Five takeaways from HITECtx
It was a big week in Houston, my voice has returned to normal. Mark & I are sorting through a stack of business cards and mulling over some of the things we saw.
1. Communications platforms did really well at e20X
As Mark (Testbed Vegas co-founder) was also on the Entrepreneur 20x judging panel we talked about the winners BOTH being communications platforms and what comms means to hotel revenue and operational efficiencies.
reply.ai won the judges award with its customer-facing bots, and Beekeeper the popular vote with its workforce communications platform.
2. Accurate indoor mapping enables many things
After Travel Tech Con I posted about Loud Steps, indoor navigation for the visually impaired. I was very interested in Jibestream (My personal fav in the Entrepreneur 20X competition) and their platform to build accurate indoor mapping, with uses for asset tracking, security, navigation, ADA, venue discovery and location-specific promotions.
Accurate mapping is an enabler for other technologies, and the solutions built on those technologies. Like, beacons to locate mobile POS terminals in a large resort, or TUG the autonomous robot moving linen to every floor ready for the next days housekeeping.
3. I really should think at scale when it comes to Hospitality Tech
I’m not from a hospitality background. When I walked past the SMARTLINENstand it left me wondering, why a hotel would even consider having “smart” linen?
I get it now, RFID tag is sewn into the linen, used for asset tracking…great!
However, when Mark filled me in on each room having 4 sets of linen, often having laundry services contracted out, I started to think of the scale of the problem in Vegas 148,000 rooms x 4 sets of linen with occupancy averaging at 86% — OK, WOW!
So, when I saw the ORBITAL SYSTEMS “Smart” Shower I was better prepared for thinking of it’s impact at scale.
4. Re-defining the Guest Room Experience
After being a joint winner of Marriott EU’s first accelerator, which involved a bootcamp with access to a property to “test” our product, the process and our research left me more interested in the room as a whole experience that I can personalize and If I need to communicate it is done simply without having to remember the right set of magic words, or use what is really just a non-linear “smarter” IVR.
Too often guest room lighting is not great. Tired eyes from use of digital devices has become more of a recognized issue, and we all know the effects on our sleep when we’ve changed time zones.
I didn’t see a vendor at HITEC, but the chroma-therapy lighting at Shade Hotels was a great experience after a long haul flight from Australia late last year.
I never thought the technology existed to cancel noise for an entire room — neat!
What I like the most though is with the nightingale product I don’t have to think or interact with it, I stay in a room and it does its job and my space is my own.
Redesign the clock-radio
I’m not going to lie, I really like the retro-futuristic look of the NONSTOP’s products…and they’re based in Nevada! A forward looking set of features (wireless charging), while keeping the essential controls simple.
Display Panels not TVs
I can’t remember the last time I turned on a TV in a guest room. I like the way Samsung is going with this. High-quality panel as a work of art, that the guest chooses to interact with or not. My snaps don’t do this technology justice.
5. Am I Losing My Edge? -Nah!
Instead of attending the HITEC opening party, I went to a small event Klaus Kohlmayr arranged. Lots of great, super nice, passionate founders with great products. It was a great opportunity to connect with people who’s products are gaining momentum.
I couldn’t help but think of the lyrics from LCD Soundsystem’s debut single “Losing My Edge” at the time.
I’m losing my edge to better-looking people
With better ideas and more talent
And they’re actually really, really nice
🙂 No envy on my part, just an appreciation for their drive and really looking forward to seeing where their journey takes them.