If you’re planning a visit to select Starwood Hotels and Resorts in the near future, you could get a firsthand glimpse at a new type of smartphone technology. The company has partnered with a Swedish lock-maker to launch a pilot program which allows guests to use their smartphones as room keys. The program also allows guests to complete their bookings entirely online so they never have to wait in line at the front desk.
Starwood’s pilot program is compatible with smartphones running Android 4.3 or newer, and on the iPhone 4S and up. Here’s how it works:
- Guests use Starwood’s free smartphone app to check into the participating hotel
- They receive an automated text message, revealing their room number and providing them with a “virtual key”
- Guests scan their virtual key at their room to unlock their door
This program is the first of its kind in the hospitality industry. While other companies, including Crowne Plaza and Hilton, have created mobile check-in apps, Starwood is the first hotel chain to experiment with virtual keys. The pilot program will be launched by the end of March, and if it proves successful, Starwood has plans to roll it out nationwide.
App developers are playing a key role in the continued transformation of smartphone technology as it moves toward the so-called “Internet of Things.” Starwood’s pilot program is just one example of the hundreds of ways in which smartphones are poised to play an increasingly ubiquitous role in everyday living in the years ahead.
If you’re a mobile app developer in San Francisco trying to stay ahead of the curve on future trends, the anticipated rise of the Internet of Things is a great place to look for new opportunities. The Internet of Things will bring near-limitless software development opportunities as mobile technologies are used to make everyday living easier and more convenient in the years ahead.
Tags: crowne plaza, hardware hacking, hilton hotels, hotel check-in, internet of things, roomkey app, starwood hotels, travel app, travel tech, virtual key