-sale systems and hotel property management systems.
Micros was not the only PMS vendor at the IH/MR&S boasting about its recent achievements. Northwind, provider of the Maestro Enterprise Property Management hotel software and reservation software solutions, announced that a growing list of its independent luxury clients recently earned top honors from Conde Nast, Forbes Travel Guide and the American Automobiles Association for their outstanding properties and service. They include: the Kenwood Inn & Spa in Sonoma, Calif., the Stephanie Inn in Cannon Beach, Ore., and The Wauwinet on Nantucket Island.
Cyberonic, provider of managed Wi-Fi hotspot systems for restaurants and hotels, was on site to talk about the benefits and features of their solutions. Top features include: 24/7 technical support, CALEA compliance, user bandwidth management, support for 802.11 a/b/g/n and more.
Incentient, a transaction services company, displayed its SmartTouch system, a glass touch-screen panel, utilizing proprietary software that empowers guests to directly control their hospitality experience from within the comfort of their rooms including: room service, valet, concierge, housekeeping, bellman, restaurants, spa, and any other amenities offered. This patent pending operating environment is currently being marketed to hotels throughout the United States. The company also offers SmartCellar, a solution that enables restaurants to display their wine lists on a small touch-screen unit as opposed to a leather-bound wine list. Some of Incentient’s clients include: Wolfgang Puck’s CUT Steakhouse at the Palazzo Las Vegas and the Hotel Nikko in San Francisco.