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Siegel Sez

June 30, 2011

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

Remember the good old days? Last week in Austin, Texas, those at HITEC sure seemed to feel like they were experiencing days gone by. The last few years have been rough for the technology world in hospitality, but those days are over. Attendance was great (the official number was 4,727), vendor support in the exhibit hall was unbelievable and the educational sessions were very well received. Then there were all the parties. Morning breakfast meetings and cocktails on rooftops at midnight or later was the norm at HITEC this year.  What I enjoyed most this year was the energy and optimism that everyone brought with them. In the exhibit hall we also only heard positive things about the event from the big guys in the front booths all the way to the smaller booths in the back. What a week! It is too bad it only lasted four days regardless what Geneva said via Hotel Online’s daily email this past Friday (HITEC recap) . Nice pictures though on that email. Now what?

I had a conversation with Sherry Marek from Datavision Technologies on Friday after HITEC. We were talking about the withdrawal we all go through. The one thing about HITEC that everybody loves is the conversations. We talk to vendors. We talk to hoteliers. We talk to those who eat, drink and sleep technology and then we talk to those who are just starting out or want to learn what is going on in this space. The conversations are the best part of HITEC. Then we are home and the talking is done. We decided it is similar to going through withdrawal, so it is my goal to create some sort of HITEC detox program. Would you join? I know I would. I will suggest that you join me in one more conversation from HITEC and click here for the annual Siegel Sez video with Jon Inge that we recorded in the exhibit hall on the last day of the show. It is always fun to do with people walking around us.  Jon is one smart guy, and for 10 minutes of your time you will get a great feeling as to what happened in Austin if you weren’t at HITEC this year. If you were there, you can tell us if you agree. We look forward to your comments.  Is it easy to tell that one of us is terribly hung over in the video? 

Thanks to all who came by our booth during HITEC and for all the great feedback on our summer issue of Hospitality Upgrade. We had many people tell us that this was our best issue ever and, modesty aside, it is great to hear that. Lots of hoteliers came by to see HUTechShare and their feedback got everybody all pumped up. Again, what a great week in a great city; the bar has been set quite high for Baltimore in 2012. I am looking forward to it!

HITEC 2011 is over so I guess for many the summer starts now. The hotel industry continues to be on a roll and, based on my many conversations, everybody I know seems to be on vacation next week! But not me as I am waiting for that big day at Del Mar this summer. I promise to let everyone know when Currahee will be running. I did this once when we had our horse run at Gulfstream Park in Hollywood, Fla., and we had a blast with many people coming to see the race for the day. Hopefully we can do that again in San Diego. Thanks to all who came by at HITEC and asked about him. He is doing great and looking forward to performing in front of a crowd. Currahee, remember the name.

Here now is the real reason we are here, video star Jon Inge with his latest review of the happenings in the world of technology. I will see you at the end with this week’s attempt at you-know-what. Thanks again for the great time at HITEC and HFTP for a great event!


Technology NEWSSTAND

by: Jon Inge
Systems News in Plain English from Jon Inge



- HITEC thoughts
- Microsoft opens LINQ360 Hospitality Tech Center in Las Vegas
Another HITEC, another head full of information, another pair of aching feet… but as usual another great collection of memories.  There simply isn’t a better place to get a feel for the industry, to touch base with a wide variety of vendors and see what’s new, and to make excellent contacts both on the show floor and at the numerous receptions afterwards… or at least at those where you can hear yourself think.

I came away with three main impressions:

1. Tablets are now a de facto standard tool for both management and guest applications: I lost count of the number of new apps being shown on them.  Some were of debatable value, apparently written because they could be rather than because they tied into other software to make them worthwhile, but the many concierge-style packages on offer to help guests order services within the hotel, find local attractions and navigate their way to them are certainly useful.  They offer great branding to the hotels if guests download them to their tablets and smartphones, but I wonder how any guests realize that the systems also record their movements and the items they click on to help the hotels market to them later.

2. More GMS vendors than I’d expected have used the economic downturn to invest in developing new systems.  I’ve already written about PAR Springer-Miller, Agilysys, Infor-SoftBrands and Hotel Concepts/Brilliant, but I also saw new applications from Auto-Clerk/Bay Lakes and Choice (previously CSS).  These are all works in progress, some much more than others, but the range of options is definitely changing.

3. In general I felt a note of seriousness in the air.  Last year there was a great deal of buzz and excitement around cloud computing and mobile technology; this year it seemed that these platforms were accepted as a given, and while many vendors had made a good start at developing systems on both, they’d found it wasn’t as easy or quick as expected.  Definite progress has been made but complications and challenges have arisen that need to be addressed before fully functional applications are ready for implementation.  These are indeed being resolved, but it all takes time.  Meanwhile, the recovery hasn’t been as strong as we’d all hoped for and hotels still aren’t buying as much as the vendors may have been counting on; with any luck they’re just biding their time until the new applications are ready. 

In many ways this year felt like a series of preview trailers for next year’s attractions; by next HITEC things should be back on track for everyone.
Microsoft has opened an interesting hospitality technology development center in Las Vegas, called the LINQ360 Hospitality Tech Center.  Intended as a simulated hotel environment showcase as well as a place for vendors to work together, the Center launched with 16 providers: Microsoft, SuiteLinq, Cenium, Symon, RedRock Software, Alcatel-Lucent, HP, Nevada Development Authority, Crestron, Hardly Square, MiCamp, Shift4, IBoxfilms, Video River Networks and RiteWire. More are expected to join in the coming months.  The center will also work with The University of Las Vegas for educational access.


- Kris Singleton is new CIO at Cosmopolitan Las Vegas
- Stewart Applbaum joins Infor-Softbrands as general manager, Softbrands Hospitality Group
- Brian Ross hired by guestLINK as business development manager
- Bob Lowe promoted to vice president business development at Shift4
- Neil Williams named head of iBAHN’s global operations team
- Jeffrey Lapin and Art Levitt join runtriz’ advisory board
- Andy Wing joins runtriz as chairman of the board
- Flinn Flexer named runtriz’ chief operating officer
For more information on People on the Move for 06/30/11


- Sabre acquires SoftHotel
- Larkspur Landing Hotel, Hillsboro, Ore., implements SoftBrands HMS V1.0
- da Vinci Villa Hotel, San Francisco, Calif., to deploy SoftBrands’ epitome
- PAR Springer-Miller Systems names TripCraft preferred mobile development partner for all systems
- Newmarket joins PAR Springer-Miller Systems’ ATRIO Platform Partner Exchange (APPX)
For more information on Guest Management Systems for 06/30/11


- Intelity releases ICE Mobile for Android
- Square [ i ] International adds Intelity ICE to IPTV offering
- iBAHN launches dynamic Bandwidth Management
- runtriz' Hotel Evolution now available in 57 languages
- MConcierge rolls out Guest Relationship Management (GRM) system
- Uniguest unveils four new products
- XETA partners with Eleven Wireless for new Business Center
- FRHI picks Ruckus Wireless’ ZoneFlex as a preferred worldwide system
- Omni Berkshire Place completes wireless integration project from AFL
- ARINC announces microFIDS flight information display system for hospitality
- LG Electronics USA adds IP video decoding to next-generation PrCentric TVs
- Nomadix releases version 7.3 of NSE software
- ResortSuite releases MOBILE app for guests to view/manage hotel, personal itinerary and group event data
- Planet One partners with Swisscom on voice, video and data services, support in Asia-Pacific
- John Q. Hammons picks XETA for HSIA and management services at 26 locations
- Trump Hotel Collection selects MICROS’ OPERA2Go mobile application
- HCN introduces patented in-room technology for guest services
For more information on Guest Services for 06/30/11


- InvoTech announces four new customers in Macau for RFID-based GIMS
InvoTech Systems announced four new customers in Macau for its RFID-based GIMS Uniform, Linen, and Laundry System: the new Sheraton, Shangri-La, St. Regis and Traders branded properties.  InvoTech translated GIMS into Mandarin for easier use in Chinese markets.

The GIMS system is also used by Clean Living Laundry and Tim Fung Laundry in Macau, which interface with the GIMS systems at the hotels and casinos for complete inventory tracking. 


- Adaco integrates WineQuest’s database into Adaco .NET
- Adaco extending procurement system to iPads and touch screens
Adaco and WineQuest have formalized a partnership that integrates WineQuest’s database of more than 140,000 wines into the Adaco .NET hospitality procurement system.   

Adaco is extending its procurement system to iPads and touch-screen devices, starting with recipe management and eventually including all functions of Adaco .NET.
http://www.winequest.com, http://www.adaco.com


- Ovation announces EcoManaged patent-pending energy management using carbon dioxide sensing thermostat
- Verve introduces new line of self-powered energy-saving automation products
Ovation Networks has announced its EcoManaged patent-pending energy management service, claimed to be the first energy management approach in the hospitality industry using a ComfortStat Wi-Fi-enabled, carbon dioxide occupancy and comfort-sensing thermostat to control guestroom HVAC units via a centralized control unit.  A Dedicated EcoManaged Energy Specialist is responsible for finding energy rebates and programs to increase the customer's savings.  http://www.ecomanaged.com  
Verve Living Systems has introduced a new line of energy-saving automation products for the hospitality channel, a highly efficient assortment of wireless sensors and control devices that can determine the occupancy state of the room, set back temperature and turn off lights and miscellaneous electrical loads.  As many of the units are self-powered, either through efficient solar technology or kinetic energy harvesting (e.g. using the motion of a door opening or a keycard being inserted in a slot, to generate their own electricity), installation and ongoing support are very straightforward.  http://www.vervelivingsystems.com  


- Metropolis launches ProfitWatch ULTRA cloud-based hotel call accounting
- LodgeNet Broadband’s MobileAccessVE uses existing Cat5e/6 LAN cabling for cellular signal distribution
- Palms Hotel & Spa upgrades to IP telephony using Phybridge’s UniPhyer
Metropolis Technologies has launched ProfitWatch ULTRA hotel call accounting, available in cloud-based (metropolis-managed) or self-managed formats.  Both are Web hosted and offer multiproperty functionality and real-time data management.  http://www.metropolis.com  
LodgeNet Broadband has added MobileAccessVE to its product portfolio following the completion of the Corning MobileAccess certification program.  MobileAccessVE uses existing Cat5e/6 LAN cabling for cellular signal distribution while maintaining full Ethernet and wireless LAN capabilities, minimizing disruption and deployment costs.  http://www.lodgenet.com  
The 251-room Palms Hotel & Spa, South Beach, Miami, has upgraded to IP telephony using Phybridge’s UniPhyer over existing cabling.  http://www.thepalmshotel.com, http://www.phybridge.com


- Yikes unveils yLINK wireless proximity-based guestroom access control system
- Onity announces HT RFID (radio frequency identification) lock
- Onity announces OnPoint modular keycard encoder
- Opal One Exeter student housing completes installation of Vingcard VISIONLINE wireless RF-online locking
- VingCard celebrates 30-year anniversary
For more information on Security for 06/30/11


- InterContinental releases iPhone booking apps for all seven brands
- Pegasus introduces Enhanced Shopping Transaction (EST) to reduce look-to-book impact
- Pegasus releases RezView Internet Booking Engine
- InnLink chosen as official CRS partner of Microsoft’s LINQ360 Innovation Center
- Greenbrier selects MICROS Systems’ myfidelio.net
For more information on Reservations for 06/30/11


- Pegasus launches ContentHub to simplify hotel content management
- Libra OnDemand launches New Media Hospitality Solutions full-service marketing agency
- Sino Group of Hotels, Hong Kong selects MICROS’ OPERA Customer Information System
- Whiteboard Labs using FeedMagnet to power Telltales social content integration
- RateGain launches BrandGain guest satisfaction and online reputation management system
- Lodging Interactive receives multiple awards in website development from Interactive Media Awards
- PSAV receives four Telly Awards
For more information on Marketing/Management for 06/30/11


- RateTiger releases v.3.5 of RTConnect XML gateway
- Toga Hospitality installing EzRMS in 50 properties
- Guoman Hotel Management implementing EzRMS in 37 hotels
- EasyRMS releases Ez-CONTRACT module to evaluate contracted business
- LeisureLink introduces Marketspan cloud-based platform
- Stoney Creek Inns is launch customer for MICROS’ OPERA 9 Channel Management
For more information on Revenue Management for 06/30/11


- Knowland launches SmartPhone Leads location-aware augmented reality app for mobile platforms
- JANUS releases three new digital signage products
- Passkey launches mobile hotel booking engine
- Passkey widget allows embedded availability on event websites and social networks
- Sheraton Waikiki provides event delegates with personalized iPod meeting app from PSAV and QuickMobile
- Newmarket joins PAR Springer-Miller Systems’ ATRIO Platform Partner Exchange
For more information on Sales & Catering/Meeting Planning for 06/30/11


- Agilysys releases InfoGenesis Roam mobile software for the iPod
Agilysys has announced the general availability of its InfoGenesis Roam mobile software, designed for Apple’s iPod touch.  The Roam module allows employees to offer food and beverage service throughout a property, and features a multitouch interface for servers to tap, drag or swipe to select table number, cover count and check type.  Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas is the pilot customer.  http://www.agilysys.com  


And now for you-know-what…

A guy joins a monastery and takes a vow of silence. He’s allowed to say two words every seven years. After the first seven years, the elders bring him in and ask for his two words.

"Cold floors," he says. They nod and send him away.

Seven more years pass. They bring him back in and ask for his two words. He clears his throats and says, "Bad food."

They nod and send him away. Seven more years pass. They bring him in for his two words. "I quit," he says.

"That’s not surprising," the elders say. "You’ve done nothing but complain since you got here."

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