Part 1 of 8 - Check back daily for each section of Jon's Technology Year in Review.
(excerpt from full post - 01/09/14 Siegel Sez Newsletter
 

     It’s been an odd year.  Apart from Indra’s bringing its successful and comprehensive TMS system to the US market and Choice launching its proprietary GMS onto the open market under the SkyTouch name, no major new systems have appeared.  The sound and fury surrounding “mobile everywhere” has signified nothing much more than a flurry of apps spreading existing functionality across more convenient devices, putting even more strain on overloaded WiFi networks.  There have certainly been many interesting developments across the board, but these have tended to be incremental rather than game-changing.  Probably the biggest news of the year was Amadeus’ takeover of Newmarket, which may indicate a potential shake up in the established order of vendors, and this is discussed more below.
     One topic that received little coverage this year was that of cloud-based systems, indicating that it’s no longer controversial.  Some GMSs and many utility applications are available only as remotely-hosted systems, but pretty much every one on the market can now be configured that way for properties that don’t want to look after their own servers.  Some remote sites with poor communications will still be better off with an on-premise system, but the reliability and data availability of cloud-hosted systems is now proven.  The decision on whether or not to use them has become one of balancing long-term costs against greater security and peace of mind.
     The great WiFi debate also seems to have cooled off, at least towards the end of the year.  There’ll always be pressure on hotels to provide more bandwidth for guest use, but it does seem to be becoming more acceptable to charge for higher-demand uses such as streaming video.  Charging for basic access to check e-mail, however, is increasingly unacceptable to todays’ travelers, and charge-for-all-access hold-outs will face very strong pressure to either drop the charge altogether or to wrap it into room rates to make it inconspicuous.
     Hospitality made it into the wider press world again this year, not (thankfully) for guestroom door lock security issues but in the much more positive sense of creating jobs and showing strong growth.  “Inc.” magazine emphasized the largely unrecognized contribution of the hospitality industry to the country’s economic recovery through increased hiring, with four hospitality companies included in its survey of the top 100 companies for job creation from 2008 to 2011. The magazine also recognized Sceptre Hospitality Resources, UniFocus and The Rainmaker Group in its Inc. 5000 list of the nation's fastest-growing private companies.  Excellent work!