More Than 25 Companies Are Developing Solutions
Based on Framework;
Leading Hoteliers and Foodservice Operators in
NEW YORK, Nov. 15, 2004 - Today at the International Hotel/Motel &
Restaurant Show, Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) announced Smarter Hospitality,
a comprehensive solutions framework designed to help lodging and foodservice
organizations dramatically improve the way they interact with their guests
and operate while meeting the expectations of digitally enabled guests
Leveraging Microsoft's core strengths in consumer, industry-specific
enterprise technologies, the initiative is composed of three key areas
-- the Smarter Guest Experience, Smarter Service and Smarter Operations
-- focused on providing a personalized guest experience, improving work-force
productivity and streamlining operations.
Microsoft(R) Smarter Hospitality is built on proven Microsoft platforms
and offers comprehensive solutions through its industry partners to address
the current market pressures hospitality operators face -- including the
dissipation of brand loyalty, increased competition, employee attrition,
changing customer expectations, and outdated and disparate technology systems
-- while providing a path for simple and affordable integration of future
"Smarter Hospitality is designed to address key industry pain points
and future innovations by making technology work smarter to enhance overall
operations and improve guest experiences," said Brian Scott, general manager
for the Retail & Hospitality Industry Unit at Microsoft. "By working
closely with our solution partners, we are able to provide a framework
honed to meet the specific needs of the hospitality industry, where the
delivery of an engaging and empowering guest experience is a priority."
Smarter Hospitality was launched with the support of more than 25 technology
companies that are committed to delivering solutions and services that
align with Microsoft's vision and use the Microsoft .NET Framework, the
programming model for building Extensible Markup Language (XML) Web services
and applications. The supporting companies include Ameranth Inc., BlueCube
Software Inc., Eatec Corp., Epicor Software Corp., Experticity, HyperActive
Technologies Inc., InfoGenesis, Infosys Technologies Ltd., Intel Corporation,
IntelliGauge Inc., Intervoice Inc., KoolConnect Technologies Inc., MenuLink
Computer Solutions Inc., Meridian Systems, MP2 Solutions, NCR Corporation,
Newmarket International Inc., ontap4u Inc., ProClarity Corp., QSR Automations
Inc., Radiant Systems Inc., Sysrepublic Ltd., ThinkNet Inc., Timelox AB,
Unisys Corp. and Wincor Nixdorf Inc.
In addition, leading companies in the lodging and foodservice industries
-- such as Best Western International; CKE Restaurants Inc.; Destination
Hotels & Resorts; Hyatt International Corp.; Jack in the Box Inc.;
Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group; Marcus Hotels and Resorts, a division of
The Marcus Corp.; Marriott International, Inc.; MGM Mirage; and Outrigger
Hotels & Resorts, a division of Outrigger Enterprises Inc. -- are supporting
Microsoft's vision and strategy for its Smarter Hospitality initiative.
Strong Commitment to the Hospitality Industry
Microsoft is working with leading independent software vendors, systems
integrators and hardware vendors that are aligning their hospitality industry
solutions with Smarter Hospitality. Coupled with the $6.8 billion in research
and development Microsoft has invested this year in technologies that fulfill
its evolving vision for the future of computing, this framework addresses
the market pressures that hospitality operators face and the business and
technology trends that drive them.
The Microsoft Smarter Hospitality initiative is built on open industry
standards such as Web services and XML. In addition, Microsoft will be
working closely with the OpenTravel(TM) Alliance, an organization chartered
with driving standards for global travel industry e-commerce, to improve
the use of technology in the hospitality and travel industries. Because
of its focus on standards, Smarter Hospitality drives simplicity, consistency
and true choice throughout the hardware and software ecosystem.
Microsoft also is an active participant in Hotel Technology-Next Generation
(HTNG), the premier technology solutions association in the hospitality
industry designed to bring open solution sets that address specific business
problems to the hospitality market; Microsoft is part of several HTNG workgroups
focused on Microsoft technology, Web services and specifications for the
future of hotel guest room technology.
"HTNG supports Microsoft Smarter Hospitality as an initiative that
is consistent with and aligned with our objective of identifying and building
specific technology solutions that will deliver value to hospitality organizations,"
said Douglas Rice, executive director of Hotel Technology-Next Generation.
Industry Customer Support
"We are looking forward to a constructive and innovative relationship
to enhance our ability to service our customers of today and the future."
-- Gebhard Rainer, Vice President of Hotel Finance and Technology,
"It's great to see a major technology vendor like Microsoft step up
to the plate in support of the hospitality industry."
-- Nick Price, Chief Information officer and Chief Technology
Officer, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group
"The Smarter Hospitality initiative demonstrates Microsoft's commitment
and its focus on providing value to our industry through technology."
-- Glenn Bonner, CIO, MGM Mirage
Industry Partner Support
"No single company could deliver 21st Century Concierge's operational
vision and totality of features. We needed to leverage and maximize the
power of our strategic partners and are very appreciative of the exceptional
response and support from Microsoft, Intel, Dell and Motion Computing.
Leveraging the Microsoft development environment and deployment platforms
enabled Ameranth to deliver this revolutionary product advancement in a
fraction of the time required for products not leveraging the Microsoft
architecture and tools."
-- Keith McNally, CEO, Ameranth Wireless Inc.
"Nextprise offers hospitality providers a huge opportunity to improve
the guest experience and the bottom line. It opens a whole new dimension
of cost-effective 'anytime-anywhere' customer service, where multilingual
CSRs can sell additional services while serving guests as needed."
-- D.L. Baron, President, Experticity
"With over 20 years of voice automation expertise, Intervoice is pleased
to continue working alongside Microsoft in such innovative initiatives
such as Smarter Hospitality to help enhance customer service while reducing
costs. Companies can now take advantage of solutions that suit the
needs of both the large enterprises and service providers as well as those
of small to medium-sized businesses in the travel and hospitality sector."
-- Bob Ritchey, President, Intervoice
"We believe that enriching next-generation technology and content are
key to capturing this space. By integrating the digital entertainment proficiency
of KoolConnect with Microsoft's software expertise and the world-class
support capabilities of Unisys, we ensure that tomorrow's guest will benefit
from a richer, fuller and more guest-friendly multimedia experience."
-- Eran Segev, President, KoolConnect Technologies
"There are plenty of specific application providers that exist for the
retail and hospitality industry, but MP2 offers all the right components
together to construct a complete mobility solution. We have the equipment,
applications and subject-matter expertise to rapidly transform information
and activity into action and profitability. This is an enormous differentiator
in the marketplace and will help solidify Microsoft technology in the hospitality
industry by justifying corporate investment and development in hospitality
-- Todd J. Carey, Chief Executive Officer, MP2 Solutions
"We are pleased to be a part of Microsoft Smarter Hospitality. We believe
that the combination of Microsoft's technologies and leadership in this
space with our revolutionary hotel beverage solution will help transform
the hospitality industry - enabling a more enjoyable guest experience and
making hotel operators more profitable. Our integrated enterprise solution
creates an on-demand supply system fully synchronized with each participant
within the beverage supply chain."
-- Martin Arellano, Founder and CEO, ontap4u
"Success in the fragmented business of hospitality requires proven delivery
experience and a combination of the right people, the right product, the
right process and the right technology. The Unisys/KoolConnect Alliance
has been both active and successful over the past six months with the deployment
of a comprehensive multimedia solution in several acclaimed hotels across
North America, and we're looking forward to expanding this success via
our relationship with Microsoft."
-- Michael DiLeva, Managing Director, Unisys Travel & Hospitality
Digital Enablement of the Consumer Marketplace
Smarter Hospitality utilizes familiar technologies already in the guests'
or employees' hands to meet the changing expectations of the guest experience,
which are in large part driven by the digital enablement of the consumer
marketplace. By leveraging its expertise in the consumer market through
products such as Windows Media(R) Player, Portable Media Centers, Windows(R)
XP Media Center Edition, Tablet PCs and Xbox(R), Microsoft is well suited
to help hospitality operators maximize the investments their guests have
made in technology. In addition, Smarter Hospitality helps hoteliers and
foodservice operators employ smart technology devices, such as Windows
Mobile(TM)-based Smartphones and Pocket PCs, to interact with guests in
an enhanced and powerful way while reducing the hospitality operator's
technology capital investment.
Microsoft Technology Framework
Based on proven technologies, Smarter Hospitality provides a business
and technology infrastructure designed to optimize business processes,
enabling hospitality operators to reduce costs, run more efficiently, gain
greater business visibility, and make better and faster business decisions.
The Smarter Hospitality architecture consists of the interoperability and
integration advantages of the .NET Framework combined with standards-based
software optimized to function out of the box, which eliminates the need
for a complex services model and allows the hospitality industry to focus
on issues that drive value.
The Microsoft technology platform for the hospitality industry includes
the Microsoft Windows Embedded family of operating systems, which include
Windows CE, Windows XP Embedded and Windows Embedded for Point of Service,
for creating a wide range of devices such as point-of-service systems,
kiosks and mobile devices; Microsoft SQL Server(TM) 2000 for native analytics
and reports; and BizTalk(R) Server for superior integration. It also leverages
Microsoft technologies such as Speech Server 2004, created to deliver a
flexible, integrated speech platform that delivers the business value of
speech in a truly cost-effective manner, and MapPoint(R) Web Service, an
integrated set of products and services that provide end-to-end mapping
and location solutions.
About Microsoft Smarter Hospitality
Microsoft Smarter Hospitality is a comprehensive solutions framework
for enabling the next generation of hospitality innovation. Consisting
of Smarter Guest Experience, Smarter Service and Smarter Operations, Smarter
Hospitality leverages current IT investments and the familiar technologies
in guests' or employees' hands to create more engaging and empowering guest
experiences, while laying the groundwork for future innovations. More information
can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/smarthospitality.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) is the worldwide leader in
software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize
their full potential.
NOTE: Microsoft, Windows, Windows Server, Windows Mobile, BizTalk,
Windows Server System and SharePoint are either registered trademarks or
trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.
The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the
trademarks of their respective owners.