Hotel Intelligent Multimedia Information System (HIMIS)

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I. Introduction

Today's hotels are no longer just places that provide accommodation. They now offer a wide range of services and functions including business, shopping and entertainment. The introduction of IT technologies is now an inevitable development with TVs, computers and networking becoming essential infrastructure.

TV and VOD are now necessary entertainment for hotel rooms. To date, VOD systems are still mostly older and simpler systems that only play videos. Videos also have to be changed manually on-site. This means videos are often only updated once every few months and this is no longer adequate for modern hotel requirements. Rapid advances in modern digital and networking technology means cutting-edge network multimedia systems are now available. Digital videos offer crystal clear images and interactive menus so guests can choose the video they want to watch. They can even preview the videos before paying. This user-friendly design provides guests with the best service. Video updates can be managed remotely over the network as well. This makes for faster updates and since videos can be changed at any time, it allows guests to watch the latest videos. The videos played over the network are digitized and can incorporate digital rights management (DRM) protection to prevent piracy. This means even new-release movies can be delivered to hotel rooms, boosting guest enjoyment.

The coming of the Internet Age means going online is now part of people's everyday routine. Hotels have therefore begun installing computers in guest rooms to meet this need. The open architecture of conventional computers however makes them vulnerable to computer viruses and expensive to maintain. They are also a threat to guest privacy because they remain in their previous state and retain user records. Later on, computers without hard disks were used instead so all data processing and administration was handled by the server. This reduced the amount of time spent on managing individual computers and after each use, the computer is restored to its default setting so there is no problem with viruses or records. The problem with this approach is the heavy workload imposed on the server. The performance is particularly poor when dealing with video multimedia. HIMIS offers an alternative solution. By using an embedded disk-less system and special data processing architecture, it offers the processing power of conventional computers while eliminating the weaknesses of pure disk-less systems, resulting in good video multimedia performance. This is a 3rd generation product for network multimedia systems and the latest design now on the market.

For tourists, accommodation, sightseeing and food is very important, but so is buying local artwork, gifts and souvenirs. Tourists are however always worried about the price and quality of artwork, gifts and souvenirs. They want to be sure that the price is reasonable and the quality is good. They may also be in a hurry as well, so they don't have the time or effort to carefully pick what they want. HIMIS therefore offers a value-adding e-commerce service that provides photos of hand-picked local artworks, gifts and souvenirs on the TVs in the guest rooms along with product details and reasonable pricing. Guests can pick what they want from the TV in their rooms and then have service representatives conduct the transaction face to face. This gives guests the time to pick through products with the quality is guaranteed by the hotel. The value-added TV shopping service not only improves customer service but is also the most direct way to boost hotel revenues.

The scope of the value-added e-commerce service includes:

  • Contract boutique brands sold directly through the hotel. These use the hotel's reputation and the opportunity to reach out to guests to sell brand-name artwork, accessories, gifts and souvenirs.
  • The range of contract merchants in each city can be expanded from within the hotel to its immediate surroundings, expanding the shopping district.
  • Set up a value-added service center (part of the business center) to provide guests with face-to-face service.
  • Use the VOD feature on guest room TVs to increase guests' exposure to products and boost sales.

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