The humble or glamorous hotel room has been recast as a modern day media hub. While many business travellers are armed with horror stories of trying to get the internet to work before an important meeting and failing, the competitive hotel knows that connectivity and content choices are mandatory today in keeping visitors happy.
The Internet of Things has been a game changer for the hotel industry, which means that the hotel chain no longer has to invest in its own expensive infrastructure. “Smart” products are all over the modern hotel room and can all be connected via the Internet and controlled by the guest.
Entertainment in the hotel context has not been excluded from the disruption brought by Netflix and other IPTV streamers. Many hotels now see the advantage of discontinuing their own movie packages and leveraging Netflix or another service instead.
Yet this is not as simple as it sounds. The guest must be an individual subscriber for the IPTV service and must enter their user name and password into the 3rd party equipment, usually a smart TV or Apple TV box and hope their privacy will not be breached after the checkout.
It is not an ideal transaction for the consumer in addition to privacy and security concerns. In Australia the Ovolo Hotel chain in promoting a “Netflix and Chill” promotion which offers free high speed Wi-Fi connections to stream Netflix, Stan or Apple TV, yet the fine print notes that customers must have their own accounts and that the service is not affiliated with Netflix.
Given the level of technology, content and service available such initiatives should be seamless.
In June 2015, the Marriott hotel chain became the first to allow its guests to watch Netflix from their hotel room televisions. Using hospitality technology provider Enseo , which has a partnership with Netflix, Marriott is able to allow guests to sign into their own Netflix accounts on their in-room TVs in addition to accessing other services such as Hulu and Pandora.
At the time of the deal Marriott International director of guest technology, Scott Hansen, said “the video-on-demand model wasn’t sustainable anymore. People just weren’t buying at the pace they were. You can’t upgrade the infrastructure with ties to a video-on-demand operator. We had to go in a new direction. Guest habits have changed. They want more over- the-top content and less linear programming.”
Marriott’s system for accessing channels like Netflix is simple allowing guests to log into their respective accounts on the TV screen. Yet typing in every email address and password on the TV isn’t the most user friendly.
Marriott is currently in the process of debuting Connect My Device, which is based on Google Chromecast protocol and hardware and allows guests to enter a simple code and it pairs their mobile device to the TV and isolates it to that room.
Vendor Samsung is also working with hotels to deliver a similar type of technology with its Samsung Hospitality Wall Plate access point. It has partnered with New York’s Le Parker Meridien hotel to test the service.
Meanwhile Roku has released in its latest Streaming Stick device a built-in HDMI plug that you connect to a TV, much like the Google Chromecast stick or similar devices.
The new version includes a “Hotel and Dorm Connect” feature, which tries to “make it easy for consumers to connect to wireless networks that require sign-in through a web browser like those commonly found in hotel rooms, college dorms and other public locations.” The feature allows you to authenticate the Roku stick through your phone, tablet or laptop, giving access to the Roku streaming stick.
While the industry is experimenting, demand and consumer expectation is rising in the hospitality industry and a streamlined IPTV solution could be poised to change the dynamic.
Specialist IPTV systems integrator focusing on service providers and enterprises. CombiTel offers unmatched value to its clients based on its unique mix of skills and many years of experience in both Telecommunications and Broadcasting. We have a proven track record and happy customers in Australia and New Zealand.
More information: combitel.com.au
Category: IPTVCompany about: We are a specialist IPTV systems integrator focusing on service providers and enterprises. CombiTel offers unmatched value to its clients based on its unique mix of skills and many years of experience in both Telecommunications and Broadcasting. We have a proven track record and happy customers in Australia and New Zealand.