What It Takes For the Hospitality Industry to Catch Up to the "Internet of Things"


This month, I presented at JavaOne on building Internet-of-things applications with JavaMe. My goal, bring the fun and creativity back into the development process for machine-to-machine (M2M) solutions. With the proper tools, it can be a reality for many verticals, and the hospitality industry is now exception. For those of you unable to attend, I wanted to recap what I discussed at JavaOne, and outline the opportunities and next generation tools helping to push M2M development forward for the hospitality industry. Improving guest experiences could be in your grasp and you don’t even know it!

What’s the hold up for hospitality?

My colleague, Greg Abbott, SVP of Travel and Hospitality at DataArt, outlined some of the issues for the hospitality industry: Machine2machine technology is already taking flight for a number of large hotel chains and luxury brands. These corporations have the in-house technical tools and resources to leverage M2M, and have already been upgrading guest experiences with it. You’re probably aware of sensors built into mini bars, alerting of the need for refills, or have seen climate control options highlighted through your phone. M2M is creating new experiences for guests from unlocking the guestroom with mobile devices, to controlling the blinds, but there are a few technical road blocks for other parts of the industry to take hold.

Greg and I agree that the hospitality industry has a ways to go to catch up with the “Internet of Things”. M2M development can seem very labor intensive from the outsider’s perspective, as it involves the lengthy development of messaging protocol, cloud servers, and design and development on the communication side. Without knowledge and IT resources, developing the in-depth plumbing for M2M stops many technology vendors and startups from attempting to foster creativity and innovation for guests. Coupled with the increase in the adoption of smart devices, volumes of data and the ongoing need to reduce costs, development at stage one can seem daunting with more platforms adding to the complexity of merging hardware with software.

The real deal for M2M and hospitality

During the event, Oracle announced the release of Java ME Embedded 3.4 platform, which is helping partners with the development of Internet of Things (IoT) solutions. It brings together leading elements from embedded Java running on sensors and devices to innovative smart gateways that bring middleware out to the edge for development.

I presented the opportunities that this new platform is providing the industry, which includes creating less fragmentation and portable code for partner technologies such as the M2M application solutions provided by DeviceHive, DataArt’s open-source cloud-based M2M communication framework. The DeviceHive framework provides a layer of communication for the queuing and delivering of commands between applications and embedded systems. It has an easily customizable API and open source based framework, making it accessible for a wide community of developers and startups.

DeviceHive turns devices into accessible objects with RESTful interface to enable the building of unique smart device applications and control them over the internet. It creates two-way communication with remote devices using cloud as a middleware, enabling devices to be connected to anything, including sensor networks, smart meters, fleet trackers, telemetry, or smart home devices. With DeviceHive, travel vendors and small chains can now develop client applications using HTML5/JavaScript, iOS and Android libraries and integrate them with embedded devices via cloud, without looking into costly and complicated infrastructure. For solutions involving gateways, there is also gateway middleware that allows interfacing with devices connected to it.

How do I make my hospitality M2M solutions a reality?

DeviceHive is about connectivity and device management and it needs three things: Device, Client and Server. To get started, all you need to do is visit the website for DeviceHive and download the code to begin on your way to configure access, routing and networks, enabling you to fully focus on the programming of actual apps, instead of spending time on plumbing.

Hospitality technology vendors can use this opportunity to create innovation for all audiences to use smart devices to improve guest experiences. Taking out the need for extensive back end and infrastructure build opens up opportunities for the industry to quickly release new solutions, create higher ease of use for consumers and create new technical innovation for the hospitality industry to continue enhancing experiences for all levels of travelers.

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