Rotana Hotels and Resorts, Hotel St. Gotthard Basel, and Kempinski Mall of the Emirates, Dubai Recognized for Creative and Innovative Applications of Existing Technology
Hotel Technology Next Generation (HTNG), the premier technology solutions association in the hospitality industry, today announced that it has recently recognized three EMEA-region hotel companies with its EMEA Technology Innovators Award for the creative and innovative application of existing technology within their hotels. The winners were Rotana Hotels and Resorts, Hotel St. Gotthard Basel, and Kempinski Mall of the Emirates, Dubai. Professor Ian Millar, of Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne, announced the winners of the 2012 EMEA Technology Innovators Award in a ceremony during HTNG’s recent European conference in Vienna.
“HTNG created this award to recognize hoteliers who most effectively use existing technologies to add significant value to their business,” commented Douglas Rice, Executive Vice President & CEO of HTNG. “Even though we’ve been impressed by the vendors’ innovations we see each year, which we recognize with our Most Innovative Hospitality Technology award, we know that innovation isn’t defined only by vendor products. Sometimes it is in how hoteliers use existing technologies.”
Ian Millar, Professor of IT in Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne, commented: “It was an excellent idea from HTNG to create the EMEA Technology Innovators Award and it was an honor to be part of the voting jury. We received many outstanding applications which made our job of deciding the eventual winners very difficult. The three winners were all well-deserved and I am looking forward to being part of this program again next year.”
The three winners of the award for 2012 each made brief presentations about their projects during the general session of the conference.
Rotana Hotels & Resorts was selected for deploying a strong IT services foundation that delivers private services via a SaaS model in a private cloud, and in countries with challenging telecommunications reliability. Rotana justified the investment by focusing on applications where underlying telecommunications reliability was less critical, initially deploying High Speed Internet, mobile profile authentication for guests, video calls from guests to the company’s contact centre, and several other support services. Samir Abi Frem, Group Director of IT, accepted Rotana’s award.
Hotel St. Gotthard Basel was selected for its identification of a Channel Blanket Technology to centrally manage the pairing of WiFi devices with access points. The technology was not new, but was not known to have been deployed elsewhere in the hotel industry. Some new WiFi standards, such as 802.11ac scheduled for completion in 2013, will provide similar capabilities, but this 95-room independent hotel didn’t wait. The solution delivered seamless roaming with planned handoff across access points and without the need for re-authentication. Co-Director Selinda Geyer accepted Hotel St. Gotthard Basel’s award.
Kempinski Mall of the Emirates, Dubai was selected for its innovative approach to providing on-demand bandwidth to guests, particularly for meetings. The hotel forged a partnership with one of the two ISPs in Dubai’s heavily controlled (and very expensive) telecommunications market, and drove the ISP to design and implement managed, end-to-end burstable bandwidth. The result allowed the hotel to provide high bandwidth on demand, without the time delay or cost of paying for it when it was not needed. They leveraged this capability by upgrading their WiFi network, more than tripling access points, and implementing a completely mobile solution for reception and front desk staff. Jeremy Ward, SVP of IT for Kempinski Hotels, accepted the award on behalf of the Dubai-based hotel team.
In addition to this award for hotelier innovation, HTNG also manages an annual innovation competition for technology providers, called the Most Innovative Hospitality Technology Award. The award just opened up entries for its fourth year of competition, for technologies released during 2012. HTNG hotelier and consultant members will vote on the winners of this competition, which HTNG will announce at its 9th annual North American Conference in Atlanta on February 28, 2013. Companies interested in entering that award program should visit www.htng.org/innovation-award for information and an entry form.
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