November 13, 2012

In this issue…

People on the Move

Guest Management Systems

Reservations

Marketing / Management

Revenue Management

Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning

F&B / POS

Spa / Golf / Leisure Activities

Guest Services

Back Office

Engineering

Communications / Infrastructure

Security

OCTOBER 31 – NOVEMBER 13, 2012

TOP O’ THE NEWS

  • Visual UIs are great, but make sure everyone can use them equally well

We live in such a visually-oriented world that sometimes it’s hard to keep in mind that not everyone sees the world in the same way – or the same color. As many vendors will tell you I’m very much in favor of using subtle rather than strident color differences to highlight data of interest, but subtlety becomes self-defeating when the users can’t tell the difference.
This was brought to mind by a couple of news articles on the same day last week. One was that SAI has customized its SynergyMMS application with integration to Freedom Scientific’s Job Access With Speed (JAWS) screen-reading program often used by the vision-impaired; the other was an article in the Wall Street Journal on color blindness. When 8% of the male population is red/green color blind (and 0.5% of women), relying on red to highlight important data is going to leave many users unaware of its significance and thus unable to react to it.
Several new apps can help in everyday situations. Some let users look through their iPhone or Android phone’s camera to see all reds and greens converted into pure, basic versions that are easier to differentiate; others can identify colors by name or numerical codes. However, these are obviously impractical to use in customer-facing environments such as the front desk. Tackling the situation from the other direction are tools that simulate various color-vision deficiencies to help developers and marketers see what their products look like to colorblind people, and encourage the use of icons to supplement color. Some popular videogames, such as PopCap’s Peggle and Zuma Blitz, now let gamers switch to colorblind modes, where color codes turn into shapes.
We’ve made great strides in developing far more appealing and graphically-oriented user interfaces for our systems, but too seldom think to check that everyone can use them instinctively. You almost certainly have someone on your staff who is colorblind; it’s very much worthwhile to have them review your new developments to ensure that your hotel customers’ staff skills and experience are used to the full.
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PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

  • Robert Ellis promoted to COO at Agilysys Hospitality
  • Pete Childs joins Cvent as CFO
  • Tim Weeks appointed VP Business Development at RateGain
  • Jonas Granström hired by Scandic as VP Technical Services
  • Tom Bradberry joins M3 Accounting Services as M3 Link Sales Executive
  • Debi Moses joins Flip.to as Senior Director of Sales, Americas

Robert ‘Robb’ Ellis has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer at Agilysys Hospitality Solutions Group; he has served as senior vice president and chief financial officer of Agilysys since October 2011 and will retain that role. Prior to joining Agilysys Mr. Ellis was with Radiant Systems as vice president of accounting and financial operations. He began his career with Arthur Andersen and also has worked with Deloitte Consulting.
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Pete Childs has joined Cvent as Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Childs brings twenty five years of experience, eighteen of which were in senior financial roles; he was most recently Chief Accounting Officer at Towers Watson, and earlier served as Vice President of Finance and Treasurer at HCR Manor Care and Manager of Treasury Operations for Primark Corporation. He started his career as an auditor with KPMG.
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Tim Weeks has been appointed Vice President, Business Development at RateGain, based in London, UK. He joins from Pegasus Solutions, where he served as Regional Director EMEA, Strategic Accounts. Mr. Weeks was earlier a Hotel Processes Manager at Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT), and has also held sales roles on property with Hilton, Rezidor and the Great Eastern Hotel in London.
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Jonas Granström has been hired by Scandic as Vice President Technical Services, based in Stockholm, Sweden. Mr. Granström comes from Skanska, where he spent 22 years working in various positions, most recently as CEO of Skanska Nya Hem AB.
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Tom Bradberry has joined M3 Accounting Services as Sales Executive for its M3 Link reporting and business intelligence tool. Prior to joining M3, Mr. Bradberry was a principal partner with IT consultants BOSS Technologies; he had earlier helped develop and sell analytical tools and dashboards for leading financial corporations, including Alex Sheshunoff Management Services, U.S. Banking Alliance and Harland Financial Solutions, and served as managing director of Colonial Bank’s Correspondent Services Division.
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Debi Moses has joined Flip.to as Senior Director of Sales, Americas. Ms. Moses brings considerable experience in hotel sales, marketing and electronic distribution from senior sales positions with ReviewPro and EZYield.
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GUEST MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

  • B4Checkin receives IHM&RS Editors’ Choice Award for Technology for Online Checkin
  • Concorde launches Smart Way e-check-in /check-out system based on Ariane technology
  • Guestline releases certified integration link with IDeaS
  • Christie Lodge implements SPI Software’s Orange system
  • Lahaina Inn implements PAR Springer-Miller’s Atrio

B4Checkin received the Editors’ Choice Award for Technology at this year’s International Hotel, Motel + Restaurant Show (IHMRS) in New York, for its Online Checkin. Integrated directly into the hotel GMS and CRS, Online Checkin follows the airline model by e-mailing guests the day before arrival, offering them the option to check-in online. By doing so, they reconfirm the booking and confirm their arrival time. The hotel then receives an email notification, allowing them to pre-key the guest; the guest’s credit card is swiped upon arrival to authorize the keys to be issued. (www.b4checkin.com)
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Concorde Hotels & Resorts Group has launched its Smart Way e-check-in /check-out system, based on Ariane Systems’ technology. Using the Smart Way terminal in the hotel’s reception area, the guest types in the code received on his/her smart phone during online booking, and the room key is delivered. For check-out guests review their bill on their smart phone, check-out and leave the key in the guest room. Pilot property is the flagship Hotel Concorde La Fayette; if successful, Concorde plans to roll out the system throughout its hotel portfolio. (www.concorde-hotels.com, www.ariane.com)
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Guestline has released a certified integration link between its Web-based GMS and IDeaS’ Revenue Management System. IDeaS will automatically receive current and future reservations data from Guestline, allowing it to optimize controls such as Best Available Rate (BAR) and Overbooking based on forecast demand and actual performance, feeding back pricing and inventory decisions to the GMS. The UK’s Greene King pub retailer and brewer has implemented the link for its 50 hotels throughout the UK. (www.greeneking.co.uk, www.ideas.com, www.guestline.com)
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The 280-unit Christie Lodge in Avon Colorado has implemented SPI Software’s Orange Resort Management software. (www.christielodge.com, www.spiinc.com)
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The 12-room Lahaina Inn has implemented PAR Springer-Miller Systems’ Atrio Guest Experience Management system. Located in Lahaina, Hawaii, the property is one of Hawaiian Hotels and Resorts’ four properties. (www.hawaiihotels.com, www.springermiller.com)
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RESERVATIONS

  • Priceline.com acquires KAYAK
  • Sceptre releases enhancements to WindsurferCRS

Priceline.com has acquired meta-search engine KAYAK. KAYAK’s current management team will continue to manage KAYAK’s operations independently as part of Priceline. (www.kayak.com, www.priceline.com)
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Sceptre Hospitality Resources has released enhancements to its WindsurferCRS central reservation system.  Improvements include an upgraded multi-property booking engine, automated monitoring for PMS reservation delivery failures, a user-configurable dashboard, an enhanced currency converter and improvements to its rate derivation functionality.  (sceptrehospitality.com)
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MARKETING / MANAGEMENT

  • buuteeq updates digital marketing services
  • Preferred expands services outside hotels with Optriant division

buuteeq has announced several product enhancements to its digital marketing services, including:
– Design Concierge, a new branding and design tool allowing hotel staff to customize and deploy new customer experiences.
– A major update to its commission-free booking engine, including a graphical face-lift and functionality intended for global travel, new calculations for taxes and fees, customized guest-facing messaging and rate rules for additional adults and children.
– A new mobile optimized booking engine claimed to increase mobile conversion rates by upwards of 90%. (www.buuteeq.com)
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Preferred Hospitality Group has launched Optriant, a new business division expanding its representation, reservations and consultancy services to now cover cruise lines, destination management companies, tourism boards, and airlines. Optriant launches with European river cruise operator Amadeus Cruises. (www.optriant.com)
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REVENUE MANAGEMENT

  • Availpro signs 110th two-way connectivity agreement
  • Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia contracts with SiteMinder for two properties
  • GoIndonesia.com adopts SiteMinder’s RDX for direct access to hotel GMS and CRS systems
  • Cornerstone Hospitality implementing new IDeaS Pricing System at Craddock Terry Hotel
  • eRevMax International launches enhanced connectivity Eco-Systems  for Hotel s& Channels
  • Marina Hotels signs with RateGain for 10 hotels in Majorca and Ibiza
  • RateGain has launched its RezGain channel management software
  • Viejas Casino implementing Rainmaker’s GuestREV  for new 128-room hotel

Availpro announced that it has signed its 110th two-way connectivity agreement with a distributor website, with Hostelworld.com. (www.hostelworld.com, www.availpro.com)
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Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia has contracted with SiteMinder for channel management services at its Ayers Rock Resort and Home Valley Station (Western Australia), linking their Opera Guest Management Systems to multiple online booking channels.
GoIndonesia.com has adopted SiteMinder’s Room Distribution Exchange (RDX) platform to gain faster and direct access to hotel GMS and CRS systems. The RDX connection allows GoIndonesia.com to be the first online travel agent in Indonesia able to offer live hotel inventory from Indonesia’s largest hotel management companies such as Aston International and Tauzia.
(www.voyages.com.au/resorts/, www.goindonesia.com, www.rdxglobal.com, www.siteminder.com)
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Cornerstone Hospitality is implementing IDeaS Revenue Solutions’ new IDeaS Pricing System at the 44-room Craddock Terry Hotel, Lynchburg, VA. IDeaS Pricing System is targeted at properties with limited revenue management staff. (www.cornerstonehospitality.com, www.ideas.com)
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eRevMax International has launched its Hotel & Channel Eco-Systems to support enhanced connectivity between OTAs, Tour Operators and Wholesalers (IDSs) and hotel brands’ GMS and CRS applications. The Hotel Eco-System will provide IDSs with greater access to global hotel inventories; the Channel Eco-System will help hotel brands identify key producers in key feeder markets and help properties acquire greater online distribution and sales. Both Eco-Systems use an XML gateway that allows hotel companies to connect seamlessly with distribution partners and system providers. (www.ratetiger.com)
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Marina Hotels has signed with RateGain to help manage rate intelligence and online brand reputation for its 10 hotels in Majorca and Ibiza.
RateGain has launched its RezGain channel management software, which offers automated channel management in a pooled or single-image inventory approach and allows users to designate a single master room to apply price & allocation updates for several room-types on different extranets.  Users can customize this to set up pricing rules between various room/ rate types across multiple extranets based on the demand. RezGain can process 365 days of updates at a time.
(www.marina-hotels.com/en/, www.rategain.com )
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The Viejas Casino in San Diego, CA is implementing Rainmaker’s GuestREV profit optimization system for its new 128-room hotel project, with implementation anticipated in early 2013. (www.viejas.com, www.LetItRain.com)
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SALES & CATERING, MEETING PLANNING

  • Events DC implements Smart City’s EventPath network between Walter E. Washington Convention Center and Renaissance Washington D.C
  • Canadian Niagara Hotels picks PSAV for Falls Avenue Resort
  • Destination Hotels & Resorts reports top six trends from annual ‘State of the Meetings Industry’ survey

Events DC has implemented Smart City’s EventPath 100Mbps integrated event network between the Walter E. Washington Convention Center and the nearby Renaissance Washington D.C. Hotel. EventPath provides:
· Remote registrations
· Integrated event Wi-Fi access to the convention center and participating hotels
· Integrated session networking
· Integrated interactive digital signage providing real-time event information to hotel rooms
· Access to convention and booth resources from the tradeshow floor
· Webcasting and video service overflow extensions
(www.eventsdc.com, www.smartcity.com
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Canadian Niagara Hotels has selected PSAV Presentation Services to manage onsite audiovisual services for its Falls Avenue Resort, which comprises 1,200 hotel rooms, 35 meeting rooms, a 24-hour casino, a three-acre indoor Waterpark and wave pool, and 15 restaurants. This marks PSAV’s entrance into the Niagara Falls market in Canada. (www.canadianniagarahotels.com, www.psav.com)
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Destination Hotels & Resorts announced the results of its annual ‘State of the Meetings Industry’ survey, conducted with 380+ meeting planners. The top six trends were identified as:
– Location, Location, Location: While planners consistently gave “budgets” as their biggest challenge, “location” is the most important consideration in selecting a venue, followed by “rate,” “flexible space” and “amenities”.
– Being Green Effects the Bottom Line: Eco-friendly practices are not new to the meetings industry but meeting planners place much more importance on them then the general leisure travel market. 45% of planners say eco-friendly practices are “somewhat important” when choosing a venue, with an additional 18% rating them “extremely important.”
– What’s on the Table Matters More than Who’s in the Kitchen: Over 78% of planners identified culinary offerings as “important”, with 30% of them saying they’re “extremely important” but less than 10% care about signature chefs. Rated higher were smart, well-planned CMP packages that focus on health and nutrition (43%) as well as specialized dietary offerings (35%).
– Let’s Get Physical: When asked about teambuilding trends, more than half (54%) indicated that adventure/active options were of the greatest interest, followed by culinary, wellness, cultural and community service activities.
– Meetings Go Social: Half of the meeting planners cited social media is an integral part of the planning process and check TripAdvisor and online reviews before deciding on a hotel or resort.
– Technology: More than 36% noted an increase in technology integration with meetings, with strong indications that the trend will continue. Streaming media, web conferencing and on-site video production were most common.
Destination Hotels & Resorts manages more than 35 hotels, resorts and golf clubs. (www.destinationmeetings.com/whitepaper2012, www.destinationhotels.com)
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F&B/POINT OF SALE

  • Hotel 1000 picks InfoGenesis
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Hotel 1000 in Seattle has selected Agilysys’ InfoGenesis POS for its food and beverage operations. The 120-room property is owned and managed by Benchmark Hospitality International. (www.hotel1000seattle.com, www.agilysys.com/home/Hospitality/)
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SPA/GOLF/LEISURE ACTIVITIES

  • Champneys selects ResortSuite for twelve sites

Champneys has selected ResortSuite software to manage its four resorts and eight day spas, configured in a private cloud with a single guest profile database.  The ResortSuite application will replace four hotel guest management installations and two individual spa systems, as well as food and beverage, club, retail and ecommerce applications, which between them used seven separate customer databases. (www.champneys.com, www.resortsuite.com)
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GUEST SERVICES

  • Quadriga’s Personal Media Network receives Equip’Innov Award for most innovative technology product at Equip’ Hotel
  • Quadriga signs exclusive distribution agreement with LobbyFriend for Europe, the Americas and Africa
  • LG Electronics USA expands Pro:Centric development licensee program to include HTML5 support
  • VTech Telecommunications receives Editors’ Choice Award for Green Technology at IHM&RS
  • Peninsula Hotels implements custom version of Intelity’s ICE on guestroom touch panels
  • Blynk Systems launches Android version of Blynk iHotel Mobile App for Hotels
  • Indel B introduces K Smart minibar with “eco-friendly” focus
  • Bartech announces Neobar environmentally friendly automatic minibar

Quadriga’s new Personal Media Network (PMN) has been awarded the Equip’Innov Award for the most innovative technology product at this year’s Equip’ Hotel Industry Conference and Exhibition in Paris.  PMN synchronizes multiple guest-owned and hotel-owned devices as well as multiple content sources (guest-owned, licensed subscriptions or hotel services) via a single application and WiFi connection. This creates a unified experience for all services available to the guest, regardless of the device used to access them. Guests can access their media subscriptions using their own mobile device as a gateway and shift the content directly to the in-room television for play. Guests can review and watch the hotel’s FTG and pay-per-view movie options on their mobile device anywhere in the hotel WiFi area.
Quadriga has signed an exclusive distribution agreement with LobbyFriend for Europe, the Americas and Africa. LobbyFriend provides a private temporary social network for hotels, enabling them to communicate with guests during their stay. Guests can download the LobbyFriend app to their personal device to connect online with other guests, either within the one hotel or across multiple hotels within the vicinity, providing access to a social stream of information about what’s happening within their hotel or city location as well as exclusive deals and special offers. Hotels can promote the platform via the in-room TV and monetize the system by advertising their own and third party services. Several hotels are currently deploying LobbyFriend, including the New Orleans Hotel Collection.
(www.quadriga.com)
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LG Electronics USA has expanded its Pro:Centric development licensee program to include HTML5 support. LG-authorized providers now offering integrated applications on LG TVs include Acentic, Guest-Tek, LodgeNet Interactive, Nevotek and Swisscom Hospitality Services, many leveraging HTML5 to handle multimedia and graphical content without proprietary plug-ins. (www.lgsolutions.com)
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VTech Telecommunications received the Editors’ Choice Award for Green Technology at this year’s IHM&RS show in New York for its Cordless Phone with Battery Backup, enabling hotels to offer an “all-cordless” room configuration with the added security of phone service during a power outage. (www.vtech.com)
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Peninsula Hotels has implemented a custom version of Intelity’s ICE guest services application on guestroom touch panels, allowing guests to peruse hotel services, speak to hotel staff and make requests without using the telephone, as well as manage the TV, radio and other room controls. The tablets are pre-set in one of five languages (English, French, traditional and simplified Chinese, and Japanese) with more under development, enabling the entire room to be programmed to the guest’s preferred language. (www.peninsula.com, www.intelitycorp.com)
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Blynk Systems has launched an Android version of its Blynk iHotel Mobile App for Hotels, which now runs on Android-based tablets and smartphones as well as on the in-room TVs, along with guests’ iPads and iPhones. TV implementation is achieved via an Android TV Dongle and a wireless mouse. (www.blynk.it)
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Indel B has introduced its K Smart minibar, a patented system with a strong “eco-friendly” focus. K Smart models use a new energy efficient compressor cooling unit, cyclopentane insulation and high-efficiency R600 refrigerant to achieve power consumption of 0,09 Kwh per day. A eutectic plate mounted in the rear of the unit provides over 12 hours of cooling without consuming additional electricity once the target temperature has been reached.  These factors help the K Smart become the first A+++ energy efficiency class minibar available. (www.indelb.com)
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Bartech announced its Neobar environmentally friendly automatic minibar. The Neobar models utilize an energy efficient compressor cooling unit, cyclopentane insulation and R600a refrigerant to achieve power consumption of less than 0,35 Kwh per day. A eutectic plate mounted in the rear of the unit provides over 12 hours of cooling without consuming additional electricity, once the target temperature has been reached. The Neobar is also claimed to be unusually quiet with an output of only 24 decibels. (www.bartech.com)
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BACK OFFICE

  • Radisson Blu Edwardian completes rollout of Optii Keeper housekeeping system at thirteen properties
  • Island Hospitality Management  implementing M3 Accounting Services’ BI/ analytics in 80+ additional hotels
  • Merchant Link signs multi-year reseller contract for Phoenix Managed Networks’ PCI DSS firewall service

The Radisson Blu Edwardian group of hotels has completed the rollout of Optii Solutions’ Optii Keeper housekeeping technology system at all thirteen of its company-owned properties, located in London, Heathrow and Manchester. The group-wide installation was overseen by Index Hospitality Systems, Optii Solutions’ partner for Europe and the Middle East. (www.radissonblu-edwardian.com, www.indexsystems.nl, www.optiisolutions.com)
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Island Hospitality Management is implementing M3 Accounting Services’ business intelligence and analytics software in over 80 additional hotels across the United States. (www.IslandHospitality.com, www.M3AS.com)
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Merchant Link has signed a multi-year contract with Phoenix Managed Networks, letting Merchant Link offer its customers Phoenix’s PCI DSS firewall service coupled with breach insurance. The new firewall service is a cloud-based management service with an on-site security appliance that locks down the point-of-sale (POS) system and segregates payment traffic from all other corporate IT data.  (www.phoenixmanagednetworks.com, www.merchantlink.com)
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ENGINEERING

  • Salvatore’s Grand Hotel installing Verve Living Systems Keycard Switches, ZENO wireless central control
  • SpringHill Suites by Marriott, Richardson, TX implements Verve Keycard Switches
  • SAI enhances SynergyMMS with integration to Freedom Scientific’s JAWS program for vision-impaired agents

The 100-room Salvatore’s Grand Hotel, Buffalo, NY is installing Verve Living Systems self-powered Keycard Switches with point-to-point communication with the room PTAC-air conditioners and wireless central control via a ZENO gateway. Placing the room key into the switch slot activates the lights and PTAC wirelessly; when removed all electrical devices turn off or go into eco set-back mode. Through its mesh communication with the front desk, the ZENO network can turn individual room systems on and off and monitor battery levels on in-room devices as well as room occupancy and network connectivity.
The SpringHill Suites by Marriott in Richardson, TX has implemented Verve Keycard Switches from ZENO Controls. Property operator Lowen Hospitality Management plans to implement the keycard switch at all new-construction projects going forward.
(www.salvatoresgrand.com, www.marriott.com, www.vervelivingsystems.com, www.zenocontrols.com)
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Systems Associates Inc.(SAI) has enhanced its SynergyMMS maintenance management system through integration with Freedom Scientific’s screen-reading Job Access With Speed (JAWS) program, which helps vision-impaired service agents navigate through SynergyMMS. SAI added features to SynergyMMS that are transparent to some users while being essential to users who are vision-impaired. (www.synergymms.com)
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COMMUNICATIONS/INFRASTRUCTURE

  • Quadriga joins Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA)

Quadriga has joined the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) as an observer member. Founded in 2003, the WBA serves as a global forum for wireless broadband, aiming to facilitate the adoption of WiFi-enabled services through improvements in user experience, interoperability and service delivery across technologies, devices and networks. (www.quadriga.com, www.wballiance.com)
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SECURITY

  • OpenWays has announced its MOBILE KEY TRIO option covering CAC, NFC and RFID

OpenWays has announced its MOBILE KEY TRIO option, which adds RFID card-reading functions to its DUAL offering of combined CAC (Crypto Acoustic Credential) and Pure NFC card reading capabilities. The integrated unit allows hotels with magstripe locks to upgrade to a triple play reader. CAC allows guests to use their mobile phone as the room key. MOBILE KEY TRIO involves 27 patents and patent filings, was developed in cooperation with RFID/NFC specialists NXP, and comes with all necessary MIFARE RFID licenses. As security standards require replacing the crypto keys in each RFID lock on a regular basis, Mobile Key TRIO also offers patent pending crypto key obsolescence management with automatic replacement. (www.OpenWays.com)
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