Mobile Devices - What's Next?

By Jason Guest Account Manager, Americas, Aptilo Networks | January 08, 2012

Smartphone use is growing by leaps and bounds, presenting opportunities as well as challenges for the hotel industry. Many are embracing these new technologies and finding ways to monetize them, as well as leverage them to encourage repeat business.

The Growth of Mobile Devices

Thanks to increased focus on creating an exceptional user experience, mobile device use has grown significantly in 2011, and 2012 promises to continue this trend: more than 90 percent of mobile phones going out on the market today have mobile web capabilities. Mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets were the highest-selling consumer electronic device category in 2011.

In addition, cloud computing is becoming a key topic that's going beyond enterprises and gaining mindshare – and use – from the consumer market. PC World magazine notes that analyst firm Forrester believes that "a new internet is evolving – dominated by applications and now placing a strain on the technology supporting it." As cloud computing grows, so will your need to provide the widest pipes of bandwidth possible to accommodate guests who are relying on their mobile devices for not just leisure use, but business applications as well.

Solving the Bandwidth Problem

How can hotels manage the bandwidth problem? If you're building out a new network infrastructure, it is critical to implement a service management solution right from the start. Service management is where services are defined and personalized, and policies are enforced to control which users access the Internet, their service level and billing.

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Eco-Friendly Practices: Corporate Social Responsibility

The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.