You need more than a crystal ball to predict the direction hospitality technology is going.
NB: This is an analysis by Frank Wolfe, CEO for Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals, the association producing the HITEC15 event.
Studying the 2015 education program for the Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference (HITEC15) is a much better option.
The agenda covers what hospitality technology professionals are facing day-to-day and what they are looking to plan for going forward.
The program is designed each fall by the HITEC Advisory Council, a group of top technology practitioners, academics and consultants.
Here's an overview of the larger themes you will find at this year's event in Austin, Texas USA.
Integrating the marketing and technology roles
It used to be that these two practices would be considered two very disparate departments, one for creatives and the other for engineers.
But now with the influx of digital marketing tools, these two fields are partnering to capture a highly visible online presence and maximize results from collected data.
The discussion now focuses on who is taking ownership of these systems and how these two departments can work together.
To explore this further, the HITEC education program is hosting a Super Session panel with marketing and IT executives to discuss just this topic.
State of security – cyber and physical
Security is an age-old issue but the parameters are always shifting. With the incidents of cybercrime growing and methods evolving, hotel IT departments cannot remain static in this area.
And, as we’ve seen with recent high-profile cases such as Target and Sony, the aftermath is costly.
In our industry, we might as well have a big “Welcome Criminals” sign on our doors, as we collect vast amounts of guest personal data and oversee locations where there is a a high volume of people coming and going.
This year’s program offers a keynote by hacker Josh Klein who will cover cybercrime in 2015. And during the event there will be forums about both cyber and physical security.
Explosion of mobile devices and mobile payments
What would be more of a setback on a trip - forgetting your wallet or your smart phone?
Many would say their smart phone, especially because we can now use our phones for payment processing.
Guests have become dependent on their devices for communication, entertainment and now as a means for monetary exchange; and when guests check-in, hoteliers are expected to support these mobile devices with a strong wifi network and as a means of communications.
Hear what marketing gurus and bandwidth experts are doing to support the rise of mobile usage.
IT professionals are stereotyped as difficult communicators, and when IT departments operated as a separate entity it was possible for this idea to take hold. Now, it is less and less the case as technology is highly integrated into operations.
Knowing this, the Advisory Council has introduced a number of sessions to help brush up on workplace best practices.
These include IT hiring, preparing a business plan, career development and ethics.
Hot technologies expected to debut at HITEC 2015
While not exclusive to the education program, you will have a chance to see the most current technologies for the industry. One benefit to HITEC’s prominence in the industry is that exhibiting companies use this week to debut their newest technologies.
You can also see emerging technology at Entrepreneur 20X, HITEC’s newest feature competition and exhibit.
Designed to propel the development of cutting-edge technologies, Entrepreneur 20X begins on the first day of HITEC with presentations of technologies in the works.
These presentations will be judged by a panel of investors and forward-thinking hospitality technology experts who will select the top products.
In the exhibit hall meet face-to-face with the winning innovators and their technologies in a special display area on the show floor and see what’s coming down the pipeline.
On the subject of emerging technology, there is a session devoted to “Robotics in Hospitality".
Industry and mainstream news alike have taken a recent interest in this subject and it will be revealing to hear experts talk about far of a reach robotics will have.
NB: This is an analysis by Frank Wolfe, CEO for Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals, the association producing the HITEC15 event.It appears here as part of Tnooz's sponsored content initiative.
NB2: HITEC 2015 is the world's largest hospitality technology exposition and conference. The conference is June 15-18 at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas USA. Register today.
NB3: World image by Shutterstock