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Over the past six months, this column has focused mostly on hospitality technologies and issues that were triggered by COVID-19. Innovation has flourished during that time, from both established industry technology providers and from startups. At last count I had identified nearly 300 startups in the space since the beginning of the year, some of them with very interesting technologies.

As outlined in our previous article, cleanliness is dominating the headlines within the hotel industry, with a number of press releases on new initiatives from all the major chains. The landscape has transformed quickly, to help keep up with the standards this article will summarise the basic principles of cleaning and sanitisation of guest rooms and how that can be achieved quickly, easily and cost-effectively.

Decreasing Stress
Posted: 09/14/2020

Stress does not come without your invitation. It is self-induced by our perspectives of what is occurring in our lives. We all have stress, and the less of it, the more happiness you experience. Life is about living day to day.

When you are going to search “blog topic ideas”, it will not give you the interesting ones. The web is occupied with companies that have bigger budgets than you and can churn out the content every day. And if you are going to put your time into creating and promoting a blog post, and hope to get results, you need to figure out what you are best suited when it comes to the blog topics. So here is what the most recommend:

Writing this column every two weeks typically takes me on a journey of discovery. I learn about innovations, find new technologies, and look at a wide diversity of products. Inevitably this involves a lot of web research to identify both core technologies and applications, and the different vendors offering solutions.



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Apple iOS NFC Contactless Access Control (coronavirus response)

by Nick Price
The availability of NFC contactless payment (Restaurant POS, Front Desk, Kiosk), and NFC contactless access control (guest room doors, parking garages, elevators, meeting rooms, gyms, spas, front doors etc.) in hotels to reduce the need to touch shared surfaces that allow the transmission of coronavirus is both an urgent need, and an intelligent response, to one of the most significant issues that the hospitality industry has ever faced: coronavirus transmission and COVID-19 . Importantly also, NFC contactless, if widely implemented, would demonstrate that the hospitality industry has the well-being of its guests and employees front of mind once hotels start to emerge from lock-down. 

NFC payment is everywhere in Retail, via Apple Pay, Android Pay, and other similar products, as well as being the technology enabling contactless smart cards, and if the newsfeeds are to be believed, the demand for NFC contactless payment has dramatically increased since the onset of the current coronavirus pandemic (1)(2)(3)(4)(5)(6). But it's not just contactless payment that is driving NFC contactless implementation success, we now also see increasing adoption, and milestone implementations for NFC contactless, across a number of adjacent industries: Mass Transit (7)(8) , Student and Employee ID (9)(10)(11)(12) , Sports Ticketing and Event Access Control (13)(14), even Automotive contactless vehicle keys (15)(16)(17).  It is a reasonable takeaway from newsfeed after newsfeed that the time for NFC contactless technology is now, and that coronavirus and COVID-19 have only focused minds and brought forward inevitable investments to match consumer demand.  

Surprisingly however, nowhere across any of the technology or industry news feeds, do we find any mention of another equally obvious and hugely important market – Global Hospitality. The widespread acceptance of contactless mobile apps in daily life means that millions of potential hotel guests now have prior experience of using NFC contactless technology and are aware of its many benefits. Many of these potential guests must now be starting to wonder when, if ever, such capabilities will be made available in hotels. 

The global hospitality industry has been very severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic, and the travellers that are now slowly starting to rebook and appear in hotel lobbies are understandably cautious when entering shared spaces such as hotel front desks, elevators, guest rooms and restaurants. Anything that the hotel industry can do to address these obvious concerns and increase guest-confidence while staying in hotels, is a smart thing to do at this time. 

The same NFC contactless technologies now in rapid rollout in other sectors can be easily addressed to specific hotel needs such as check-in, elevator and door access control, restaurant menu and payment, and will be seen as an intelligent and reasoned response to a physical contact problem that will be with us for the foreseeable future. NFC contactless, low-cost, and quick to implement when compared against alternatives being simply RFID on a phone or watch, is a can-do, must-do-now, option for most hotels. 

There is only one problem - Apple devices: although NFC works for payment (Apple Pay), Apple has not yet extended its implementation to permit NFC Access control in hotels via the Apple Wallet. The required functionality and API's are present in the current iOS release (release 13). All that is required from Apple is its willingness to digitally authorize (via digital certificate) hotel RFID/NFC keys such that they may be added to the Apple Wallet to be used in place of physical RFID cards. (note: the key card is present in the Wallet and so there is no requirement for a hotel App to control key access. NFC access control is therefore available to all hotels - no app required). (note also that Android already provides the necessary NFC Access control capability). 

Now is the time for the hotel industry to speak with one voice and request help from Apple. This could be a game-changer. 

References: 
1.       https://www.paymentssource.com/opinion/its-not-just-coronavirus-thats-accelerating-contactless-payments 
2.      https://www.forbes.com/sites/jordanmckee/2020/05/11/contactless/ 
3.      https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/global-contactless-payments-market--covid-19-study-2020---historical-growth-estimation-deviations-due-to-the-pandemic-301042155.html 
4.      https://www.nfcw.com/2020/03/26/366173/table-contactless-payment-transaction-limit-increases-around-the-world/ 
5.      https://www.nfcw.com/2020/03/23/366122/germans-switch-to-contactless-payments-amid-coronavirus-concerns/ 
6.      https://www.pymnts.com/visa/2020/visas-new-fast-track-class-and-building-a-more-accessible-digital-world/ 
7.      https://www.nfcw.com/2019/12/02/365169/apple-pay-express-mode-rolls-out-across-london/ 
8.      https://www.nfcw.com/2020/04/14/366307/apple-pay-express-transit-payments-roll-out-to-275-cities-across-china/ 
9.      https://www.nfcw.com/2020/02/10/365725/south-dakota-state-university-rolls-out-iphone-nfc-ids/ 
10.   https://www.nfcw.com/2020/02/03/365641/mercer-university-reports-on-iphone-nfc-id-adoption/ 
11.   https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2019/08/apple-brings-contactless-student-ids-on-iphone-and-apple-watch-to-more-universities/ 
12.   https://www.hidglobal.com/solutions/access-control/hid-mobile-access-solutions 
13.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUl2BOn28So 
14.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vi5naoCH4RY 
15.   https://www.nfcw.com/2020/05/07/366483/car-connectivity-consortium-unveils-nfc-digital-key-specification/ 
16.   https://www.nfcw.com/2020/03/10/365996/nxp-launches-nfc-digital-car-key-solution/ 
17.   https://www.nfcw.com/2020/02/25/365867/apple-to-let-vehicle-owners-share-nfc-car-keys-via-messages/  
About The Author
Nick Price
CEO
NetSys Technology Limited


 
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