Will You Someday Use Your Cellphone to Open Your Hotel Room Door?
USA Today has a half-hearted report on the emerging room key technologies in hotels these days. We say half-hearted because there's no technology mentioned that gets us really excited about staying in a hotel room in the future.
For instance, the Plaza Hotel when it finally opens whenever that may be will use radio-frequency key-cards that can unlock your room door when swiped past the lock at close range. That's kinda cool. It can save us the frustration of trying to swipe a keycard thats been demagnetized against our knowledge.
There's also talk of creating a papercard which would look and work exactly like the plastic keycard, except it's more environmentally-friendly. This sounds nice until the paper gets squashed in our purse.
Lastly, Accor Hotels is testing out a new lock that opens when guests' cellphones or PDAs are flashed in front of the door. Now, this is some great hotel technology. We imagine your cellphone is programmed at the front desk to open your room and your room only. Wouldn't want people breaking into rooms just by flashing their BlackBerrys around.
Sadly, they say it will be years before this type of lock becomes common in hotel rooms.
Two more room key technologies involve the iris scan a la Nine Zero in Boston and the fingerprint lock. Apparently, the seven-room SoHo Loft Hotel in NYC already uses this.
Its guests are escorted to their rooms, where their prints are scanned on the lock. Guests can open the doors by pressing their index fingers on the locks and keying in a numerical code issued at check-in. The code is issued as an extra layer of security, Drake says.
The hotel throws out the scanned fingerprints a few days after the guest has checked-out. Yet even that might not be foolproof. A recent guest complained:
The finger print door mechanism took 10 times to work.