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IoT is Coming, Jon Snow…
Posted: 05/21/2019

Hospitality is prime for the coming advent of the various devices that make up the Internet of Things. Estimates show the industry now represents 17.5 million rooms worldwide and savvy guests are demanding more personalization and an overall improved guest experience along their connected travel journey and belief is that IoT can bring this to reality. 

The forces driving local search rankings are constantly changing. But recent studies suggest that in 2019, four key factors make up the local search algorithm. 
 
The most significant factor is Google My Business (GMB). If you’re not on it, get on it now.

The robotic revolution in the hospitality industry might seem to have taken a step back. This January, the famously quirky Henn-Na Hotel in Japan fired half of its 243 robot staff. The robotic workforce reportedly irritated guests and frequently broke down.

Think about the moment when you first enter your hotel room. Look around: Does the room tell you anything unique about the hotel where you are staying? Or is it all beige walls and double beds with white covers, and you have to walk back outside and look at the sign on the hotel’s facade to even remember where you are?

Hotel guests commonly bring multiple devices with them during their stay. However, many hotel environments don’t provide easy access to charging outlets. This situation can lead to a guest feeling more than inconvenienced. A recent survey found almost 90 percent of people "felt panic" when their phone battery dropped to 20 percent or below.



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Have Internet? The Lawsuit the Entire Hotel Industry Is Watching

08/11/2015

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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