Technology

HTNG To Celebrate Five Years Of Progress At HITEC(R) 2007

Certification, New White Papers, New Integration Projects, and New Products designed to HTNG Specifications

Hotel Technology Next Generation Hotel Technology Next Generation (HTNG), which was founded at the HITEC conference five years ago this month, today announced its plans to showcase, at this year's HITEC conference in Orlando June 25-28, its progress across the entire spectrum of technologies used by hotels.

HTNG was founded in 2002 to bring hoteliers and technology vendors together to challenges that were too great for any one company to effectively address. Today, HTNG boasts nearly 400 member companies and 1,400 engaged hotel technologists. Of these 400 companies, more than 120, of every size and from every segment of the industry, are active participants in HTNG's focused workgroups.

At HITEC this year, the HTNG exhibit will provide opportunities for hoteliers and technology vendors alike to meet with the key buyers who oversee HTNG's mission, including CIOs and CTOs of major hotel companies. HTNG will also host informal sessions with active participants from each of its five workgroups, where hoteliers and technology providers alike can stop by to learn more from the volunteers who are driving HTNG's efforts. A complete schedule of events will be distributed prior to HITEC, and will also be displayed prominently in HTNG's booth #373.

'The activity levels in our workgroups over the past year has been enormous,' says Douglas Rice, Executive Vice President and CEO of HTNG. 'With nearly twenty different workgroups and focused subteams meeting regularly, many industry participants - even a lot of our active members - are not aware of the full breadth of HTNG's activities or accomplishments. At HITEC this year, our presence will enable attendees to gain a high-level overview, and will also provide opportunities for detailed discussions with many of the key individuals from the hotel and vendor community who have volunteered their time and skills to help move our industry forward through HTNG.'
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New at HITEC 2007 - Certification

HTNG's certification program is now fully operational, with seven products already having been certified, and dozens of other companies planning to complete the process in coming months. This is the industry's first program that certifies compliance of technology products against industry standards of interoperability and design. The information available to buyers and to other vendors provides assurance that products can interface easily, and delineates the key functions that each certified product can support.

Newly certified to HTNG's Property/Distribution Solution 2007a specification in time for HITEC are IDeaS, Inc.'s IDeaS V5i Version 3.1, and TRUST International's TRUST Voyager and TRUST Connect v1.0. IDeaS and TRUST International join Easy (Ez) Revenue Management Solutions and PAR Springer-Miller Systems, which certified key products against this specification earlier this year. In addition, three companies (OpenCourse Solutions, PAR Springer-Miller Systems, and TAC GmbH) are certified to HTNG's Property Web Services 2007a specification.

New at HITEC 2007 - Guest Room Technology

HTNG's In-Room Technology workgroup, with more than 60 active member companies, will report progress on several fronts.

• It will release a buyers' guide to next generation entertainment systems, designed to help hotel decision makers unravel the many technical issues involved in upgrading from analog to digital and high-definition television.

• Also newly released will be a hotelier's guide to converged wireless systems using DAS (Distributed Antenna System) technologies. Still largely unfamiliar to the hotel industry but available from several vendors, DAS systems may offer many hotels a cost-effective opportunity to deploy a single wireless infrastructure that not only supports guest wireless Internet access, but also boosts mobile phone signals, and supports back-of-house devices, guestroom devices, and other radio frequency applications.

• The workgroup is making progress on the design of a single guest-room cordless IP telephone. Designed to reduce the number of handsets and phone lines required in a hotel room, the specifications target affordability in different market segments ranging from midpriced to luxury hotels.

• Several members will be demonstrating transparency of call billing on IP telephone handsets. This capability is designed to restore trust with guests with respect to the cost of telephone calls, by displaying the true cost of a call on the IP phone display - prospectively before the call is made, during the call, or after it is complete.

• Continued progress will be evident on the HTNG all-in-one set-top box design. Among other benefits, this effort will enable hotels to deploy a consistent user interface in all hotels globally, while working with regional VoD providers. VoD vendors who adopt the specification will simplify connectivity to other guest-room devices, allowing the vendor to realize infrastructure and interface cost savings to benefit their hotel customers.

New at HITEC 2007 - Hotel Systems Integration

• The HTNG Property Web Services workgroup has completed and is now certifying its single-guest itinerary specification, which enables interconnectivity and exchange between the specialized systems that book guest appointments, such as spa, golf, concierge, dining, ski, and other activities. Appointments can flow seamlessly among systems to provide a consolidated view and management by hotel staff and guests.

• The same workgroup has completed the HTNG Web Services Framework 2.0 specification, which provides a standardized means of communicating via web services between any two compliant systems. The Web Services Framework is a foundation-level specification, usable with all HTNG web services, and is based on widely accepted technology industry standards supported by major platform vendors and development toolkits. The synchronous version is available for certification now; the asynchronous version will be finalized before HITEC and is expected to be incorporated in the Property Web Services 2007b certification specification later this year.

• The same workgroup is completing its first specification for back office integration. With active participation from several leading back-office system providers, this effort will vastly simplify connectivity between property systems (PMS, POS) and back-office accounting and ERP systems. The back office team expects to have specifications ready for the HTNG certification program by the end of the third quarter.

• This workgroup has also nearly completed a digital signage integration specification, which will enable any supporting sales/catering system to work seamlessly with any compliant digital signage system. Certification is also expected in the third quarter. Several major digital signage providers are actively supporting this effort.

New at HITEC 2007 - Distribution Technology

• HTNG's Property/Distribution Solution workgroup has completed its interoperability specification for reservations processing and rate/availability updates. Many vendor products are now HTNG-certified or in the process of becoming certified.

• HTNG's Distribution Content Management workgroup has completed an initial draft of a specification to support the distribution of content (text, photos, maps, videos, etc.) from hotels to distribution channels. The specification is expected to be ready for certification later this year, and is expected to greatly simplify the task of ensuring that distribution channels have up-to-date content for the hotels they are selling.

Come Visit HTNG's 'Open Tent' at HITEC 2007

HTNG is designed to benefit every buyer and every seller of hospitality technology. The organization's 'rules of fair play' ensure that large and small companies alike can participate and benefit on an equal footing based only on effort, commitment, and results. Hoteliers and vendors alike are invited to visit HTNG at HITEC booth #373 to meet key hotel technology executives or to find out more about HTNG's workgroup activities. Refreshments will be available each morning, and an end-of-show cocktail reception will start at noon on Thursday.

About Hotel Technology Next Generation

The premier technology solutions association in the hospitality industry, HTNG is a self-funded, non-profit organization with global scope. HTNG members include leading hotel and hospitality companies, technology vendors serving the hospitality market, and other industry members including consultants, media, and academic experts. HTNG's members participate in focused workgroups to bring to market open solution sets addressing specific business problems and needs. The HTNG certification program provides a 'seal of assurance' for products that conform to HTNG specifications.

Currently nearly 400 corporate and individual members from across this spectrum are active HTNG participants. Workgroup proceedings, drafts, and specifications are published for all HTNG members as soon as they are created, encouraging rapid and broad adoption. Specifications are released to the public domain when they are approved for certification or when the workgroup has completed its work, typically after no more than 18 months. For more information, visit www.htng.org.



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