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Use Mobility to Enhance Digital Signage

Imagine a hotel experience where, as a guest walks into any resort, his or her mobile device will be able to provide accurate information regarding any and all of the offered products and services. Guests are already beginning to use their phones to enjoy automatic check-in; the next step will be to add GPS capabilities to guide them to guestrooms, pools, restaurants, and the spa. They could even locate other family members around the resort.

In large convention hotels, mobile devices will be able to guide visitors to the convention area and direct them to meeting rooms and specific exhibitor booths with pin-point accuracy. As guests pass digital reader boards, smartphones will be able to communicate with the signage and provide even more personalized information about a stay. This can include convention schedules, speaker information, and seminar locations — anything guests might need to know will be available right at their fingertips.

By contrast, in most of today’s hotels, guests run a gauntlet that contributes to the first impression of any large resort. First, find the registration desk (sometimes not at street level), then stand online to check-in. Next, to find the guestroom they must traverse a large lobby area, likely walk down a hallway and around a corner before finding the elevator bank. Then there is a choice of which of the three or four corridors to take. After getting settled in a guestroom comes the hunt to find the meeting and convention area, spa, dining alternatives or pool area.

Next-gen mobility allows guests to control digital signage content
Digital signage is already being used to help attract revenue, provide relevant information and guide and help customers find their way within a venue. The technology has evolved to be more interactive with bi-directional communication. The customer can control the content on the reader board directly with touch or a device such as a smartphone. Twitter feeds and Facebook posts enable live pictures to be streamed from local events.
Appealing to and keeping the attention of the audience is vital. Mobile devices connect with digital signs via apps, push notifications, NFC, blue tooth, audibles, texting, emails, and QR codes. Some other next-generation strategies include indoor geo-location services. Reader boards have also been used for wayfinding for a few years now.

Mobile tech lets venue lead guests to an enhanced experience
As mobile devices become more prevalent, it makes perfect sense that mobile integration is the next step. I foresee hotels becoming mobile operators. As guests walk into a venue, there will be a geo-fencing, multi-service, and venue-
specific discovery tool. A standard, OS and app agnostic-based application will allow the hotel operator to determine what the mobile devices will know and see. This new discovery tool will turn the mobile device into a form of digital signage. The guest will have a form of convenient communication with the resort to ensure every stay gets better, all onsite needs are ascertained and met, and the guest gets the best possible experience.

As the property seeks to push content to guests, smartphones are becoming an effective communication channel and an extension of on-property digital signage. The ability to push content based on guest location will enable timely discount offers or other relevant information that now appear on digital signs and make them available on mobile devices as well. Mobile integration is the next key step to help provide convenience and more importantly, personalized service.

What was your first job?
Dishwasher/bus boy.

Who inspires you?
Innovative market leaders in technology.

What are your hobbies?
IT. I actually like to play with various electronic gadgets, i.e. smart watches, tablets, new devices etc., and sports like soccer, volley ball, rock climbing and swimming.

Sage Advice:  
Work on technology that aims to leave our world a better place than when we arrived.

What is one other job that you would like to try?
I would love to R&D green energy.

What is one goal that you would like to achieve in your life?
Come up with technology to end world hunger.

What is your favorite book?
Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell.

What is your favorite vacation spot?
St. Regis Bahia Beach, PR.

Chet Patel is the complex director of IT at the Swan & Dolphin Resort. He served on the Board of Directors for HFTP South Florida Chapter (Fort Lauderdale & Miami) 2010-2011. Patel will be presenting a roundtable discussion entitled, “Using Mobile Devices and Digital Reader Boards to Enhance the Guest Experience,” at Digital Signage Expo 2015 ( on Wednesday, March 11, 2015 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. 


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