Guestroom 2010 Gets New Name, Kills the Telephone

By Abigail A. Lorden | June 24, 2008

The latest Guestroom 2010 debuted at HITEC in Austin, Texas, last week, sporting a new name and showcasing a host of cutting-edge guestroom technologies, some so new that they're not yet available in the U.S., while also intentionally omitting a staple of the guestroom: the telephone.
 
New name, new focus
The model hotel room launched as Guestroom 2010 in 2006 as a working
showcase of cutting-edge guestroom technologies; its name was intended
to reinforce that the snazzy technologies on display weren't a distant fantasy. But as the year 2010 quickly approaches, and there's no end in sight to the level of innovation that hotels explore in the guestroom, this guestroom of the future is re-branding itself as "Guestroom 20X" and will continue to focus on innovative new technologies, specifically as they relate to changing consumer and industry trends.

Phones no more
This year's display stirred up a little intentional controversy by ditching the traditional guestroom telephone entirely. The project's committee believes that, with the advent of cellular technology and the continuing focus on the television as an all-in-one media hub, guests would only need an in-room phone to call the front desk. In fact, the committee is so confident in its stance that they decided to place an antique intercom system from 1947 on the bedside table instead of a telephone.

Smart locks
Focusing further on the proliferation of cellular technology, one of the newest advancements on display includes door locks that respond to a guest's NFC-enabled cell phone via proximity sensors. The phone is sent a personalized code via SMS (text message) during the reservation process, and when waived near an RFID-enabled lock, will electronically release the latch. While NFC phones aren't yet available in the U.S., the technology is currently installed in hotels in Japan and Korea.
 
These demos included keyless door technology from IBM, (also the project's patron sponsor), and electronic door locks from VingCard Elsafe. The combined solution will allow guests to skip check-in and proceed directly to their rooms without having to stop at the front desk.
 
Rich media
A multi-media hub from Uniguest features a built-in computer and Bluetooth mouse and keyboard, while the Chargepod from Callpod Inc. provides six-way charging capabilities at one time for guests' cell phones, PDAs, iPODs, digital cameras and most other electronic devices.
 
For alternate charging options, a guest could use the WildCharger pad, a wire-free power solution to charge various electronic devices. Guests would simply place the enabled phone on the pad for instantaneous, uninterrupted charging. The device was named one of TIME magazine's "Best Inventions of 2007."
 
In-room entertainment takes on a new twist with Wii for Hotels, a version of Nintendo's popular gaming system made exclusively for the lodging industry. Property managers can control game menu content, erase saved game data and receive new games via a network connection.
 
The traditional guestroom clock is replaced by a voice-responsive clock with Timeset technology from Sensory, Inc., allowing guests to program the alarm by simply stating the desired dime out loud. Timeset can be integrated into numerous devices via an RSC-4x chip, brining voice activation to the thermostat, coffee maker, microwave or DVR.
 
Going green
The room also showcased several green technologies, with a particular focus on energy efficiency. An LCD television from Phillips is designed with proprietary dimming technology to lower the backlight panel and reduce power consumption without compromising picture quality. The technology allows the unit to use up to 50 percent less power than most LCDs of the same size.
 
Meanwhile, closet doors double as energy generators in the Powerslide Energy Tax Door from Fluxx Lab. When a guest slides open the door, magnets harness and redistribute the energy. The negligible energy harnessed is enough to light the closet for up to 20 seconds. Powerslide can be used in such common building components sliding doors and windows, draperies and drawers.
 
In all, Guestroom 20X featured more than 40 different technologies discovered from a worldwide, comprehensive search of existing and future guestroom innovations.

HITEC is organized annually by Hospitality Financials and Technology Professionals (HFTP).

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