Use of mobile devices in hotels and over the clouds

As visitor, consumers, travelers, new employee or patients we are again in situations where we need help, assistance, or just someone or something which still our fears or just a tiny information – where is what, who is in charge, etc etc

And we all know these small folded brochures sometimes nice – but all too often hackneyed and with incomplete or out-dated information – and if you are abroad again and again a test and check whether the copy-writer and translator was as good as he said or whether you really know the foreign language as good and as complete as you thought.

We have all visited a location and thumbed through the ‘welcome kit’ - which should usually include all of the information about the property. Haven’t you ever wished about moving this experience to a tablet device?
The Nielsen Cross-Platform Report for 2014 (http://www.nielsen.com/content/dam/corporate/us/en/reports-downloads/2014%20Reports/nielsen-cross-platform-report-march-2014.pdf ) showed that tablet users spend 81% of their media time on mobile apps, versus only 19% of time on websites.

In addition to users spending more time on mobile apps, on the one hand the number of mobile devices increases from month to month and it’s noticing more companies providing devices for their visitors, consumers, employees - right up to airlines and hotels who provide in-plane and in-room tablets for their guests to use during their flight or stay.



For reasons that are easy to understand as expert for retail, aviation, travel and health care business I see a number of benefits. And as I focused my last article on retail I will switch today to the tourist accommodation industry and airlines.

Hotels & Accommodation 

Benefits for the providing accommodation and the guests:

Potent and forceful upselling tool

One revenue driving feature for hotels will be the option for travelers to place room-service orders directly from the tablet, without ever having to pick up the phone. Such an ordering feature enables the hotel to tailor the content or ‘just’ the chronology of the menu. This possible in advance because the user is known e.g. the guest is well known by former visits or by use of social media information or in real-time after a guest selects a menu option. For example, the guest wants to order fish, after putting the grilled salmon in his cart he’ll see a suggestion to add seasonal fruits or a white wine to that order.

Optimize Housekeeping & Room Service

Equivalent to upselling when a guest is ordering room service or housekeeping for a certain time, such an application makes it so much easier for the guest and the hotel – it allows the provider to optimize the process for needs, processes and schedule. And a benefit for the guest is that once he requested either room service or housekeeping, the guest can track the status through the app.

Better Service

We are living in a fast growing and changing world – and the guest base becomes more and more international? Translation and communication issues will be enormously reduced when the guests are using the app. Guests can select their mother language, and proceed to review all information in that ‘their’ language. E.g. the guest can change the language setting to German and the reception or kitchen will get the request in English. This eliminates a language barriers, misunderstandings and stress for each one.

And finally I like to mention that once there is such an app there will be less revision and completion costs and the provider can run real-time analytic.




1st side note
And if you like to think broader and wider these both articles might be interesting for one or two ...
Visions - upcoming and current capabilities
Microsoft's vision for the upcoming years



Side note 2014/08/19:
A few days after I published this article I saw this design approach by Mike Pell ...







... my hint, check it out if you're interested in visionary hotel interior design ideas or interactive windows and surfaces at all :   http://futuristic.com/2014/08/18/design-problem-personalized-hotel-room/




Airlines & Aviation

From Buy-on-Board applications to creating a paperless cabin, more and more airlines are embracing the tablet as a game-changing inflight operations device. Airlines such as American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, British Airways, Emirates, Qatar Airways, Swiss and others have armed their flight attendants with tablets.





Delta Air Lines

Delta Air Lines equipped more than 20,000 flight attendants with phablets. (A phablet a combination of the words phone and tablet, is a class of mobile device designed to combine or straddle the functions of a smartphone and tablet. Phablets typically have screens that measure between 5.01 and 6.9 inches diagonally )
The flight attendants will start using the handheld Nokia Lumia 1520 phablets end of 2014. The airline says the phablets will help the attendants provide more personalized customer service.
The phablet is a great basis for upcoming software applications which will allow Delta’s flight attendants to readily access customer preferences ( meal orders, passengers' frequent flier status, special needs, … etc. ) , previous travel experiences with Delta and worldwide connectivity to the company, enabling them to provide more tailored experience many customers have.

And Delta Air Lines equipped its 11,000 pilots with electronic flight bags using the Microsoft Surface 2 tablet. Device rollout to pilots flying the Boeing 757 and Boeing 767 fleets will start later this year and all Delta cockpits are projected to be paperless by the end of 2014. It will provide flight crews real-time access to essential tools and the most up-to-date flight-related resources including key charts, reference documents and checklists while saving the airline $13 million per year in fuel and associated costs.



In the coming years, Delta plans to expand the functionality of the EFB equipment and increase the efficiency of the operation by providing pilots with electronic dispatch and flight release information, access to real-time weather forecasts, up-to-the-minute operational information and dynamic communication with aircraft technicians on the ground.



American Airlines

American Airlines began tablet roll out to flight attendants 2012





Spring Airlines

Google Glass
Chinese low-cost carrier Spring Airlines equipped their cabin crew with Google Glass one month ago in June 2014. I would love to tell you more but Spring Airline just mentioned that the attendants can just see the name and seat number of passengers.

Smartwatch
Already in March 2014, Spring Airline also carried out a trial that allowed passengers at its Shanghai Pudong hub who wore a smart watch to board their flights easier and quicker.
By their smartwatches they check in, pass security check and board flights using the 2D barcode.
Passengers could also view real-time flight status as long as they synchronizing their boarding pass information on their smart watches. Spring at the time mentioned it is developing a dedicated app for smart watches.



And there are more innovations on its way.

Unfortunately, the 'classic' smartphone has encountered some issues for everyday use; in particular that it’s too small in the most cases - content and features have to be adjust to a minimum.
While tablets are a strong alternative to smartphones, a lack of true telecommunication capabilities have them also missing an important specification - and the more and more often to find phablets might reduce these issues.

But if we look at the following innovation - bigger is not always the only way in order to solve the problem.

SITA, an IT company from Switzerland, develops or developed a Google Glasses solution for Virgin Atlantic's concierges.







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