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How the hospitality industry is embracing the Internet of Things

One industry that is capitalizing greatly from the Internet of Things is hospitality.

Internet of Things hotels hospitality IoT
Credit: Thinkstock

There's no question that the Internet of Things can make an enterprise more efficient. The harmonizing of sensors, devices, and data harmonized into one system gives rise to context-aware computation and enables the environment to respond instantly to change, be it in temperature, light, movement or other factors. This not only brings numerous new opportunities, but also significant cost savings, music to the ears of today's business leaders.

But there's another side to the IoT coin. Recently, I've written about digital transformation and the impact it is having on traditional businesses. The IoT can enhance the personal experience of customers, who are mobile, connected, and eager to have more access and intelligence surrounding them.

Hospitality is an industry that can greatly benefit from the coming together of IoT and digital transformation. This includes national brand hotels, luxury resorts, and boutique hotels. This is an increasingly competitive market with all of the travel review sites, such as TripAdvisor and Yelp. In fact, my beautiful and talented wife, Christine Kerravala, just started her own travel blog site. If a customer has a bad experience, everyone knows about it. However, if the customer has a unique and differentiated experience, that also spreads like wild fire.

Because of the competitive dynamics, almost every kind of hospitality environment is looking at how deploying IoT systems can improve customer experience. IoT deployments can serve as an essential competitive differentiator as it has a broad and easily recognized impact on hotels, spanning services including entertainment, food and beverage, guest security, and many others.  

Picture being at a resort using your smartphone or even smartwatch as the door key, or a tablet to order food or book a massage at the spa or a round of golf. Better yet, 30 minutes before getting to the room, hitting a button in an application that alerts the staff of your arrival so that the temperature in your room is optimized and lights are adjusted the second the door is unlocked. This is rapidly becoming possible.

For hotels and resorts, differentiating in this area is not generally well-served by a cookie-cutter approach, as IoT technology has to be fashioned to meet distinctive differences of each facility and cater to guests in a customized fashion based on who they are and what they aspire to accomplish during their stay.

One company I've recently spoken with about the IoT for the hospitality industry is CytexOne Technology, a national solution provider based in New York City. The company is leading the charge in hospitality technology by leveraging deep experience in IoT gained over the last 14 years, integrating networks, devices, and applications to deliver "smart home" technologies to luxury apartments and similar settings. 

CytexOne has now launched a dedicated business unit targeting the hospitality industry to accelerate IoT deployments. The service handles the full lifecycle of IoT implementations, including technology design, installation and integration. The company uses best-of-breed technologies to use the best product for each application. This helps CytexOne take a "no limits" approach to helping its customers, which is highlighted by luxury resorts today. This is critical in helping the resorts create unique, differentiated services.

Just as importantly, CytexOne also offers custom platforms for continuous onsite support, with systems built into a server rack to monitor and manage the IoT solution after deployment. This provides a tangible benefit to a hotel's IT staff, who will have less distractions and confusion and can directly interact with an experienced support team should something need attention, or have the system fixed and/or upgraded remotely without missing a step.

According to Dan Levine, CytexOne CEO, the company is deeply rooted in data networking and smart building technologies, and this allows them to bring together and deploy fully managed, complex IoT solutions that hotels and resorts will benefit from month after month. This is compared to more specialized providers that may be great at one aspect of IoT, but may lack the capability to bring many different systems into one orchestrated solution.

I expect that hotels and resorts will be some of the most successful case studies for early implementations of IoT, paving the way for many other customer-facing industries, from retailers to restaurants, who will want to exploit the benefits of connecting things and people.

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