More and more guests expect their experiences with technology at hotels to be similar or even identical to how they use technology at home, and a big part of enabling that experience is greater on-property adoption of internet of things — or IoT — technologies.
To that end, industry group Hospitality Technologies Next Generation’s Internet of Things workgroup released in May two sets of guidance for better adoption of IoT technologies at hotels.
Here are some of the highlights of that guidance.
Different Types of IoT Technology
Internet of things technologies are defined as any tech used that can “be connected via internet protocols to create a holistic ecosystem.” As HTNG defines it, internet of things technologies broadly fall into three categories:
- Facilities management, which includes things like heating and lighting controls.
- Guest facing, which can include voice assistants or television set top boxes.
- Security and safety, including cameras, staff-alert devices and door locks.
While nearly all technologies today have some IoT components to them, HTNG’s workgroup noted “the business challenge hoteliers face is knowing when and how to implement an IoT solution that meets or exceeds guest expectations and/or adds operational efficiency for the hotel.”
Various Network Configurations
The HTNG IoT Protocols for Hospitality white paper notes there are various ways — both wired and wireless — of setting up networks for IoT technologies, all of which require significant front-end planning from hoteliers.
Implementation of guest-facing IoT devices in particular are in some ways similar to how consumers install them at home, but they are replicated on a massive scale across hundred or even thousands of guest rooms in a hotel-wide deployment. Because of that wider scale, hotels can’t handle their networking of the devices on a piecemeal basis because it will ultimately add costs and create security and other issues.
“Commercial environments require protocol standardization to limit the number of integration hubs required on the network, which in turn can simplify the network’s design and therefore help control cost,” the white paper reads. “This integration and cross-device compatibility requirement explains why the majority of IoT technology providers have standardized the same communication technology within the hospitality environment in order to ease integration and reduce the need for redundant network infrastructure updates.”
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