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.  Guests are looking to use that smarty device they keep in their pocket to control everything from the television (that rarely gets turned on, of course) to the water temperature of their morning shower.  With the desire to personalize the guest experience to the opportunity to make some sizable cost saving measures at the same time, it appears to be the perfect storm coming for the industry.  By monitoring, measuring and tracking various assets around the hotel in real-time, you can provide everything from shorter wait times at check-in, to cleaner, more energy-efficient environments for your guests.
I often evangelize that the most important part of “Internet of Things” is the “S” at the end of things.  The ability to have multiple “things” working together seamlessly is the true benefit of this IoT thing.  In the hospitality space I often look at IoT if used smartly is an excellent way to allow your front-line staff to spend more time guest facing as devices can help maintain and monitor tasks that would often take them away from being engaged with guests.  From monitoring for environmental concerns (leaks, HVAC, water temps) to working to fend off your top TripAdvisor complaints of noise, smells and anything else, IoT can be a powerful tool.
Why Now? 
The capability of connecting devices has been around for years, but the cost was prohibitive. We’re quickly approaching a time where this connectivity is no longer in the dollars but in pennies as well as the physical sensors and endpoints are dropping considerably in cost to deploy. The coming promises of 5G offer low-latency and edge computing power in the hotel, and network technology solely focused on connecting devices for cheap. It truly is coming soon.  The capabilities of LPWA (low-power wide-area wireless networks) being rolled out nationwide offer better building penetration as well as long battery-life which will ignite the sensor manufacturing world.
So, Jon Snow, will you take the knee? First, make sure you have a sound IoT strategy to build on rather than deploying one-trick-pony solutions for specific needs. Hospitality needs to adapt quickly to emerging technologies but it’s important to also make sure these new technologies play well with your existing environment and comply with data privacy requirements.  When speaking to an owner about the gee-whiz factor of a guest closing the room blinds from her cellphone and it will only cost $400 per room to implement, well, we all know what the answer from the owner will be. But if by using a sound approach we can also offer ROI in energy savings and the conversation is very different. Make sure your strategy starts with building a platform for other endpoint solutions as your IoT needs and desires grow with you. As an example, as you work to install a staff alert solution, does it also use the underlying platform for other device opportunities in the future?  
As we look forward to next month, I hope you enjoy your time at HITEC Minneapolis and regardless as to what house you hail from (except for those Greyjoy’s) keep an open eye out for the next “things” that are coming.