The Digitalisation of Hotels – Digital Room Keys

If you haven’t already heard, Starwood Hotels rolled out a digital mobile phone room key in November across 100 of their hotels. CIO recently covered this in an article 

I can already hear some of you shouting at your screens asking why we need this feature? 

Well for the hotel it’s easy, they get extra data that they can use to make better business decisions; it’s also allows their check in staff to do other things than serve you. 
But from the guest’s point of view, because you have to register on the Hotel App, you don’t have to spend time waiting at the reception desk. You can enter your own name, address and credit card details so you can go straight to your room after your long flight without the hassle of the front desk. 

But what excites me, is thinking about what version 2 of the App may be? If Starwood continue to develop their digitalisation project, in future you may be able to set the temperature of the room before you step off the plane, book a restaurant table or order room service to be delivered 10mins after you arrive. The opportunities are nearly endless! 

For someone who always checks the wifi capabilities of the hotels I stay at when I travel on business, this extra control I could have of my trip in the dead space of an Airport, would definitely encourage me to stay loyal to a particular Hotel brand. All we need now is a mobile phone that lasts long enough to cope with it being a boarding card, a taxi booker and a room key.. 


Will Beats Music stream direct to your headphones?


I’ve never been a massive fan of Will.Iam, apart from the time Microsoft got the Black Eyed Peas to play at our sales conference in Atlanta. Then I read about Will’s views of technology and innovation in last month’s Wired magazine. He talked a lot about the need to react quickly to popular culture in order to give the consumer what they want.

Then yesterday Beats announced their Beats Music streaming service. It’s not the first music streaming service on the market; in fact it’s years behind Spotify. But it does seem that Beats Music is all about curation and giving the consumer (or champion as Will.I am calls them) mood of music that they want.

This all sounds interesting, but what I find more exciting, is the possibility of Beats combining their Headphones and streaming service. How cool will it be if their Beats by Dre headphones could connect via 4G and stream music without the need of your mp3, iPhone or Android device?

I have a feeling this is where Will.I am will take Beats. More wearable tech!

Could this be the future of mobile phones?

Really clever idea by a company called Phonebloks.

I love the idea that we can customise our phones to give us what we need. The main issue Phonebloks has, is that consumers buy mobile phones based on fashion/design. As long as these guys account for that, we could have a unique device. Assuming they have the apps….

The Future of Work – The Work-Life Integration


Over the last few decades, we have all heard about this the Work-Life balance; many of us have even managed to find it. For some its about getting the right amount of family and social life to balance out the stresses of the 9-5 workday. But as workdays get longer, and smartphones and tablets become more prevalent for employees, we will definitely be seeing a new way of working. The Work-Life integration.

The Chartered Management Institute published a report earlier this month outlining some of the key work changes that will be faced in 2018, and one of the interesting things for me, was the exodus from the traditional workspace. This exodus will be partly caused by environmental pressure to reduce carbon footprints as well as demographic pressure of an ageing population, leading to a blurring of boundaries between family and career. I also personally feel that many commuters are now getting so fed up with poor transport infrastructure, whether on the road or the rail, that working from home is best way to optimise a lot of knowledge workers time.

So what does this new way of work mean to me, I hear you cry?  Well as someone who has already embraced the work-life integration, perhaps an insight into my life my help. My head office is just outside London which takes me 2hrs to drive to; I have a satellite office in Reading which is just over an hour to get to; both these travel times exclude the additional rush hour delays of course. I also have my home office in the Cotswolds that takes me less than a minute to get to; it is a nice quiet space with a Cisco home office kit including secure access into my Office network. I also have an work laptop, an iPhone and a personal iPad.

So if you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know I have a new West Highland Terrier puppy called Archie. He likes waking me up before 7am every morning without fail. So I get up, have breakfast and turn on my iPad to start catching up on all my project activity and messages on the Cisco Social Business portal Quad. Once I’m up to speed on activity, I put my boots on and take Archie out for a walk on Minchinhampton Common. Luckily for me, there is good reception up on the Common so I can keep in touch with email and make any early morning calls. After about an hour I come back home and work for the rest of the morning in my home office, including various video and web meetings using WebEx. If I need to have a Telepresence conference meeting, I drive to my Reading office obviously now avoiding the most of the traffic. I may stop off on the Motorway Services to have a Flat White coffee and complete some work actions on my iPad from earlier; the wif-fi is free. When I get home I often relax, go to the gym and then have dinner. In the evening I’m on my iPad working while my other half watches her programmes.

The fact is, every day may be different, but the key success behind it all, is that I can work from anywhere that has 3G or wifi access. My company has given me some tools, I have also bought my own. My office is no longer the building just inside the M25, its now anywhere I go. A lot of the baby boomer generation feel that working from home isnt really working. But for me, I am at least 20% more efficient when I work the way I do. I also think the quality of my work is better as Im less stressed and able to think outside the box better when required. According to Chartered Management Institute, we’ll all be working like this in the future, which should decrease the amount of cars on the road and increase the number of available seats on trains. We can also see an increase is trade for pubs, restaurants and service stations who will now be filled with more people tapping away on mobile devices. Just don’t forget to turn them off occasionally

Clouds + Mobility = Improved Collaboration

As someone who always recommends a short video in any partner or customer presentation to bring it to life. Here is the latest viral video from Cisco that was posted on YouTube over the weekend.

The message is clear, “Clouds and Mobility improve Collaboration

I’ve heard that Cisco have hired a couple of Marketing folks from the Microsoft Office365 team and it looks like they have got straight into action with this this video; highlighting a few of Cisco’s strengths against their old employers. Thankfully its not the usual Cisco technical spin; its a video aimed at getting Managers and Directors thinking about the strategic agenda of their business.

Have a look and let me know what you think?