HITEC 2018 was another great show and I attended several very good educational sessions. Here are a few of the interesting things I saw walking the tradeshow floor at HITEC Houston.

First up is an Electric Vehicle Charging Station from Noodoe EV. Electric vehicle charging has a growing customer base today and hotels need to find an effective way to recoup investments in charging stations if they want to provide that service. Noodoe EV provides several ways for guests to use their stations. RFID cards can be sold to guests to activate the charging stations with one time, one day or multiple day passes. Event organizers can get a block of access codes for attendees to use the chargers and have the cost billed back to the event. Pay at the station capability allows transient visitors to charge their cars using credit cards, Apple Pay and Android Pay. Once installed Noodoe helps the hotel market the service by registering the hotel with booking websites, maps, directories, apps and navigation systems.

Orbital Systems provides a closed loop shower system that recirculates filtered and sanitized water that the company claims saves up to 90 percent water savings and 80 percent energy savings. The system collects the water from the drain, filters it using micron filters, sanitizes it using UV light, reheats the water to the guest’s desired temperature and provides it back to the guest from a rain shower head. I was told that the computer analyzes the water to determine if it is re-useable; water that is not, is discarded. The system is limited to new construction as the equipment must be built into the wall and floor of each bathroom shower and you must use their fixtures which some interior designers may not like. It may still be early days for such radical water saving approaches for guests but, in areas with expensive water such as island resorts, this may be viable. Although aimed at guests, I could see these being used for staff accommodation also. Naturally there is a cloud management/usage analysis application.

Suntap provides waterproof, solar powered USB charging stations that the vendor says charges devices at wall outlet speeds. Stations have 8 hours of battery back up for shaded conditions during part of the day although I was told stations work in cloudy situations as long as they are not blocked by a building. This allows you to provide USB charging for guest devices at any outdoor location where there is no electrical service. They are lightweight and appear to be resilient. Currently they offer 2 USB 2.x sockets but I’m sure 3.0 sockets will not be long in coming.

Novility provides training modules using motion tracking technology for hotels to instruct staff in the best ergonomic approaches to activities such as public area cleaning and valet/luggage services. This helps staff learn the most efficient and physically safe ways to carry out these tasks before they must do this on the job. A friend at a hotel that has glass showers says they are finding that housekeeping staff are more injury-prone when they don’t know the correct way to clean the showers. The product may reduce time off work due to injuries and reduce worker compensation claims.

Rhombus Systems provide an enterprise class IP camera system using IP66 rated cameras that store 15 days of the images locally on each camera. As server storage is not required, which also reduces network bandwidth requirements, there is, according to Rhombus, a 40 percent lower cost of an IP camera system than more traditional systems. Images can be stored centrally through a cloud app, but this is not necessary. You can query the cameras locally as needed, searching across locations, and view images using their apps or a browser. It includes all the typical security levels, management controls and intelligent alerts. This will be of value where hotels cannot afford large scale IP systems or want a small more cost-effective IP system for a remote location to supplement existing systems.

Kallpod provides freestanding Wi-Fi based pods containing one to three push buttons that guests use to connect with smartwatch devices staff wear so that a guest can request a service. For example, a guest at a beach chaise lounge could order a drink or a guest in a busy bar could order another round of drinks or request the cheque without the staff having to go to the table. Guests in private cabanas can order service only when they want it. An NFC interface allows guests to order more items from a virtual button menu that comes up on the guest’s handheld device. Kallpod can also be used by restaurants to tell servers their orders are up, keeping them in the restaurant where the customers are, always a challenge in food service.
I look forward to HITEC 2019 in Minneapolis.