‘Best NFC Service of 2008’ Awarded to VingCard (ASSA ABLOY AB) by NFC Forum at Monaco Event

  • ASSA ABLOY Hospitality
  • 05.15.08
The NFC Forum has recently named Signature RFID/NFC by VingCard, “The Best NFC Service of the Year 2008.”

Signature RFID/NFC is a hospitality security system that allows hotel guests with Near Field Communication-enabled cell phones to securely receive over the air their encrypted room key in order to bypass the check-in/-out process and unlock their room doors via mobile device. VingCard Elsafe, a company of ASSA ABLOY Hospitality (the recognized world leader of hotel security technology), provides electronic-locking systems and in-room safe solutions to more than 35,000 hotels worldwide.

Signature RFID/NFC was chosen from among 20 finalists and more than 50 entries from 21 countries. Achieving First Place in the Commercial Track Category, the award was presented to Pascal Metivier, President of ASSA ABLOY Hospitality EMEA and Latin America, at the WIMA European NFC Developers Summit during the “Touching the Future: NFC Forum Global Competition Finals & Awards Ceremony” April 29 in Monaco. The competition was designed to promote the development and deployment of innovative and exemplary NFC services.

An informational video showcasing the convenience of the check-in/check-out process using a guest’s NFC-compatible cell phone via Signature RFID/NFC, and how the system drives room sales to direct channels and ultimately improves margins and the hotel’s bottom line, is available Youtube.com
“We are honored that Signature RFID/NFC has been recognized as ‘The Best’ NFC service in the global marketplace by such a prestigious group,” Metivier said. ”To be ranked No. 1 from among the esteemed companies that competed through this process validates our commitment to developing the most secure, flexible solutions based on advanced technologies. When a jury of experts from the NFC community and the academic arena say your solution is unsurpassed, there is no higher complement.”

The NFC Forum is a non-profit industry association developed to advance the use of NFC technology. Near Field Communication (NFC) is a standards-based, short-range wireless connectivity technology that enables simple and safe two-way interactions between electronic devices. NFC technology allows consumers to perform contactless transactions, access digital content and connect devices with the simplicity of a single touch. NFC technology provides global interoperability of contactless identification and interconnection technologies.

As part of a joint collaboration with NXP (founded by Philips), VODAFONE and THE HUMAN CHAIN, VingCard developed the application for the NFC enabled phone to receive the encrypted room key and work as an RFID carrier to operate with Signature RFID electronic locks. 

"We congratulate VingCard for prevailing against dozens of very competitive solutions submitted this year," said Gerhard Romen, vice chairman of the NFC Forum, a non-profit industry association that advances the use of NFC technology. "This award demonstrates how effective NFC technology can be in supporting solutions to real-world problems.”

To begin, a traveler must register as an NFC member on the participating hotel chain’s Website. Once complete, the traveler can book a room via the hotels’ reservation system, or via the hotel’s Web site. Upon booking, the system will verify that the user is registered as an NFC member. When confirmed, the system will then begin interfacing with the traveler’s NFC cell phone.

Next, a traveler’s NFC cell phone will receive a Short Message System (SMS) text with the hotel room information, an encrypted room key, and the hotel’s GPS coordinates prior to arrival. Upon arrival, the guest will avoid the check-in queue, go directly to the assigned guestroom, and use the cell phone to open the door. For the duration of the stay, the guest’s NFC cell phone becomes the room key. Check out can be accomplished either through the NFC-enabled TV in the guestroom or through the reception NFC enabled kiosk.

“Hotels looking for tools to better connect with mobile-centric guests need to invest in mobile applications,” Metivier said. “As more applications are adopted, more guests will begin using the service. This means driving more direct sales to the property, rather than relying on third-party operators or agencies to fill their rooms, and reducing commissions paid to third parties. In the end, profit margins are improved and the bottom lines are boosted by driving room sales to direct channels.”

Finally, Signature RFID/NFC can greatly enhance the hotel’s loyalty program, as the guest’s mobile device becomes a virtual hotel loyalty card that is permanently updated with points and program information, he said. This is a great way to increase, strengthen and solidify the relationship between the brand and its loyal customers. "This cell-phone based solution from VingCard also has ‘green’ appeal,” Metivier said. “It’s the ultimate ecological way to handle hotels keys, since no plastic card is needed for both room key and loyalty card. This is highly appreciated by our customers who are committed to a sustainable development policy."

Pilot programs for Signature RFID/NFC are underway at leading brands.

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