iPhone Replaces Hotel Room Keys in New Pilot Program

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jan 27, 2014.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Starwood Hotels & Resorts is implementing a new pilot program that will see two key hotel locations in Manhattan and Silicon Valley allowing guests to enter their rooms with their smartphones, reports The Wall Street Journal.

    After installing the Starwood Preferred Guest (SGP) App, guests will receive a virtual key on their iPhone, which can then be used to unlock a door with a tap using Bluetooth 4.0. The newer Bluetooth specification, first introduced with the iPhone 4s, has been used in a similar way for many home locking products like the Lockitron and the August Smart Lock, but this is the first time it's being used on a larger scale.

    Starwood officials are betting that the technology will become the standard for hotels in the future, replacing traditional hotel check-in methods.
    Bluetooth 4.0 (or Bluetooth LE) is being utilized in a number of innovative ways. In addition to being installed in multiple different home locking products, it has also been used to replace traditional password logins on Macs through the Knock app and to deliver car diagnostics in the Automatic connected car device. Bluetooth 4.0 is also the driving technology behind Apple's iBeacons, which are rapidly being implemented in retail stores and other locations across the world to deliver location-based notifications.

    Two Starwood Aloft hotels, in Harlem, New York and Cupertino, California, will be updated with the Bluetooth 4.0 technology during the first quarter of 2014. Starwood has plans to roll out the system at all of its locations by the end of 2015 should the pilot program be successful.

    Article Link: iPhone Replaces Hotel Room Keys in New Pilot Program
  2. macrumors 6502a

    Feb 7, 2011
  3. jc1350, Jan 27, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2014

    macrumors 6502a

    Feb 4, 2008
    This is neat, but there are times where a plastic (waterproof) card key would still be "better." Great Wolf Lodge for example. But for general hotel use, this is very cool.

    My family went to Walt Disney World this past summer and we used the new MagicBands. Very neat. Waterproof RFID that was room key, park ticket, and room charge card all in one. NO worries about leaving an unattended card or phone by the pool and such. It was also convenient in that we didn't have to fumble through pockets and bags looking for keys, tickets, etc.
  4. macrumors 65816

    Apr 24, 2010
  5. macrumors member

    Nov 11, 2013
    Still can't find any Bluetooth LE keyboards. Imagine the battery life! I've been dreaming of one for some time now...
  6. macrumors G4

    Small White Car

    Aug 29, 2006
    Washington DC
    This is fun and all but eventually wearable tech is going to take over this job from smartphones. In fact, isn't the Disney thing mentioned above already a bracelet?

    THIS is where the iWatch will be interesting...not emails on your wrist.
  7. macrumors member

    Jun 19, 2013
    I like it. Still would prefer a standard key to hold on to anyway just in case my battery dies or I'm on the phone while I'm walking to my room, but I think this is a cool concept and similar uses will likely become more popular in years to come.
  8. macrumors 68000

    Jan 13, 2008
    I think using a phone just opens up so many problems:

    1)Most people have a phone...some are App developers...what's stopping them from writing a program to scan and open any door?

    2)Plastic cards that have been in use for decades are quite nice...can be out in the sun, water, wallet, etc. Not so much with a phone.

    3)Phone out of juice or simply having issues? Have fun.

    4)Expanding on #1, the current plastic card systems are proprietary technology and would be far, far less people that have access to the system to hack/break a card/door.

    I'm still unclear why a phone (regardless of manufacturer) still has to do 1,000,000 things MORE than a phone. Relying on "the phone" to do everything in your life is...um...that old "all your eggs in 1 basket" mentality.
  9. macrumors 6502

    Dec 14, 2009
    Charlotte, NC
    We diversify our portfolios.

    Why don't we (I do) diversify our data? Reliance upon one technology or provider gives unfettered access to our lives.

    I'm soooo okay with a room keycard. It's simple to use. Not tied to google, FB, Apple. Worst case, if I lose it, I hit up the front desk.

    Consolidation isn't always the best path.
  10. macrumors newbie

    Sep 22, 2013
  11. macrumors 68020

    Cuban Missles

    Dec 6, 2012
    My heart is in Camagüey, the rest in the USA

    As a frequent traveler, I appreciate not having to stand in line to check in/out. Some hotels have installed kiosks where you can use your credit card and get your card key much quicker. But even better, is this, like a self check in for the airline. Just check in enroute to the hotel, and when you get there you already know your room number. The problem is getting in the room. The only way to do so without waiting at a kiosk or front desk is this. I like it. But sure, let make it secure so that folks dont abuse.
  12. macrumors 6502

    Sep 2, 2012
    Running android? Good luck getting into your room! Seems like a hotel apple would own!
  13. macrumors 65816


    Jun 13, 2013
    i agree that this is awesome and will def use it, but i also enjoy just going down to the pool or beach without bringing anything with me except a plastic room key that i can keep in my pocket.

    maybe iPhone 6 will be waterproof :D
  14. macrumors 6502

    Oct 10, 2008
    Did you read the article?

    "The company says the iPhone 4s or newer models and the Android phones running 4.3 or newer will be compatible"
  15. macrumors regular

    Jun 23, 2007
    This is what I really dislike about some Apple sites when they report about iPhone news: it always seem to read as if it’s an iOS/iPhone exclusive feature/app when it’s also available for Android.

    My impression is that MacRumors and TouchArcade are particularly fond of replacing the word “smartphone” with “iPhone”.
  16. macrumors 68040


    Nov 2, 2007
    Los Angeles
    In regards to number 3:
    You could always use it on your 5th gen iPod Touch if it's just BT 4.0.
  17. macrumors member

    Jan 4, 2012
    Berkshire, UK
    Just make sure you can unlock your phone and launch their app after your long night in the bar. Wouldn't want an embarrassing situation in the hotel corridor now, would we?
  18. macrumors 68020

    Jul 29, 2002
    Vancouver, BC CANADA
    Yup, this is a motivation to wear a watch again. Between secure entry to buildings and secure payments at merchants... all in a wrist-worn device. So cool.
  19. macrumors newbie

    Mar 31, 2010
    If this will turn me into a smug bitch like in the advert, count me in.
  20. macrumors 603


    Aug 4, 2011
    More than waterproof... what if your cellphone is out of charge and nearest charger is IN your room O_O

    I was just there for Dopey Challenge, the wristband was absolutely fantastic as you outlined.

    Still... It is a consumable item. Integration with an iPhone BTLE would reduce waste. Part of me would prefer that...
  21. macrumors member


    May 23, 2010
    On an active volcano
    Soon we will each have a chip in our body that will replace this program, where this world will be like the movie "Demolition Man".

    Attached Files:

  22. macrumors member

    Oct 5, 2009
    Chicago, IL
    very cool. i've already stayed at a hotel where ipads control the lights/tv/air conditioning in the room and you can order room services from it.
  23. macrumors G5


    Nov 25, 2005
    What if you forgot your key in the room and locked yourself out.

    Both problems have the same low-tech solution which involves walking to the reception :D
  24. macrumors 603


    Aug 4, 2011
    From Google.

    Version	Codename	API	Distribution
    2.2	Froyo	8	1.3%
    2.3.3 -
    2.3.7	Gingerbread	10	21.2%
    3.2	Honeycomb	13	0.1%
    4.0.3 -
    4.0.4	Ice Cream Sandwich	15	16.9%
    4.1.x	Jelly Bean	16	35.9%
    4.2.x	17	15.4%
    4.3	18	7.8%
    4.4	KitKat	19	1.4%
    Only 9.2% of Android users are on 4.3 or higher.

    Considering such a small minority of Android users are using up-to-date devices + this being a MacRumors site. I think it's A-OK to exclude Android.
  25. macrumors regular

    Oct 25, 2011
    You've fallen into the trap that most tech pundits fell into when the iPhone was released... The iPhone isn't a phone. It's a pocket-sized computer that happens to be able to make phone calls.

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