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RFID Helps Swiss Hotel Provide Five-Star Service

The solution can tell bartenders the name and specific preferences of a patron approaching the bar, so that they can provide personalized greetings and assistance.
By Claire Swedberg
Oct 23, 2013

When travelers check into a hotel, they might feel more at home if employees at that establishment recognized them by name and treated them as friends. One luxury hotel in the Lake Geneva area of Switzerland is doing just, with help from RFID-based technology. The five-star hotel has installed an RFID system known as TouchPoint, provided by Swiss startup OneLab Solutions, to identify guests as they approach the bar.

Although the hotel has asked to remain unnamed, its director says: "As a five-star hotel, we strive to provide excellent personalized service, but it is difficult to recognize every guest. TouchPoint helps us achieve this, and lets all of our guests feel like a VIP. We are looking forward to extending the system throughout the hotel in order to improve the overall guest experience."

Inside the TouchPoint key fob is an active 433 MHz RFID tag made by Adveez.
The system consists of active 433 MHz RFID tags built into key fobs carried by guests, as well as readers that awaken and receive those tags' transmitted ID numbers, and then forward those IDs back to a gateway, which communicates with a cloud-based server. A tablet computer mounted behind the bar can then display information about the customers carrying the fobs. OneLab charges clients a monthly fee for the software service and use of the hardware.

OneLab was launched in 2012 by four individuals with backgrounds in RFID technology, with the mission of offering security solutions that identify when individuals or objects enter specific areas, according to Skye Legon, one of the cofounders. However, the TouchPoint solution was conceived when the cofounders began considering what their technology could offer the hospitality industry. The initial concept, he says, began with the idea of installing a reader at an elevator to identify a guest and his or her room number. OneLab software would then use that data to direct the elevator to automatically proceed to the individual's specific floor.

The company met with several hotels and found that instead of automating elevators, the hotels' primary concern was to make it possible for personnel to simply recognize guests prior to providing them with services. For example, if staff members knew who had entered a restaurant, swimming-pool area or spa, they could greet those guests by name, directly bill services to their rooms and cater to any specific requirements (such as accommodating an allergy to particular foods, or a preference for a certain drink or table) without being asked.

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