Demonstrations and explanations on wireless light-bulb speakers, gravity massage chairs and other high-tech gadgets are being presented to hoteliers at the Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference (HITEC) in Baltimore this week. But perhaps the most important development is the smartphone room key. Smartphones are already being used as boarding passes and travel guides, but now key cards may soon be eliminated.
The door lock uses wireless technology called Near Field Communication (NFC), which lets two devices interact with each other over a short distance. The mobile would have to be installed with an NFC chip. At check-in, a unique code is sent securely to the guest’s smartphone. The phone just needs to be held close to an access reader on the door and the door opens.
“I think that within the next two years, you will have a critical mass of travellers carrying smartphones or tablets that are equipped with the Near Field Communication chips needed to use this,” said one enthusiast.
[photo courtesy Samsung]