Hotel TV and The Future – Part Two

3rd April 2020

Managing Connections and Identity

The first post I made on this subject is here and talks about the succesful #LinkedInLive broadcast I did with FunnelTV. While the focus was guest room technology in 2020 we focussed almost totally on Hotel TV. The topic became so interesting and the excellent feedback from our viewers meant we stayed pretty much at the top of our agenda. What’s amazing, is we’ve got much more to say in the future.

This post is part of that future, in fact it is part two, where we continue our discussion on Hotel TV. Now we are focussing on managing connections and identity!

If you, like me, think sharing of knowledge is beneficial, please get in touch. I’d love to be able to facilitate the sharing of knowledge through my site, blog and FunnelTV.

A Hotel Technology & Travel Technology blog by HotelTCS. Every week we cover topics concerning Technology in the Hospitality Industry. Looking at subjects such as IPTV, HSIA, WiFi, GPON and IoT, we give you the insider info on Smart Hotels and Intelligent Hotel Deployments. Subscribe below for updates!

Just a reminder, we were joined by the following excellent guests:

Enzo Aita – FunnelTV

Christoph Hutter – FunnelTV & Revenue Consultant

James Harrison – HotelTCS

Nick Price – NetSys

Darren King – ROOMNET

Hannu Vahokoski – Hotelway

Joe Griffin – Hotelway

Hotel TV Part Two

As I said before, the long agenda went out the window. So here’s part two, all about managing connections and identity in Hotel TV.

The Home Like Experience

One of the biggest challenges of providing a Hotel TV system that will wow the guests is providing a solution that acts just like their systems at home. This obviously has challenges, because as Nick alludes to later in the video, you are essentially creating 100/200/300 “homes” within a hotel.

It is in fact an expectation by guests that you will enable them to access their own content. Easily.

How Do We Make It easy To Access Hotel TV Content – Identity

For most guests, accessing content through an app is second nature. The problem we have in a hotel is we need another step to get the content on the screen. We discussed BYOC and BYOD in the last post, but whichever option you go with there is another action required from the guest. This is the part that is unfamiliar. Whether it is casting content or logging into another device.

It’s clear that people will always be concerned about entering credentials. What is key is that a solution provider should have a two-pronged approach to the wiping of credentials:

  1. Through a PMS link the credentials should be automatically wiped when the room is checked out.
  2. The guest should have access to an app on the system that allows wiping of credentials, or a reset of the system. This lets a guest test that the credentials are wiped for their own peace of mind.

Coming back to apps being second nature. Many smart TV’s, STB’s and smart dongles now offer access to apps, that is clear. But when it comes to the login, they have taken the ease of login a step further.

First connect your phone or tablet to the same network as the display. In a hotel this is most likely the hotel WiFi. Launching an app on the display should ask you to launch the same app on your device. You will then be presented a pairing code which you can enter on your device, and voila! The credentials are transferred and you are connected. This makes the connection very easy for those who can never remember their passwords!

This seamless login approach, complimented by a solid PMS connection is the basis for managing identity.

How Do We Make It easy To Access Hotel TV Content – Connection

Put the book down! The Guest directory was always the in-room bible. A leather (or plastic) bound book of delights detailing every service and solution contained within the hotel. Room service menu, spa services, restaurants, bars and anything else you can think of, had its details listed in here.

Over time the guest directory was digitised. Many hotels took the option to move all this information to the TV system. This had many advantages. It was easy to update on the fly, reduced printing costs and was kinder to the environment. Many boxes ticked.

However, the guest directory remained, and one of the first things you would find in there was? How to connect to the WiFi/TV! Funny that the guest directory remained to service the solution that was supposed to replace it.

As we discussed in the video, if your guests need a guide to show them how to do something they do all the time at home, your solution probably isn’t fit for purpose.

Personal Area Network

Personal area network is a phrase I have heard a lot during my many years in the hospitality technology space. There is already lots of detailed info out there, but the basics are mirroring the idea of a home network.

The idea of a personal area network is to allow a guest in a room to access everything in the room in which they stay, but nothing else. This means seamlessly connecting to WiFi, accessing messaging services, content mirroring, connect casting, controlling smart room devices, accessing interactive services, interacting with smart speakers, and anything else within the room.

Of course, while granting all this access is great, it must be secure. You want the guest to access everything in their room for sure, but nowhere else. You also need to ensure that no one else can get in. This is the aim behind the personal are network.

The challenge of course, is doing this when you have hundreds of “homes” to manage.

Better Together

It was noted during the call that actually it is possible for BYOC and BYOD solutions to co-exist. This then offers the guest a choice of connecting in the way they feel most comfortable. Guest may prefer to login where they are staying longer.

Key Take Aways

  • Rooms should be setup using Personal Area Networks – Creating each room as a unique “home”
  • PMS Integration should compliment the guests own ability to clear their credentials
  • Credential management solutions within apps should be explored and enabled where secure to do so, for ease of connection for the guest
  • BYOD & BYOC can co-exist

Thanks As Always

I say this every time, but thanks to the over 500 live viewers we got during the show and all those who commented, you were fantastic! The interaction makes the knowledge sharing so worthwhile. I’d also love to hear people’s suggestions on what else we should cover. Let me know in the comments below!

In a coming series over posts of the next 2 weeks I will cover in more depth what we talked about, for those who missed it. Make sure you subscribe to our mailing list to keep up to date with all the latest posts! Remember to add to your safe senders list!

Hospitality tech VLOG

If you want to see more of the recordings, they are now up on my Youtube Channel The HotelTCS Hospitality tech VLOG! Click the button below to subscribe and view!

Hospitality tech VLOG Logo - Where we talk about Hotel TV

I hope you are all a passionate as I am about sharing the knowledge. watch out over the coming days and weeks for more posts on the fascinating topic of Hotel TV. Please also connect with me on LinkedIn and follow HotelTCS for even more conversation and knowledge sharing!

Also, please check out some of my other articles, such as “A Hotel is Just a Building”“Can Intelligent Hotels find their voice?” and “The Fate of Hotel HSIA”. The latter being referenced in the VLOG!

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