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Organizers of the HITEC show are good at spotlighting vendor companies in several ways, while providing fun and information for attendees. One ongoing but still-unique twist is Guestroom 2010, a showcase of cutting-edge products that event planners believe may show up in hotel rooms of the future.

The nine-person Guestroom 2010 committee isn't afraid to stir up some controversy, as it did this year with its placement of an intercom in the display to point out its collective belief that the traditional telephone will soon be gone from most guestrooms. As guests seem to have universally gone to cellphones as their communications tools of choice, the in-room phone has been relegated to ordering roomservice. Even that will probably change in the future as TV-based entertainment systems increasingly function as information portals.

At some point, the reasoning goes, the guest can use the TV to order roomservice, a wake-up call, extra towels or whatever other services he or she requires. One rub: the need to reach guests during an emergency seems to ensure some type of communications device will always need to be present in the guestroom.

This year's Guestroom 2010 display featured more than 40 separate products from nearly as many companies. Some are practical and will probably become standard amenities in hotels of the future. Others are whimsical, bordering on bizarre. Here are a few highlights from the latter category:

  • A digital door viewer from First View Security employs a flat-screen LCD monitor on the back of a guest-room door and a tiny digital camera on the exterior to allow guests to see who's in the hallway.

  • Wii for Hotels from Nintendo will allow guests to experience the popular video game system without having to manipulate discs. A console provides a menu of games and other content for guests. Hotel management can control menu content, erase data when guests leave and receive updates to the system through a network connection.

  • A potential godsend for frustrated hotel guests everywhere is Timeset from Sensory, Inc. The system allows any device with a clock and an RSC-4x chip to have its time set using spoken phrases. As a result, a guest can tell the clock radio what time he or she wants to wake up instead of fiddling with buttons or knobs.

  • Powerslide from Fluxx Labs is a device that turns motion of common building components, such as sliding doors, windows and drawers, into a source of energy. In Guestroom 2010, the device was connected to a sliding closet door, so each time a guest slides open the door, a small amount of energy is converted into light to illuminate the inside of the closet.

  • The technology on display also included applications for the bathroom. The Fountainhead VibrAcoustic Bath from Kohler uses sound waves to provide a soothing spa-like tub experience. The technology envelops the bather in a multi-sensory experience that synchronizes music, vibration and light with water.

Another vendor-based feature of HITEC was the FAVE Awards, a two-year-old program that allowed attendees to choose their favorite booth designs and technology systems on display. Those attendees who voted were placed in a drawing to win a $1,000 Wii package. Attendee winner was Nancy Beecraft of the Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, NY.

This year's FAVE Awards:

Favorite island booth

  • Sony Electronics

Favorite inline booth

  • Digital Alchemy

Favorite Solutions Awards:

  • Elfiq Network's
    Link Load Balancer

  • LodgeNet Interactive's
    media and connectivity technology solutions

  • MICROS Opera PMS

  • Sony Electronics' entertainment products

  • Wii for Hotels

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