July 29, 2014

In this issue…

People on the Move

Guest Management Systems

Reservations

Marketing / Management

Revenue Management

Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning

Guest Services

Back Office

Engineering

Communications / Infrastructure

JULY 8 – 29, 2014

TOP O’ THE NEWS

  • Smart phone key concept gets a boost from Hilton’s planned upgrade of its HHonors app
  • HTNG launches three new workgroups
  • Back up your photos; your grandchildren will thank you.

The push to have guests’ smart phones act as their guestroom keys received a major boost this week from Hilton, which announced plans to add individual room selection and guestroom key functionality to its HHonors application over the next couple of years.
Individual room selection isn’t a new concept, of course; Hilton itself tried it in 2008 with its Homewood Suites brand, Hetras showcased it (in 3D form) in its first product release and Indra’s TMS currently offers it. It will be interesting to see how Hilton implements it on a phone’s small screen; some form of parameter entry would seem to be essential to make it fast and intuitive. That’s especially so given Hilton’s caveat that guests will be able to choose a room from a floor plan “or a list of available rooms,” which without some guidance seems rather like taking a blind stab at finding a decent room.
There’ll also need to be careful integration with the hotel’s guest management and housekeeping systems to make sure the booked room is actually available at check-in. Restricting the selection function to the day before arrival obviously helps, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Hilton eventually followed the airline-seat model and allowed higher-tier loyalty members to reserve a specific room at the time of booking. Hilton aims to have this implemented for all 4,000+ hotels worldwide by the end of the year.
The room key feature won’t begin implementation until next year, presumably to allow time for a decent number of the locks in those 650,000+ doors to be upgraded to handle it, a massive effort. Four US brands are planned to be ready by the end of 2015, with global roll-out complete by the end of 2016. In the meantime guests can check-in on-line and pick up their key from the front desk, an essential option anyway for families.
Hilton didn’t say what technology it had chosen for this, only that it’s “proprietary”, but for it to work on the majority of smart phones it’s a safe bet that it’s either Bluetooth LE or 2D bar codes similar to airline boarding passes. The latter seems like it would be more cumbersome to install; BLE is a cleaner and less obtrusive approach, but doubts have been expressed about its security. Hilton would only say that security is on a par with magnetic-stripe cards, which may or may not be reassuring. Either way, given the general public’s demonstrated preference for convenience over security where the Internet and phones are concerned, phone-based keys are definitely on their way.
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HTNG has announced an Above Property Systems Workgroup, aimed at producing a framework of best practices for implementing cloud-based systems on critical issues such as data ownership, security, termination rights and support.
Two other new workgroups have been chartered, one for Lightweight Messaging to address the growing use of JSON-based APIs for mobile applications and one for Virtual (single use) Credit Cards
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Finally, this has nothing to do with hotel technology, but what do you do with all the photos on your phone? Do you back them up somewhere safe? Do you have any kind of filing/keyword approach that lets you find specific shots when you want to share them? Most of us don’t, or at least don’t do a very good job of it, putting us in danger of becoming what photographer Kevin Gilbert calls The Lost Generation. I strongly recommend that you take 16 minutes to watch his Tedx talk (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agtMHGoEh4U); it’s engaging, funny, has some wonderful images, will probably start you thinking really hard, and it’s sure to start your day with a smile. Your grandchildren will thank you. Thanks to photographer and blogger Scott Kelby for making me aware of this.
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PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

  • JP Hebert joins Eleven Wireless as Director of Emerging Markets and Channels
  • David Dvorak hired by Cendyn Arcaneo as VP Strategic Accounts
  • Daphne Dickson promoted to VP Customer Satisfaction at hotel SystemsPro
  • Katherine Stewart promoted to VP Hotel Performance at hotel SystemsPro
  • Angie Dobney is Rainmaker’s new VP Pricing and Revenue Management Services

Jean Pascal (JP) Hebert has joined Eleven Wireless as Director of Emerging Markets and Channels. Prior to joining Eleven, Mr. Hebert was Vice President of Business Development at Elfiq Networks; he had earlier held senior sales positions within Symantec and McAfee, and led Sybari Software in Canada until it was acquired by Microsoft.
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David Dvorak has been hired by Cendyn Arcaneo into the newly created role of Vice President, Strategic Accounts. He was most recently Vice President of Catering and Event Management for Starwood Hotels & Resorts, and earlier served as Director of Convention and Event Services at WelcomHotels | Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers. Previous positions include Executive Director of Convention and Banquet operations at both Bally’s and Paris Las Vegas, Director of Convention Services at the New York Hilton, Executive Vice President of Housing and Registration for Conference Direct and a Meeting Planner with the National Association of Fleet Administrators.
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Daphne Dickson has been promoted to Vice President of Customer Satisfaction at hotel SystemsPro, which she joined nine years ago. Ms. Dickson started her hotel career as catering manager for a large full-service property in Atlanta.
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Katherine Stewart has been promoted to Vice President of Hotel Performance at hotel SystemsPro. Before joining the company ten years ago, Ms. Stewart was Task Force Sales and Internet Prospecting Consultant for Interstate Hotels; she also has extensive experience in multi-property operations and general manager roles.
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Angie Dobney is The Rainmaker Group’s new Vice President of Pricing and Revenue Management Services.  Starting her career in hotel operations, she later worked for Springer-Miller Systems and Newmarket International. She then spent seven years as Executive Director of Revenue Management with the Hard Rock Hotel, Las Vegas, then joined Station Casinos as Corporate Director of Revenue Management before starting hospitality consultancy The Dobney Group.
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GUEST MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

  • La Quinta implements MSI’s CloudConnect to link GMSs at 830 hotels to its Web site
  • MSI releases two-way CloudPM interface with InnLink CRS
  • Rydges selects CheckMate for 49 properties
  • Worldhotels names protel as a Partner Software Provider
  • Point Pleasant Lodge implements Northwind’s Maestro Web
  • FJB Hotels implements Guestline’s web-based suite for four hotels
  • H10 Hotels selects Indra’s Travel Management Suite for all front office functions at 44 properties in 7 countries

La Quinta has implemented Multi-Systems, Inc.’s (MSI’s) CloudConnect to link the MSI NiteVision GMSs at its 830 hotels to its LQ.com Web site to deliver La Quinta’s new Ready For You initiative. Ready for You allows guests booking a room on www.LQ.com to select a time window indicating their arrival at the hotel and opt to receive either an email or text message alert when their room is ready. MSI CloudConnect allows its GMS systems to communicate real-time information to other web services in the cloud globally.
Multi-Systems, Inc. (MSI) has released a full two-way interface between its CloudPM system and InnLink’s Central Reservations Services.  The interface allows hotel staff to work from the PMS to adjust rates and have them distributed to all channels seamlessly.
(www.lq.com, www.innlink.com, www.msisolutions.com)
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Rydges Hotels and Resorts has selected CheckMate for its 49 properties in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, starting with the Rydges Sydney Airport. CheckMate allows guests to personalize their stay online and receive alerts on their smartphone when their room is ready. Operationally, the guest data provided by CheckMate can help staff anticipate guest needs pre-arrival. CheckMate also encourages guests to sign up for Rydges’ Priority Guest Rewards program, pre-filling the enrollment form. (www.rydges.com, www.checkmate.io)
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Worldhotels has named protel as a Partner Software Provider of guest management systems for its 500 hotels worldwide. Worldhotels will promote protel PMS to its members; protel will offer special conditions on its software as well as interfaces to Trust and Hotelwebservice. (www.worldhotels.com, www.protel.net)
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Point Pleasant Lodge has implemented Northwind’s Maestro Web cloud guest management system, hosted in Northwind’s Toronto data center.  The 100-room Point Pleasant Lodge is a privately owned and operated hotel for people undertaking medical related travel in the Halifax area. (pointpleasantlodge.com, www.maestropms.com)
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FJB Hotels has implemented Guestline’s web-based suite, including the Rezlynx PMS, distribution channel manager and EPoS, for its four hotels in Dorset, England. (www.fjbhotels.co.uk, www.guestline.com)
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Spanish brand H10 Hotels has selected Indra’s Travel Management Suite for its 44 properties, located in Spain, Mexico, Germany, United Kingdom, Italy, Cuba and the Dominican Republic. H10 will use Indra’s TMS for Hotels for all PMS, CRS, distribution connectivity and loyalty functions on a single platform. (www.H10hotels.com, www.indracompany.com)
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RESERVATIONS

  • Choice launches hands-free hotel reservations for Ford vehicles equipped with SYNC AppLink
  • Orbitz for Business expanding to over 100 countries
  • BCD Travel signs with GetGoing to power its RoomSource hotel booking platform
  • Be Smart Madrid Diana Aeropuerto hotel picks Pegasus’ Connect+ Premium
  • Motel 6 lists 1,100+ properties on trivago
  • HNA Hotels & Resorts signs with Sabre for SynXis CRS and Guest Connect Booking Engine
  • Hilton renews contract for Sabre’s global distribution system (GDS

Choice Hotels International has launched hands-free hotel reservations for Ford vehicles equipped with SYNC AppLink. Drivers can download Choice’s Android app to use voice commands to search for available rooms at nearby Choice Hotels, hands-free. The same functionality for iPhone users will be made available in the near future. (www.choicehotels.com)
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Orbitz for Business is expanding its online booking functionality to over 100 countries, covering more than 18 languages and 35 currencies. The expansion also includes the Orbitz for Business mobile app, which enables ‘look-to-book’ functionality across all major travel products while applying customized corporate policies. (www.orbitzforbusiness.com)
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BCD Travel has signed with GetGoing to power its proprietary RoomSource hotel booking platform, which aims to let both agents and travelers shop for and book hotels that are within and outside GDSs. (www.bcdtravel.com, www.getgoing.com)
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Globalia’s Be Smart Madrid Diana Aeropuerto hotel has chosen Pegasus Solutions’ Connect+ Premium for global sales and marketing support. The 304-room hotel is close to Madrid-Barajas airport and the IFEMA Feria Madrid exhibition center. (www.belivehotels.com, www.pegs.com)
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Motel 6 has listed its 1,100+ properties on trivago.com. (www.motel6.com, www.trivago.com)
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China-based HNA Hotels & Resorts has signed a comprehensive technology agreement with Sabre Corp., including the use of Sabre’s SynXis central reservations system and Guest Connect Booking Engine. HNA also will leverage Sabre’s distribution channels.
Hilton Worldwide has renewed its technology agreement with Sabre’s global distribution system (GDS) for Hilton’s 4,112 properties.
(www.hnahotelsandresorts.com, www.hilton.com, www.sabrehospitality.com)
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MARKETING / MANAGEMENT

  • Greece’s SETE Tourism Confederation signs with ReviewPro
  • Airbnb revamps review system
  • TrustYou adds multiple surveys
  • Small Luxury Hotels of the World expands contract with Leonardo
  • Marriott announces LocalPerks location-specific mobile offers
  • PwC Switzerland licenses ReviewPro data
  • Clairvoyix enhances Hospitality Solution to help hotels avoid Canada’s Anti-Spam Law penalties

Greece’s SETE Tourism Confederation has signed with ReviewPro to gain insight into guest satisfaction by region and destination for its Marketing Greece initiative for its almost 50,000 members. ReviewPro will help SETE produce more focused marketing campaigns for separate geographical areas through providing insight into overall guest satisfaction levels for all SETE member hotels as well as strengths and weaknesses across a variety of departments. (sete.gr/EN/Hom, www.reviewpro.com)
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Airbnb has revamped its review system to promote more and more honest feedback. Reviews will now be posted only after both host and guest have had a 14-day window to preview the review and the host’s response. If after the 14-day review period only the host or the guest has left a review from a completed trip, Airbnb will make that review public to both the recipient and the community. Guests can also leave private feedback for their host. (www.airbnb.com)
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TrustYou has added the capability to send multiple targeted surveys, allowing hotels to send surveys post stay, during stay and directly related to hotel outlets such as Spa, F&B, Events and any other business areas where guests have had an experience touch point. (www.trustyou.com)
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Small Luxury Hotels of the World has expanded its contract with Leonardo Worldwide to take advantage of additional features of Leonardo’s VScape Digital Asset Management System  and will adopt Leonardo’s Multi-Media Display Galleries . SLH will use Leonardo’s Media Approval & Workflow Engine to approve media uploaded to VScape by member hotels for syndication to Leonardo’s VNetwork, ensuring that hotel visual content adheres to SLH’s brand standards. SLH will be implementing Leonardo’s Multi-Media Display Galleries to ensure the visual content is appropriately displayed no matter which browser, device, software, bandwidth or screen size the consumer is using. (www.slh.com, www.leonardo.com)
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Marriott has announced LocalPerks, location-specific mobile offers presented to guests when an app on their mobile device is triggered by an iBeacon transmitter. Marriott also introduced FlashPerks, a flash sale website where Rewards members can redeem points or use cash for limited-time, exclusive deals. The first property to introduce LocalPerks will be the San Diego Marriott Marquis and Marina, followed by the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront and the Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort, Golf Club & Spa. FlashPerks will be available in the USA starting July 17. (www.marriottrewardsflashperks.com)
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PwC Switzerland has signed an agreement with ReviewPro to license its Global Review Index guest satisfaction benchmark and other reputation indices for tens of thousands of hotels across Europe and the Middle East. PwC will use this data to analyze leading tourism destinations in different categories, identify factors travelers value most and value least, and derive general insights from the rankings of hotels in different segments. (www.pwc.com, www.reviewpro.com )
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Clairvoyix has enhanced its Hospitality Solution to help hotels avoid penalties under Canada’s Anti-Spam Law (CASL) by adding a CASL privacy “flag” for each profiled past guest, allowing marketers to suppress known Canadian consumers who beforehand may have received an email promotion that would result in a violation of the new law. As the Law does not apply to consumers who have transacted business during the most recent 24 months, Clairvoyix also uses its Knowledge Factory hospitality-specific marketing database to identify transaction records such as a PMS checkout that falls within the allowed time period. All Clairvoyix hospitality clients currently running the Internet deployed system will immediately benefit from this upgrade.
(www.clairvoyix.com)
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REVENUE MANAGEMENT

  • JacTravel signs with Allotz.com’s Autopilot channel management
  • Germany’s HS/3 Hotelsoftware picks SiteMinder’s pmsXchange
  • Kotimaailma Apartments orders eRevMax’s RateTiger
  • Sweden Hotels endorses eRevMax’s RateTiger as preferred channel manager for all 60 properties
  • Red Lion adopting Duetto across 53 properties
  • IDeaS integrates Brand Karma into Reputation Pricing module

Wholesaler JacTravel has contracted with Allotz.com Limited for its Autopilot channel management services for its sales offices in London, Edinburgh, Sao Paolo, Hong Kong and Dubai.  (www.jactravel.co.uk, www.allotz.com)
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Germany’s HS/3 Hotelsoftware has signed with SiteMinder for its pmsXchange channel management services to distribute live availabilities and rates to various booking channels and deliver all reservations. (www.hs3-hotelsoftware.de, www.siteminder.com)
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Finland’s Kotimaailma Apartments has ordered eRevMax’s RateTiger channel management for all its five properties.
Supranational’s Sweden Hotels has endorsed eRevMax’s RateTiger as the preferred channel manager for all its 60 affiliated properties.
(www.kotimaailma.com, www.supranationalhotels.com, www.erevmax.com)
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Red Lion Hotels is adopting Duetto group-wide across its 53-property portfolio. (www.redlion.com, www.duettoresearch.com)
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IDeaS Revenue Solutions has integrated Brand Karma’s reputation data into its Reputation Pricing module, allowing hotels to include social media sentiment data in their reputation-aware pricing decisions. The data comes from Brand Karma iO, which analyzes a hotels online reputation against its competitors. The IDeaS Reputation Pricing module will be available in an upcoming release of IDeaS RMS this month; Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts participated in its pilot program. (www.brand-karma.com, www.ideas.com)
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SALES & CATERING, MEETING PLANNING

  • Denihan orders Groupize Group Booking Engine (GBE) for six Affinia suite hotels

Denihan Hospitality Group has ordered Groupize Solutions’  Group Booking Engine (GBE) for its six Affinia suite hotels in Manhattan and Washington DC. Previously available only to hotel chains, Groupize GBE was recently adapted to the needs of independent hotels and smaller chains, and replaces static RFP forms on the web site with a micro-site tailored for groups, weddings, meetings, and more, allowing hotels to quote Dynamic Group Rates in real time to group planners. (www.denihan.com, www.groupizesolutions.com )
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GUEST SERVICES

  • Surf & Sand Resort installs GoConcierge
  • FCS signs Valued Business Partnership with Thailand’s Piramid Solutions
  • Samsung expands partnership with providers of broadband and interactive services
  • JW MarriottMarquis, Dubai installs Acentic’s Panorama IP Interactive system
  • Intelity adds location-based awareness to ICE Mobile

The 167-room Surf & Sand Resort in Laguna Beach, CA, has installed GoConcierge, upgrading from Gold Key’s Concierge Assistant which GoConcierge acquired in 2012. GoConcierge is used by the concierge team as well as front desk and other guest service areas for tracking amenities, packages and lost and found items, and includes an interface to the property’s Micros Opera system. (www.surfandsandresort.com, www.goconcierge.net)
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FCS Computer Systems has signed a Valued Business Partnership with Thailand’s Piramid Solutions Co., Ltd., system integration provider. (www.psolutions.co.th, www.fcscs.com)
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Samsung Electronics America is expanding its partnership with providers of broadband and interactive services to offer hoteliers a variety of LED TVs and content. Samsung’s proprietary H-Browser platform, offering a premium interactive experience with both free and video on demand (VOD) content, is now available through vendors including Allin Interactive, SONIFI Solutions, Guest-Tek and Quadriga Worldwide. Samsung’s LYNK DRM provides an alternative to hardware-based content protection systems, and is available as an integrated module within the DISH Network’s smartbox, Pico Digital’s IPQ-LYNK head end system, Technicolor’s COM2000 head end equipment and VideoPropulsion’s FloodGate system. (www.samsung.com)
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The 1,350-room JW MarriottMarquis, Dubai has installed Acentic’s Panorama IP Interactive system. All rooms are equipped with LG screens as part of the package; amongst other benefits, the Panorama platform provides guests with access to Hollywood movies as well as a branded user interface delivering hotel information. (www.marriott.com, www.acentic.com)
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Intelity has added location-based awareness to its ICE (Interactive Customer Experience) Mobile platform to make check-in faster and easier. ICE Mobile allows guest to check-in before arrival and send pre-arrival requests directly to the hotel. The new location-based technology allows notifications to be sent to front desk staff alerting them that the checked-in guests are approaching the hotel, allowing staff to prepare for their arrival and ensure their room is ready. Hotels can also send special offers and messaging to guests when they are detected near or at the property. (www.intelitycorp.com )
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BACK OFFICE

  • Singapore’s Systematic Laundry installs InvoTech Systems’ UHF-RFID Laundry System

Singapore’s Systematic Laundry has installed InvoTech Systems’ UHF-RFID Laundry System to manage resort laundry operations; it currently processes up to 20,000 garments per day for Resorts World Sentosa and 50,000 garments per day for other hotel clients and international airlines. Systematic’s InvoTech System  interfaces with the similar system at Resorts World Sentosa to further automate operations, and interfaces with White Conveyors’ Mercury Sorting System and U-Pick-It System to automate uniform sorting and the distribution of uniforms. (www.laundrynetwork.com.sg, www.invotech.com)
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ENGINEERING

  • JW Marriott Miami selects Telkonet’s EcoSmart

The JW Marriott Miami has selected Telkonet’s EcoSmart Energy Management System for its 307 guest rooms, installed by Telkonet’s partner Evolutix. All rooms will include the EcoCentral Virtual Engineer, a cloud-based monitoring and control system to help the property monitor cost savings room-by-room, EcoInsight thermostats and EcoView in-room occupancy sensors. The EcoSmart Platform will connect to the property’s Guest Management System. (www.marriott.com, www.evolutix.net, www.telkonet.com)
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COMMUNICATIONS/INFRASTRUCTURE

  • Viceroy Hotel New York chooses Voxer Business for employee communications
  • Choice Hotels names Comcast Business as a qualified vendor for business data, video and voice services

The Viceroy Hotel New York has chosen Voxer Business for employee communications using Wi-Fi-enabled iPod Touch devices for housekeeping and other service staff. Voxer queues all messages, which are delivered when the user has a usable connection; messages can be set so that audio messages don’t automatically play and distract attendants and managers serving customers. (www.viceroyhotelsandresorts.com, www.voxer.com/Business?)
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Choice Hotels International has selected Comcast Business as a qualified vendor for business data, video and voice services for US properties in Comcast’s service areas. (www.choicehotels.com, business.comcast.com)
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