CES Panel: Innovators/Disruptors Discuss Paths to Success

Shelley Zalis, chief executive of The Female Quotient, dubs herself a chief disruptor in many roles in her life, making her the ideal person to speak with a panel of like-minded innovators and disruptors at CES 2019. They included John Padgett, chief experience and innovation operator at Carnival Corporation; Arlan Hamilton, founder and managing partner of Backstage Capital; and Patrick Brown, founder/chief executive of Impossible Foods. They all had tales to tell about their challenging roads to success. Continue reading CES Panel: Innovators/Disruptors Discuss Paths to Success

New Version of Alexa Coming to Hotels With Echo Speakers

Amazon introduced Alexa for Hospitality this week, a new version of its virtual assistant designed specifically for the hotel industry. Alexa for Hospitality will initially be offered on an invitation basis to locations such as hotels and vacation rentals. The voice assistant will be customized per hospitality location so that customers can interact with an Echo smart speaker to easily adjust room controls, order room service, request housekeeping, ask location-specific questions, contact the front desk, check out, and more. Continue reading New Version of Alexa Coming to Hotels With Echo Speakers

Snapchat Introduces its New Location-Based Discovery Tool

Snapchat debuted “context cards” this week, a new feature that helps its users easily make a restaurant reservation or book an Uber ride without having to exit the app. The new feature is designed to keep users engaged with the app and its contextual location-based search. By swiping up from geotagged images while viewing certain stories, users will get related data such as contact info, directions and reviews. Early partners include Bookatable, Foursquare, Michelin, OpenTable and TripAdvisor. Ultimately, more time on Snapchat could mean more advertising revenue for the popular messaging app. Continue reading Snapchat Introduces its New Location-Based Discovery Tool

CES: Fasetto Rolls Out a New Class of Connectivity with LINK

Wisconsin-based startup Fasetto demonstrated its LINK storage and communications device at CES 2017. Ideal for media production, the portable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4G connected device might be the easiest way to distribute video via up to 15 mixed devices. A production unit merely needs access to a web browser and a little more than eight hours of battery charging time for streaming distribution. This device might also function as a budget version of on-set video support. The compact design (2-inches by 2-inches by 1-inch deep and a mere 4 ounces) packs up to 2TB of solid state storage with a 64 bit octa-core 2.1GHz Exynos 7420 processor and 4GB of RAM. Continue reading CES: Fasetto Rolls Out a New Class of Connectivity with LINK

Enseo Service to Bring Netflix to More Hotel Rooms Worldwide

Netflix and in-room entertainment platform maker Enseo have announced an expanded deal to bring the Netflix app to more worldwide hotel rooms. Hotel guests will be able to log in to their Netflix accounts via Enseo’s system and access TV shows, movies and their personalized lists and settings. “The two companies were already working together on Enseo’s product, the Enseo Entertainment Experience,” reports TechCrunch, “which also provides access to other streaming services like YouTube, Pandora, Hulu and Crackle.” Enseo was the first to bring Netflix to hotels with its original 2014 agreement. The new deal means Enseo “can now offer Netflix to any hotel under a contract in any country worldwide where Netflix is available.” Continue reading Enseo Service to Bring Netflix to More Hotel Rooms Worldwide

Facebook Users Can Search Top-Ranked Local Businesses

Amazon and Google have recently made efforts to connect Internet users with home and local service providers, taking on companies such as Angie’s List and Yelp in the process. Now, Facebook is testing its own feature that directs social media users to the top-reviewed service providers in their area. The new site is only available on desktop, but Facebook offers the ability to find local businesses on mobile via “Nearby Places.” In addition to home services, Facebook’s feature highlights restaurants, bars, nightclubs and travel-related businesses such as hotels, sightseeing and tours. Continue reading Facebook Users Can Search Top-Ranked Local Businesses

Streaming Services Send Hotel Room VOD to Chopping Block

As hotels in the U.S. continue to offer faster Internet connections, an increasing number of guests are more inclined to stream video content via popular services such as Netflix, Amazon and Hulu than opt for in-house video-on-demand. As a result, hotels are beginning to experience a significant decline in VOD use. Some have recently cut their adult-themed VOD content, and may eventually do the same with other on-demand offerings. However, this may not be the end of video-on-demand in hotels if providers make their services more competitive. Continue reading Streaming Services Send Hotel Room VOD to Chopping Block

Amazon Destinations Looks to Compete in Online Travel Market

Amazon launched its hotel-booking service this week, Amazon Destinations, that will initially feature about 150 hotels, inns and B&Bs located in the Northeast, Southern California and Pacific Northwest. While the listings include a few branded hotels, the focus will remain on smaller, independent properties and operators for now. The company began hotel bookings in 2012, primarily offering discounts to address excess inventory. The new service will allow owners more flexibility regarding rates beyond package deals and discounts. Continue reading Amazon Destinations Looks to Compete in Online Travel Market

MagicBand Offers Seamless Experience for Theme Park Guests

Visitors of Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando can now enter the theme park, check in at FastPass entrances, and buy food and merchandise without ever having to reach for their wallets. That is because Disney recently introduced the MagicBand, a tech enabled wristband that transmits signals to various sensors throughout the theme park so that the consumer experience can be completely hassle-free. Each wristband is personalized and designed to anticipate the needs of anyone visiting the park.  Continue reading MagicBand Offers Seamless Experience for Theme Park Guests

Marriott Turns to New Media to Draw Today’s Young Travelers

Marriott International is making an effort to to attract a younger generation of travelers by providing new entertainment. The company has added YouTuber Jack Harries, Snapchatter Casey Neistat, and “Ghost Whisperer” producers Ian Sander and Kim Moses to its list of content creators. The newly launched Marriott Content Studio has debuted a Web series titled “Marriott Rewards’ Year of Surprises” with a monthly celebrity host, along with a co-production deal with tech startup Naritiv. Continue reading Marriott Turns to New Media to Draw Today’s Young Travelers

Rockbot: Universal Music Invests in Social Jukebox Service

Universal Music Group, largest of the major music labels, just closed an investment deal with Rockbot, a virtual jukebox service that provides music to bars, restaurants and other locations. Through Rockbot, businesses can play licensed music while customers use a mobile app to check in and interact with the songs. One perk is the ability for customers to vote on which music will be played. Rockbot expects to use the new funding to expand its reach throughout the U.S. Continue reading Rockbot: Universal Music Invests in Social Jukebox Service

Gartner Report Says 3D Printing Not Quite Ready for the Home

Gartner analysts estimate that 3D printing our own food, gifts, shoes and other products is at least five to 10 years away. In a report released earlier this week, Gartner suggested that the 3D printing of product models is two years away from its peak usage, while mainstream adoption of 3D printing for medical applications is about two to five years away. Although the technology is advancing and printers are coming down in price, the concept is not quite ready for everyday use in the home. Continue reading Gartner Report Says 3D Printing Not Quite Ready for the Home