GuestTech SuiteLink Provides Next Generation Solution For In-Room Internet Access

BALTIMORE? The people at GuestTech want you to leave your laptop at home. Not something you would expect to hear from an Internet connectivity company, until you consider the fact that the high-tech group?s Suite-Link product provides hotels with a complete access solution? one that includes a personal computer in every room. Craig Ziegler, GuestTech?s vp/marketing and CEO of Baltimore, MD-based affiliate gr.8, has a clear vision for the product which is for in-room PCs to become as ubiquitous in hotel rooms as the telephone or television. When that happens, he believes, there will no longer be a need for business travelers to carry a laptop on every step of a trip. According to Ziegler, sending and receiving information would then be as simple as clicking on the remote control. ?The road warriors out there are walking around with these laptops? which they have to take through metal detectors, on planes, in taxi cabs? and most people don?t use them until they?re in their hotel room,? Ziegler said. ?We?re trying to go after Fortune 100 companies and get access to their [networks]and then trying to steer their traveling employees to properties where we?re installed.? Aside from the obvious perils of lugging around a two- pound hunk of silicon and plastic? mainly losing, dropping or otherwise damaging the business traveler?s only link to the data universe? GuestTech can offer what every Internet user longs for? speed. GuestTech provides all the hardware and installation of the in-room PC, which is connected to the Internet via a high-bandwidth wireless Local Area Network (LAN) which is 50 times faster than an ordinary phone line. But Ziegler understands that old habits die hard, so the system includes a data port which allows travelers to plug their own laptop into the high-speed network, thereby getting the advantage of a high-bandwidth connection with the comfort of a familiar machine. GuestTech?s aim is to provide every hotel guest with Internet access the easiest way possible? both for the hotel and their customers. According to Ziegler, the product is a comprehensive solution which addresses what hoteliers have been asking for since the Internet revolution began. ?We?ve seen some of the other products out there and frankly, most of them don?t provide a full solution. Hoteliers have been looking for a comprehensive solution to provide Internet connectivity to the guestrooms,? Ziegler said. ?What we?re offering is a full end-to-end solution and then some. Before, the only link to the guest was through the telephone. We?re bringing the portal itself to the table.? Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the SuiteLink product is its wireless connectivity. A hotel outfitted with the system? whether it?s in designated data rooms or in every room? will be connected to the Internet through a single high speed T1 line which provides 1.5 Mbps download speeds. Each in-room unit is then connected to a LAN via wireless transmitters which completely bypass the hotel?s PBXRepeaters located discreetly in hallways pick up and boost the signal to a level where interference is virtually non-existent. This solves the problem of tying up the PBX with long-duration phone calls to Internet service providers (ISP) which cut into a hotel?s telephone revenues. In addition, the lack of extra wiring makes the system look clean and installation is limited to 13.5 minutes per room on average, according to GuestTech. ?Most of that 13 minutes is testing the system,? Ziegler said. ?We?re taking all the guess work out of this process.? The GuestTech business model is equally attractive to the hotel, incorporating revenue sharing in several ways. The SuiteLink product may be accessed by guests free of charge as an amenity, while additional fees can be added when business programs such as Microsoft Word, Excel or Powerpoint are accessed through the GuestTech system. Hotels can also share in revenue generated through advertisements and e-commerce on Sui

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