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A great deal has been written over the years about the viability of moving a hotel’s property-management system (PMS) to the cloud to take advantage of the latest technologies, but hoteliers need to realize that it’s not the only viable option. All platforms have advantages, including self-hosted, private cloud and on-premise solutions that leverage the latest mobile, contact free and web-based technologies. Independent operators can still enhance the digital guest experience, support personalized and mobile check-in, deploy contact free technologies, and secure hotel/guest data even if their PMS does not reside in the cloud. It should not be a question of “Cloud or On Premise?” but rather “Does the PMS solve your business objectives in both technology and service?”

Much has been written in the mainstream hospitality press about the challenges COVID-19 has presented to the industry. Hotels are in more pain than at any time in our memories. Because of the extensive media coverage, I won’t dwell on this topic further in what is primarily a technology column. But it’s the background for this week’s column, and so merits acknowledgement.

Are You All In?
Posted: 07/27/2020

Imagine everyone in your organization engaged, aligned, and performing to their potential. Imagine everyone playing “All In.”

Great organizations have synergy. Their culture allows them to play to a rhythm at a different tempo than the average organization. How do you get that at your organization?

Many front-line hospitality workers rely on tips for a significant part of their paychecks. If not for tips, many hotel associates who serve as waitstaff, bartenders, housekeepers, bell staff, concierges and pool attendants would soon be looking for other jobs. This is a regional issue: in most of Asia and Europe, staff get higher base pay, and tips are either not expected at all, or are truly discretionary. But in the U.S., Canada, Britain and other countries, tips are an important reality, and one that’s not likely to change anytime soon.

As somebody who’s helped to grow a company from 13 people to nearly a thousand, I know very well the excitement that comes with having a mindset focused entirely on growth. Every newly acquired customer, every new office and every milestone means the gap between you and your nearest competitor is that much bigger and that much harder to overtake.



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Have Internet? The Lawsuit the Entire Hotel Industry Is Watching

08/11/2015
by Trevor Warner

As an update to our first article on the lawsuit filed by Nomadix against Blueprint RF, a federal judge ruled allegations of deceiving federal patent examiners could go forward against Nomadix Inc. (an NTT Docomo Company).

The allegations are counterclaims by smaller rival and defendant Blueprint RF which Nomadix accused of patent infringement. Chief among the accusations is an alleged infringement on the concept of a captive portal page. The page is what a user sees when logging into a hotel, airport, coffee house or any other Wi-Fi system that requires log in.

The ruling in the U.S. District of Central California turns the tables on Nomadix, which sued Blueprint RF in October 2014. Nomadix accused the company of infringing on 10 patents, but since has withdrawn three of the patents acknowledging that Blueprint RF does not perform those claims.

Blueprint RF responded in counterclaims that the patents were invalid and unenforceable because of the alleged fraud perpetrated by Nomadix. If the court finds for Blueprint RF, the claims could apply to all seven patents remaining.

Blueprint RF’s accusations of inequitable conduct contain enough specific information to meet the legal standard to overcome Nomadix’s motion to dismiss the counterclaims, Judge Dean D. Pregerson ruled on June 29. Inequitable conduct is considered to be a form of non-criminal fraud.

Nomadix had sought to dismiss the counterclaims, saying the allegations were too general to meet any legal standard to go forward.

Blueprint RF’s allegations are supported by the identities of Nomadix representatives who might have engaged in the scheme, including names of attorneys who filed the Nomadix patents at issue. Further, the allegations include a clear description of how Nomadix representatives might have carried out the scheme, the judge ruled.

Blueprint RF’s counterclaims also include sufficient specific information indicating that the Nomadix lawyers knew they intended to deceive the patent officials, “given the totality of the circumstances,” Pregerson said.

The purported misconduct includes “burying” the patent examiners with sometimes thousands of documents, drawings and other information related to development of the patented technology. This practice can obscure key information, but allows the company to avoid the outright withholding information relevant to its patents.

Blueprint RF says the allegedly infringed patents are outdated and have been available to the public since 1998. Nomadix has been a very influential company in the early evolution of the guest internet network. In the early days of HSIA, business users where the focus and public IPs and VPNs were a pain point. This is not the case anymore. 

The suit is the latest of many filed by Nomadix, a dominant player in the hospitality technology industry. Nomadix has pursued giants in the industry in similar lawsuits. AT&T Corp.’s hospitality business subsidiaries, the Hewlett-Packard Company, and Wayport, Inc. are among companies that settled cases with Nomadix.

Our focus on this law suit is primarily the cost hotels pay in what we call royalty fees (known as license fees) that many HSIA providers charge properties because of past patents, law suits and so on. Millions of dollars that could be spent on innovation are spent on tribute. 

Other industry experts agree and suggest suing competitors so often stifles competition.

“I’d thought the litigation had run its course until this,” said Mark Holzberg, a hospitality technology executive and entrepreneur. Technological advances are more likely if the industry “Spent less time on litigation and more time developing their technology,” said Holzberg, a principal of HT Solutions LLC and formerly the chief executive officer of Lorica Solutions, head of Swisscom’s Hospitality’s North American & Global Managed Services, and the chief financial officer of TravelClick.

If Blueprint RF can win this case it would be a financial turning point for HSIA in the industry.  We will continue to keep an eye on this situation as it develops. 

About The Author
Trevor Warner

Warner Consulting Group


Trevor Warner is an industry expert and consulting for the hospitality technology field.

 
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