A major US telecom provider wanted to add to its telephony and high-speed Internet access (HSIA) for the hospitality industry. They have installations in major hotels in the U.S.
After researching their options, they chose to enter the Video-on-Demand (VOD) and Interactive TV market. Not only would this create new revenues for the company, it would also provide a key added value for hotels in the highly competitive hospitality market and add revenue streams for the hotel.
The company contracted an interactive media company in New York to provide the complete set-top box (STB) and entertainment portal solution. With this, they would be able to deliver a fully customized, integrated digital interactive on-demand media experience that would be popular with both travelers and leading hotels.
The Interactive Media company needed a partner able to deliver on this new business case and build a scalable, robust digital media and VOD system. The system had to aggregate content from various sources (movie studios, content providers, Internet, and others) and present it in an optimized fashion on a TV.
The VOD portal was required to:
- Allow users to access the Internet and check e-mail
- Support leading edge requirements such as
- Ad management
- Video game systems
- Integrate with existing hotel property management systems
- Track all transactions to ensure all parties received appropriate revenues
- Provide content management and system support capabilities
The Interactive Media company did not have the in-house IT expertise to support this brand new, leading edge technology.
The Interactive Media company hired VisionMAX, which developed an application with three major environments:
- The in-room environment including high-speed networking and a Set-Top Box
- The hotel rack – including VOD, application (Unix and Linux) and IBM WebSphere MQ-Series (Unix) servers
- The central domain where all data from all hotels was captured, stored, and data warehoused for reporting and trending purposes through our central portal.
The entire system is remotely administered by a wireless RIM/Palm device, and communication between the hotel domain and central domain is done.
The Interactive Media company is the first to implement IP-delivered digital VOD/Interactive TV for hospitality. The system provided web-based centralized management access to reporting, support, and control functions (change prices/availability of content, report on sales by movie / time of day, summarized movie-usage reports for payment to major Hollywood studios (Royalty & Billing system), guest survey management and reporting, occupancy reporting, etc.).
The system is in use at the Mandarin Oriental, the 3,000 room Wynn hotel in Las Vegas, Park Hyatt, Starwood Hotels (Sheraton, Westin, W, and others), and other high end chains/properties. The product and service is deemed to be a tremendous success in the industry, and was showcased at several Hospitality Technology Shows at Chicago, Orlando, and Dallas.