3 Major Firms Target IoT, Plus 5 Get-Started Tips

By Abigail A. Lorden, Group Editor-in-Chief; Lisa Terry, Contributor | September 15, 2015

Three major tech firms made big news this month in the scramble for IoT dominance. The hospitality industry, despite its reputation as a technology laggard, has been dabbling in Internet of Things before the term got its buzz on. (For example, digital dialog between energy management systems and guest room door locks, or freezers that monitor how long a door has been open.) 

With Silicon Valley angling to put sensors on everything from wearable devices to dish washers, the hospitality industry will be a target market. Here are the latest headlines, plus 5 tips for getting started with IoT.

3 Major Announcements...

  • IBM launched an Internet of Things division that will be powered by more than 2,000 consultants, researchers and developers, who will help clients integrate data from a wide number of sources. Fortune covered the IBM announcement.


  • Salesforce announced its Internet of Things Cloud at its Dreamforce Developer Conference. Salesforce Internet of Things Cloud will ingest, filter and transform data from billions of events, and then tie it back to the Salesforce platform where users can work with the data to understand their customers better. Read more at Techcrunch

  • AT&T began the process of remaking itself for the Internet of Things. Inside a workshop in Plano, TX, a team of engineers are working with AT&T partners to turn connected industrial products into a reality. Work ranges from creating 80 million solar powered radios to building industrial sensor networks. Read more at Fortune. 

5 Get-Started Tips...
 
Hospitality is not known for aggressive adoption of technology, but experts suggest the IoT field will evolve faster than innovations in the past. Those following IoT closely caution operators not to wait too long. “People don’t realize that things spread geometrically,” says says Chuck Marratt, regional director of IT at Benchmark Hospitality, who is helping to lead the IoT efforts for hotel industry trade association HTNG (Hotel Technology Next Generation). “There will be a tremendous increase in five years. I think it’s going to come quicker than people think.”

It pays to start experimenting and laying the groundwork now. HT has 5 tips for hotels and restaurants to get started.
 
1) Start small. Test intriguing concepts, observing both technical and guest implications.

2) Ensure openness. Make sure vendor partners are using standard communication protocols to avoid getting locked in to proprietary platforms.

3) Create a vision. IoT projects should start with a goal in mind, such as better efficiency or a well-defined guest experience. Return on investment is already proven in some product areas.

4) Experiment. “Be willing to suffer 75%, 80% or even 90% failure rates,” advises Doug Rice, founder and CEO emeritus of HTNG. “If you’re not, you’re probably not trying enough things.”

5) Vet your vendors. Start-ups can be a rich source of ideas but may not have the capacity to scale, so help them to partner with your larger vendors.

For more on the role of IoT in hospitality, download HT's report, "High Octane Hospitality: The Impact of Internet of Things in Restaurants & Lodging."


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