Mobile Technology Challenges - Software as a "Next" Practice
By James Mustarde Marketing Director, Twisted Pair Solutions | April 15, 2012
As hospitality organizations invest in next-generation technologies, automating guest rooms for example, to take advantage of the latest wireless technologies including voice-over-Wi-Fi and video-over-IP, it is fascinating that many don't consider the same advancements to power their communications and operations architectures. For years, software applications, long commoditized by consumer demand, have driven a communication revolution – those applications can now provide a true gateway to more effective, immediate and guest service-oriented communications.
Indeed, we live in a world where "there is an app for that." Mobile devices are smart and they're getting smarter. Operating systems juggle various applications at once, making it possible for people to look up show times and discuss them with friends in real-time while navigating their way to the closest theater. We are hungry consumers of information and completely reliant on our smartphones and must-have tablets.
Commercial enterprises have followed suit, discovering that there are cost savings and productivity enhancements to be had by embracing technologies that are already bundled with their mobile work forces. Optimizing your mobile workforce (like with Astea mobile workforce management ) can help meet and exceed continuously increasing customer expectations for service. Sophisticated new software applications make it possible for enterprises to run various mobile devices over any network, allowing workers to contribute to a unified cause from any device of their choice. Still, the hospitality industry has lagged behind. For the most part, they still base their mobile operations on dated two-way radios and believe the primary value cell phones deliver to their mobile work force is the ability to place calls.
With that being said, the evolution of communication in hospitality is less about actual device capabilities and more about how organizations equip their devices for productivity gains and guest relations enhancements. Software applications, designed to take advantage of powerful off-the-shelf smartphones, tablets and other communications devices, are giving hotels newfound capabilities including the ability to share voice, video, presence and data instantaneously, all while leveraging their existing communications networks. This more integrated approach to communication, supported via new cloud-based services and on premise software applications, will serve as the foundation for critical cost savings and competitive advantages, allowing hotels to accomplish more as they are encouraged to spend less.
For those managing or performing routine tasks in these highly dispersed and diverse hospitality environments, unified communications enhances real-time situational awareness, leading to better informed decision making, strengthened emergency response and improved agility to respond to guests' needs – the nuts and bolts of profitability.
As it is now however, the hospitality industry is wrought with communications challenges, especially with regard to mobile technology. For years, this mobile workforce has been tied to expensive push-to-talk two-way radios and limited functionality cell phones. Historically speaking, both forms of mobile communication have had only one purpose – to deliver voice. The largest obstacle with these devices, however, is that they do not integrate with other communications systems well, if at all. Today, various software delivery methods, such as cloud-based communications services and cutting edge applications housed on-site, actually compliment these devices and extend their scope and functionality.