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Siegel Sez

January 21, 2011

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

We are now into the third week of January. How is everybody doing with their New Year’s resolutions? As for me, I am doing great. Of course it was easy for me this year because I only concentrated on one resolution and you might consider joining me. In fact you should. Everybody complains about people talking on their cell phones while driving – how they cause disruptions in traffic and often cause accidents. I have never been a cell phone user while driving, but that is not enough. Now when I call somebody on their cell phone, the first thing I ask is where they are. If they are driving, I ask them to call me back when they get where they are going. If somebody calls me on the cell phone, the same thing goes; I ask where they are. If they are driving, I ask them to call me back no matter how short the conversation might be. Think of it; if drivers have nobody to talk to, then maybe they will instead put the radio on, be inspired by talk radio or be happy singing along to their favorite songs. Wouldn’t the world be a better and safer place? I am really proud of myself for coming up with a practical resolution for once that everybody will benefit from. You should try it and see what kind of reaction you get, it is pretty interesting. If you are the kind of person who always needs to be on the phone while driving then try asking yourself if the call you are about to make is necessary. Listen to some music you enjoy instead. I bet you will be in a much better mood and make the roads safer for all. I know I am a dreamer but a grassroots initiative does have to begin somewhere, right?

In the opening of his technology review below, Jon Inge says, “there is a significant need for vendors to cooperate in providing test environments for each other.” He is so right. There is only one event that provides an arena for discussions like this, and that is at The Executive Vendor Summit (www.vendorsummit.com). At this two-day conference, over 60 C-level executives from the technology vendor community, including the top industry technology consultants, get together to look at where the industry is and more importantly where it needs to be. Partnerships are formed and issues facing us all are addressed. This year’s summit will be at the Wyndham in Tampa, Fla. There is no charge to attend this event, but it is by invitation only. If you are a vendor of technology and you would like to join us you must contact Kate O’Neil immediately at 678-802-5304 or e-mail her at kate@hospitalityupgrade.com. This is truly the most unique gathering of all the industry events and has grown every year. Thankfully once people attend they always come back; our only challenge is getting them there the first time. If you have a solution for the hospitality industry, you absolutely have to be there. Contact Kate or myself right away for an invite, but if you contact me please don’t call from your car.

I am off this weekend to Las Vegas for the Agilysys Users Group, which they refer to as insite11. It will be my first of three trips to Las Vegas over the next five weeks. I am glad I am not a gambler, though I will be staying at the Cosmopolitan, so who knows, I might be working on another New Year’s resolution before I know it.  Here now is the aforementioned Jon Inge with his review of the technology happenings. I will see you at the end with this week’s attempt at you-know-what.


Technology NEWSSTAND

by: Jon Inge




- Cloud Challenges – Interfaces and Upgrades
Cloud computing is still much in the news, as witness this week’s announcement of Cenium landing another client and OTRUM’s new cloud-based Enterprise portal and digital signage products, as well as the continuing interest I’m seeing in remotely hosted hospitality management systems of all kinds.  I’ve talked before about their advantages in security, ease of installation and, especially for multiproperty operations, consistent and accurate reporting.

One major challenge still needs to be worked out, though, and that’s how to handle system upgrades.  With today’s ever-growing need for more cross-system data collection and consolidation in this famously multisystem environment, interfaces between applications are more critical than ever.  They’re typically easier to set up in a multi-application cloud environment – implementing a single interface between two cloud-based applications surely beats having to do so between two site-based examples of each at every property – but keeping them working seamlessly becomes a real challenge when either vendor can upgrade its system at a moment’s notice. 

There’s clearly a significant need for vendors to cooperate in providing test environments for each other; any unexpected snags when a new version is put into operation are going to be massively apparent when the change occurs simultaneously at every hotel using the applications.  Vendors will also have to maintain multiple versions of each application in operation, because not every hotel will be able to – or want to – upgrade to a new version at the same time.  And, of course, every different version kept in operation just multiplies the interface problem.

For simpler applications such as OTRUM’s Digital Signage this isn’t too much of an issue; its interface requirements are fairly straightforward and unlikely to change often.  Something like the mix of applications required to run a complex resort is a different situation altogether.  Interface format standards are a major help, of course, but another approach is the development of much more all-encompassing applications that cover as many operational areas as possible, reducing the need for interfaces to the minimum.  All the major HMS vendors have pretty comprehensive offerings with their current ranges, but it will inevitably take a while for them to reach the same degree of full-property functionality with the new-architecture applications they’re developing.  In the meantime, keep your eye on Cenium.


- Ken Fisher joins Xn Hotel Systems’ board of directors
- Tom Gallagher hired by Pegasus Solutions as executive vice president of revenue generation
- Roger Crellin joins iBAHN as president, Americas
- Keith Cotton appointed VP of connectivity at DerbySoft
- W. Laird Hamberlin joins Onity as president
- Mark Lomanno promoted to CEO at Smith Travel Research; Randy Smith named chairman. 
- Amanda Hite named as STR’s new president
- Brian Sterrett joins IDeaS Revenue Solutions as vice president of global sales and marketing
For more information on People on the Move for 01/21/11


- buuteeq launches Web-based digital marketing system for independent hotels
- Motorola launches MC65 Enterprise Mobile Computer
- HeBS receives three outstanding Web design awards for Loews Hotels Website
- Chaminade Resort & Spa implementing d2o’s PMI suite
- Boyd Gaming implementing SkyWire Media’s Coupon Connect text messaging
For more information on Marketing/Management for 01/21/11


- IDeaS releases version 5.2 of V5i
IDeaS Revenue Solutions has released version 5.2 of its V5i Revenue Management System.  Enhancements include a new reporting framework (to facilitate the delivery of enhanced business intelligence, improved navigation and more visual data presentation), quoted rate functionality to allow evaluation of a group based on a client-entered rate, changes to the Transient Benefits module to show benefits at the daily level (to facilitate detailed analysis of the impact on transient revenue of working with V5i in the previous month), and an explanation of any benefits that  cannot be calculated on a single day.  http://www.ideas.com  


- Knowland releases new version of Insight lead generation service
- Knowland’s Target Net SFA tool receives 2010 Product of the Year Award from CIS magazine
- Cvent listed by Washington SmartCEO magazine as 2011 Future 50 award winner
- SmithBucklin selects Meeting Evolution software for all meeting management processes
- OTRUM moves its Digital Signage service to IBM's test and development cloud service
For more information on Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning for 01/21/11


- Plaza Hotel adds Intelity ICE to guestroom iPads
- OTRUM launches its cloud-based Enterprise information, communication and entertainment portal
- Starwood implements FaceTime video calling for SPG members contacting customer service agents
- LodgeNet to market Nomadix’ Freedom Internet hospitality software and access gateways
- Bourbon Orleans Hotel installs wireless Internet access from iBAHN
For more information on Guest Services for 01/21/11


- Horizon Hospitality Management adds fourth property to Aptech Profitvue implementation
Horizon Hospitality Management has added a fourth property to its implementation of Aptech Computer Systems’ Profitvue enterprise back office application, to streamline accounting processes across its multiple branded properties.  http://www.horizonhmi.com, http://www.aptech-inc.com  


- DataWorks integrates NeXT inventory software with Microsoft Dynamics Retail Management System
DataWorks has integrated its NeXT inventory software with Microsoft Dynamics Retail Management System (RMS), allowing it to serve as the purchasing, inventory operations and customer management center for RMS users. http://www.dataworksinc.com  


- Motorola launches WiNG 5 wireless architecture
Motorola has launched its WiNG 5 wireless architecture, designed to offer better direct routing and higher resilience throughout a hotel’s wireless network.  WiNG 5 is claimed to require less hardware and fewer controllers as its network-aware access points (APs) collaborate to determine optimal routing paths to avoid bottlenecks, jittery videos or poor voice quality.  http://www.motorolasolutions.com  


- NORTHWIND announces 21 new customers for Maestro in 4Q 10
- Ariane completes kiosk integration with Saflok RFID keys
- AutoClerk and Bay Lakes Information Systems merge
- White Oaks Conference Resort & Spa picks Cenium’s Enterprise Resource system
- Cenium opens new North America corporate office in Las Vegas
- SkiStar installs SPI Software timeshare management software at five destinations
- RMC Resort Management installs SPI Software’s Orange 7 system in Hilton Head offices
- Cosmopolitan Las Vegas implements multiple IJWS checkin options for guests
For more information on Hospitality Management Systems for 01/21/11


- Travel Tripper interfaces RezTrip with InnLink’s distribution network
- Availpro expanding into Spain
- FastBooking listing 6,000-property database with Hotels4U.com
For more information on Reservations for 01/21/11


And now for you-know-what…

A man calls home to his wife and says, "Honey I have been asked to go fishing at a big lake up in Canada with my boss and several of his friends. We'll be gone for a week. This is a good opportunity for me to get that promotion I've been wanting, so would you please pack me enough clothes for a week and set out my rod and tackle box? We're leaving from the office and I will swing by the house to pick my things up. Oh, and please pack my new blue silk pajamas."

The wife thinks this sounds a little fishy, but being a good wife she does exactly what her husband asked. The following weekend he comes home a little tired but otherwise looking good. The wife welcomes him home and asks if he caught many fish.

He says, "Yes, we caught several walleye, some bluegill, and a few pike. But why didn't you pack my new blue silk pajamas?"

To which she replies, "I did, they're in your tackle box."

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