By Larry Mogelonsky, MBA, P. Eng. (www.hotelmogel.com)
HITEC this year took place in the hot and humid town of Houston, but the weather was never a deterrent for the 7,000 some odd attendees from all aspects of hospitality. Held during the third week of June, this foremost hospitality technology show was truly enlightening for where our industry is headed.
As the convention starts to resemble the famed Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in breadth and scope, the good news this year is that software capabilities are becoming near-universal. Integrations are commonplace and vendors have taken on a ‘spirit of partnership’ where they recognize their strengths and know that their wares are only one part of a hotel’s technology tool belt. If you didn’t have the opportunity to attend last month, here’s what you missed.
Voice technology is at the forefront. Smart speakers are touted by numerous vendors offering different applications for an Amazon Echo or Google Home setup. Despite the obvious privacy concerns, anticipate further expansion of this technology into the realm of IoT room controls and concierge services.
Property management systems continue to expand in scope and capabilities. The focus now is the full allowance of interconnectivity with specialized applications – rather than pursuing their own internal solutions – so that the hotelier has flexibility with how what software they deploy.
Wireless automation has become mainstream as IoT starts to gain steam. Expect to see the decline of the keycard, replaced with apps that can also heatmap where guests are for property planning efficiency as well as offer a host of other integrated services, again through IoT setups.
As LED monitors become more affordable, sharper, larger and brighter, there will be an even broader application of screens both indoors and outdoors. Digital signage will soon become more elaborate, durable and quite artful in its presentation.
Then there’s blockchain which still has vast potential for loyalty program partnerships as well as reducing the costs associated with transactional data intermediaries. While this is still five years out from a proper rollout, you would be wise to start reading up on how it works now.
See you in Minneapolis June 17-20 for HITEC 2019.
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