The annual Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference (HITEC), hosted by Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP), took place June 20-23 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. With 1.1 million square feet of contiguous exhibit space, the Convention Center is the sixth largest convention facility in the nation, and its spaciousness was a definite benefit as HITEC 2016 entered the record books as one of the highest attended conferences with 6,395 hospitality professionals representing 65 countries.
Eager attendees flooded the showfloor to visit the 867 exhibit booths showcasing the latest in hospitality technology products and services. The HITEC exhibit hall featured hundreds of companies announcing new products and showcasing their signature technologies. Some of the hot topics and themes among the exhibiting vendors included: Internet of Things, robotics, mobility, payment security and improving communication and service.
Tech to Watch
Zebra was showcasing its network, management and location services to help track and learn from data in the hotel with such products as its MPact beacons. MPact is the only indoor locationing platform to unify Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Smart technology, improving locationing accuracy while allowing marketers to capture more analytics and insight to take the next best action to serve shoppers at any time during their visit. Now with Eddystone support, MPact beacons provide increased access to consumers. The company is also focused on enabling Internet of Things by using technology to manage the environment and leverage guest devices to not only enhance the guest experience but to improve staff effectiveness as well.
Savioke was on hand to demonstrate its robot, Relay. With its open API, Relay is able to integrate easily with other technologies on property and hotels can even customize its language. According to a Savioke CTO and chief robot whisperer, Tessa Lau, hotels are seeing a return on investment in one to three months, with the robot generally paying for itself within that time frame.
Samsung took attendees on a tour of its vision of a truly next-generation SMART hotel. From front desk, to multi-functional public spaces, business center and guest rooms, the futuristic hotel mockup showcased the latest technologies from Samsung and its partners. The over-riding theme for the presentation was to highlight the importance and benefits of flexibility. Digital displays were utilized to interact with guests in every iteration while creating a seamless experience.
Ingenico Group was on hand to showcase its payment security offerings including new signature capture device. The company cautions hotels of the importance of looking beyond just EMV when considering payment security, reminding that it’s vital to have a layered approach that includes tokenization and point-to-point encryption.
StayNTouch has seen success with its focus on bringing mobility to the check-in process. StayNTouch hotel customer, The Aria, has seen 40-60% of check-ins converted to the mobile app. The StayNTouch Platform includes a PMS-overlay optimized for tablet, a mobile solution for guests and now a fully-featured PMS.
ALICE, named after the loveable maid from the Brady Bunch, is a hotel service management tool to handle front-of-house, back-of-house and guest communciations all from one platform. ALICE seeks to take an outdated staff infrastructure and streamline communications to improve guest satisfaction. The application tracks every guest request through either the mobile app or website, in person or over the phone or SMS. It connects every department to ensure that tasks are completed in a timely and efficient manner. Finally by knowing every request and how long each took to complete, managers can work to improve service delivery.
In addition to the diverse exhibitors, the conference featured more than 106 speakers for daily educational sessions, addressing top-of-mind issues for hospitality companies including: robotics, disaster recovery, new operating/IT talent models, the digital customer journey and more. HITEC's education program officially began with the Opening Keynote from Jer Thorp, Co-Founder of The Office of Creative Research, who spoke on adding narrative meaning to huge amounts of data. Tuesday's Keynote Session featured Josh Linker, CEO of Hyper-Growth, who spoke on entrepreneurial mindset and why it is better to innovate and disrupt your organization before your competition does. To close HITEC on Thursday afternoon, Johnny Earle, CEO of Johnny Cupcakes, spoke on viral business and how to inspire customer loyalty through branding.
The 2017 installment of HITEC will take place June 26–29, 2017 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in Toronto, Ontario Canada.
Hot Headlines from HITEC
In case you missed these stories the first time around, here are a few of the major news releases from HITEC 2016.
Partnership Delivers Comprehensive Mobile Access Solution
STANLEY Security, a manufacturer and integrator of comprehensive security solutions, and y!kes, creator of proximity-aware technology, announce a strategic partnership to deliver a new access solution for the hospitality industry through the combination of high-quality door locks with sophisticated mobile key technology.
Telkonet Launches EcoManage Hospitality App
Telkonet, Inc., creator of the EcoSmart platform of intelligent room automation solutions supporting the emerging Internet of Things (IoT), will unveil a new EcoManage hospitality app for guests at the Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition & Conference (HITEC). The app offers one more level of energy management control for hotel operators, while also adding a level of guest interaction and experience customization.
Kaba Presents Saflok Next-Generation Software
Kaba, the provider of Saflok™ and ILCO™ electronic door locks, presented its new AMBIANCE access management software at HITEC in New Orleans, June 20-23. AMBIANCE embraces industry best practices to deliver return on investment through shorter and easier training sessions and reduced support requirements. The system is scalable to fit practically any budget and manages Kaba’s BLE, RFID, and magstripe hotel guest access systems for properties with 10 to 10,000 rooms. AMBIANCE's intuitive operation workflows simplifies training and support to reduce cost for users.
Oracle to Release Oracle Hospitality Hotel Mobile
Oracle has announced availability of Oracle Hospitality Hotel Mobile, a native mobile application for hotel staff that can run on Oracle’s MICROS E-series tablets and commercially available smart phones and tablets. The Hotel Mobile application offers key front-desk, housekeeping and maintenance functions through an intuitive, easy-to-learn user interface. Oracle Hospitality Hotel Mobile allows key capabilities in the OPERA and Suite8 hotel management systems to be accessed from anywhere there is wireless connectivity.
Comcast Business Trials X1 Video Platform for Hospitality
Comcast announced plans to trial the award-winning X1 video platform to Comcast Business customers for the first time. The company will begin with a hospitality industry trial this summer with Philadelphia hotels. Comcast made the announcement and previewed the product offering at The Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition & Conference (HITEC).
SiteMinder Launches Real-time Hotel Pricing Intelligence
SiteMinder launched ‘Prophet’, a real-time market intelligence solution that takes the guesswork out of pricing hotel rooms and brings hotel software to the modern age. Prophet was unveiled at HITEC and forms the latest addition to SiteMinder’s award-winning suite of smart and simple technology for hoteliers who are looking to attract, reach and convert guests globally online.
hospitalityPulse Debuts Integrated Product Suite for Mobile Check In and Room Assignment
hospitalityPulse Inc. debuts a fully integrated suite of products designed to significantly enhance a hotel’s traditional and mobile check in processes. In addition to the company’s popular roomPulse and PulseLink room assignment solutions, hospitalityPulse has unveiled new tools that will transform traditional transactions into guest interactions by enabling front-desk agents to focus more closely on their guests.
Janus Displays Showcases New Software Suite
JANUS Displays’ solution-focused digital signage is on display at HITEC 2016, with a focus on next-generation hardware technology and improved data management tools. New JANUS software in the spotlight includes FLEX, which gives users the power to manage an array of data types including events, menus, directory information and personnel information, all within a single user-friendly interface.
Windstream and BroadSoft Team up to Bring Customized Virtual PBX to Hospitality Market
Windstream, provider of advanced network communications, and BroadSoft, a global unified communication software as a service (UCaaS) leader, announced the availability of a new customized Virtual PBX and unified communications solution for the hospitality industry. Announced at HITEC, a large hospitality technology tradeshow, the new Virtual PBX for Hospitality solution offers scalability, flexibility and simplicity on a single unified platform hosted in an enterprise-class data center and accessible through the cloud.
Samsung Showcases Innovations and Offers Immersive Experience with Smart Hotel Room
Samsung Electronics America is sharing its latest innovations at HITEC 2016 designed to empower hoteliers to offer the ultimate hospitality experience for their guests. Samsung is showcasing a lineup of products for the hospitality market featuring advanced technology, including its new lineup of hospitality SMART TVs featuring the world’s first built-in DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem, elevating the in-room experience for guests.
KEYPR Launches Customizable Mobile-First Guest Services and Management Platform
KEYPR announced the launch of their new “Select” program which brings the KEYPR platform for mobile-based guest services and management to limited and select-service hotels with no associated upfront costs. KEYPR is a fully integrated solution comprised of a mobile app, an in-room tablet, back-office management software, and the option of adding keyless entry. KEYPR gives guests one-touch services and operators and staff real-time access to guest requests and personal preferences.
BirchStreet Launches Executive Dashboards and Data Management Services
BirchStreet Systems, the cloud-based procure-to-pay automation software, has unveiled its new Executive Dashboards features in conjunction with Data Management Services. The Executive Dashboards are composed of two data analytics, Business Intelligence driven tools: Spend Visibility and Compliance. BirchStreet also announced its Data Management Services (DMS) as a supplementary resource for customers that lack the dedicated personnel needed to manage their product and supplier level information.
UIEvolution and ViewSonic Partner to Create Smart Module Displays that Support Advanced Digital Experiences
UIEvolution has announced that it partnered with ViewSonic to create Smart Module Displays, an integrated hardware and software package that removes the complexity of pulling together disparate display, processing and software components. The ViewSonic solution, powered by ExperienceManager™, UIEvolution’s platform for creating next-generation guest entertainment and digital signage experiences, offers brands a path to advanced digital signage and in-room entertainment solutions for any industry, including hospitality, retail, healthcare and civic spaces.
PhoneSuite DIRECT Introduces Managed VOICE VoIP PBX
PhoneSuite DIRECT, the newest division of PhoneSuite – provider of telecom solutions designed exclusively for the hospitality industry – is pleased to announce the company’s newest VoIP PBX offering, Managed VOICE which will officially launch at HITEC.
Nomadix Reveals New Capabilities for Service Engine
With the introduction of Nomadix Service Engine (NSE) version 8.7, Nomadix Inc. showcases new bandwidth management and security features for its AG 2400, AG 5600, AG 5800 and AG 5900 bandwidth management and access gateways. These popular gateways service internet connections for guests in locations such as hotels or convention centers – or anywhere there is a visitor network.
rGuest Analyze Packaged with InfoGenesis POS to Empower Users and Boost Revenue
Agilysys, Inc. has announced that rGuest® Analyze, the business intelligence solution, will now be packaged with InfoGenesis® POS, enabling hospitality customers to use existing point-of-sale data to increase revenue, more effectively manage costs and enhance guest satisfaction.
Dali Wireless Launches Turnkey In-Building Wireless Solution
Dali Wireless, Inc., a global provider of the advanced all-digital RF Router® that transcends Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS), today unveils a complete turnkey solution with flexible financing options to provide enterprises with the best Quality of Service (QoS) at the lowest Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).
VENZA Debuts Hospitality Security Innovations
VENZA will be launching three new enterprise security innovations at this year’s Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference (HITEC). The company will also unveil its highly anticipated new brand identity.
ADB Commissions Neutral Independent Study to Reinvent the iTV Experience for Hoteliers and Guests
ADB, interactive TV (iTV) solutions provider, commissioned a neutral, independent study through The Prism Partnership in cooperation with the Consultancy at Pointer’s Ridge to determine exactly what guests and hoteliers want in an in-room entertainment solution, specifically relating to the guestroom TV experience.