Securing the hotel room of the future

July 9, 2012
New technologies poised to change guest experience

Hotel rooms are ready to go high-tech with new security products that can enhance the guest experience.

As the organization Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP) prepared the 2012 guestroom exhibit Guestroom 20X for last week’s HITEC tradeshow, the group sought new ways to make the room more modern, efficient and self-serviced.

HFTP calls the developments showcased in the Guestroom 20X , “game-changing for the hospitality industry, opening a new avenue for delivering personal guest services efficiently and with ease.”

Tim Shea, global president of VingCard Elsafe, an ASSA ABLOY company, said the future of hotel technology is unclear, but moving forward requires a certain factor. “The key thing is to provide something that’s valuable to the person that uses it, the person that administers it and the person that supplies it,” said Shea, whose firm’s technology is one of many showcased in the futuristic room.

When first entering the room, guests will be able to open the door’s Mobile Key Solution lock using VingCard Elsafe’s VISIONLINE wireless software, RFID and mobile-friendly NFC technology. Using these integrations, guests securely receive their room number and room key via PC or web-enabled cell phones, ultimately bypassing the front desk during check-in and check-out.

While they are at the door, guests will find Axxess Industries’ IP Video Intercom. It replaces the more commonly used peephole. With video capability, the intercom can be routed to any SIP capable device in the room, including video phones. With IP connectivity, guests can answer the intercom using their mobile phones.

Deeper in the room, guests who wish to secure their items will find VingCard Elsafe’s Infinity II safe. It’s a high-tech safe which works with an RFID contactless, electronic lock to provide anti-cloning technology. The safe features four unique solutions; a hook-style interlocking mechanism, extended solid steel bolt hinges and a solid piece, cold-pressed curved steel door to provide additional strength.

Shea said security technology has been a long-time development, but not implemented in hospitality – until now.

“We’re seeing a technological revolution in hotels,” he said. “In a short period of time, RFID has become prevalent in four or five star hotels, but now, it’s beginning to move into mid-range hotels.”

As guests become more familiar with the room, they will notice the SafeAwake Smoke Alarm Aid. The smoke alarm uses sound recognition technology to alert guests when a smoke detector is activated. The device emits a low frequency sound, flashes a bright white light and sets off a bed shaker to alert guests, especially those with hearing problems.

A final security enhancement to the guest room is Ovation Networks’ EcoManaged, an energy management system. With Wi-Fi monitoring, the system measures and detects CO2 in the room and adjusts the room temperature as necessary.

Although these enhancements are beneficial to hotels worldwide, some wonder whether hotels are buying the technology and ultimately, implementing them.

However, Shea said the current technology-driven society is well-positioned to install new products.

“Technology is changing, customers are embracing,” he said, “and that’s a win-win situation.”