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Indoor Navigation – unlock very interesting potential for Hotels & Casinos
by Somnath Banerjee
on August 28, 2013
in Engineering
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Indoor Navigation – unlock very interesting potential for Hotels & Casinos

Indoor Navigation

Maps and Location based apps are by far the most helpful and effective smart phone tools.  Unfortunately, their success is mostly in an outdoor setting where GPS signals work well.   They do not work well in an “indoor setting” e.g. inside a shopping mall, museum, hotel or a casino.   Aggravating the problem of weak or unavailable signal is the indoor specific location information – the Spa inside a hotel, or the Restaurant or the roulette table in the casino.  Indoor navigation isn’t really a technology; it’s an idea!  It goes something like this: what if there were apps that worked like GPS, but indoors?  What if we could take positioning technology and mash it together with maps of shopping malls, hotels and casinos – or any other big, confusing, indoor space? This picture should clarify the idea.

Finally, the dream seems to be within reach!

iBeacons

Apple’s new iBeacons for iOS 7 implements a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) profile for micro-location, which opens up whole new possibilities for hotels and resorts using very interesting geo-fencing.  Instead of using GPS satellite signals to locate a device, using BLE one can enable a mobile user to navigate and interact with specific regions geo-fenced by low cost signal emitters.  These emitters can be placed anywhere, including indoors and on moving targets. Also, iOS devices themselves can also act as an iBeacon. An user armed with an iOS 7 device, acting as an iBeacon, can trigger events around them.  This may allow them to do several interesting actions: for example, turn on or off lights, unlock and open doors simply by signaling the user’s proximity to devices listening for it via BLE or even receive a special offer from an indoor attraction!

BLE specification also supports peripheral push notifications, which Apple would support in iOS 7, enabling developers to have applications send data to connected Bluetooth devices without needing to have the application open and running. iBeacons can be used to build an interactive tour of a hotel or a resort, where the user’s attention is directed to specific exhibits as they walk freely within the building. This feature would to enable indoor navigation similar to GPS in settings where GPS signals aren’t available. If this sounds all very confusing this picture would certainly help. This would provide virtual maps and turn-by-turn directions to the favorite destinations inside the premises of a hotel or a casino.

iBeacons & Passbook

Another application may be to present hotel guest with a  “broadcast of location specific offers“. This particular application would make iBeacons an extension of the geo-fencing Apple enabled in Passbook, which lets a pass, ticket or loyalty card popup on the phone screen when the guest cross the geo-fence threshold of a defined iBeacon location. Using BLE, the hotel property owner can define more targeted “micro-locations to trigger an alert, an offer to a Hotel Spa or a special discount for a beverage at the bar. If Passbook is combined with iBeacons, hoteliers would be able to customize promotions to specific locations in their properties and send them right to a users iPhone via Pass for Passbook. Rather than just getting blasted with coupons when a guest walks in to a hotel, he would only receive coupons and offers when approaching specific areas of a hotel where he would have interest. Consumers would have the choice of categories or only the right offers presented to them via predictive analytics.

Please note that casinos and hotels are already starting to provide similar services within premises. However, iBeacons & Passbook offer a much more dynamic and real time configurable service. iBeacons will be unveiled in thefall of 2013 with iOS7 thus enabling the iPhone a lot more useful as indoor navigation tool inside hotels and resorts. Location based mobile marketing can yield sky-high conversion rates with surgical targeting of ads by providing the right offer at the right place at the right time!

Art Norins Talks About Innovation at TedX Purdue
by admin
on April 30, 2012
in Corporate
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Art Norins Talks About Innovation at TedX Purdue

He’s always marched to his own beat. Find out how Co-Founder and CEO Art Norins finds his passion.

Art Norins Talks About Innovation – TedX

From Twinkie-Stands to Global Corporations, Art Norins has built them all.

 

At Nor1, We’ll Always Be Learning
by admin
on March 19, 2012
in Technology
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At Nor1, We’ll Always Be Learning

By Sanjay Wahi
VP Analytics & Product Intelligence
Nor1, Inc.
 

Optimization Philosophy

It is a best practice within the ecommerce and consumer internet industry to constantly “test, learn, and refine,” and one that Nor1 wholeheartedly embraces.  The reality of product development is that sometimes small things make a big difference and sometimes big things make no difference at all, or they produce negative results.  Experimentation is an excellent tool for finding out which is which.

Our philosophy at Nor1 is that we should constantly be running experiments and measuring the results of subtle changes that are quickly deployed to a subset of hotel properties or guests.  We encourage our employees and customers to embrace a data-driven culture such that we remove the opinion from decision-making and learn to trust the evidence. Sometimes we simply confirm what we already thought, but often we are surprised by what we learn, and in this way we open the intrepid doorway to innovation.

Learn More, Upgrade More?

One recently concluded experiment was to test the impact of the words “Learn More” on the eStandby Upgrade® call to action image.  The wording had always been on the image and we wanted to verify that it helped drive guest interest and subsequent upgrade requests.

It turns out that by removing the words Learn More from the bottom right hand corner, we were able to increase conversion of upgrade requests by 11%!

Key Experimentation Tenets

There are many factors that influence the design and execution of a successful experiment. Below we highlight many of the key tenets:

1)     Understand what you are testing. Start with a clear hypothesis, define the metrics that matter, and the business decision to be made.  At the end of the experiment you want to take an action that is based on what you learned.

2)     Randomly expose guests to the variants.  It is critical to employ random sampling techniques to ensure guests that are exposed to an experiment are representative of the entire population.  By doing this, we can be more certain that the results of the experiment are generalizable and are due to what we tested, as opposed to a confounding factor that was not considered.

3)     Get statistically significant results as fast as possible while mitigating risk.  In order to make decisions quickly, we need to expose enough bookings to our various treatments.  We start by first rolling out the experiment to a select number of properties to ensure the mechanics are working as planned.  Once we are confident that the experiment is working as intended, we then expose additional properties to ensure we have a representative sample and sufficient volume.

4)     Have procedures in place for quick rollbacks if necessary.  It’s important to identify any key metric movements that would indicate an immediate need to stop a test.  By doing so, we can ensure that there is no major harm done to guest experience, brand image, or revenue metrics.

5)     Trust the data.  During the planning of the experiment, it is critical to use judgement when deciding what to measure along with any caveats to consider. A simple rule of thumb is to collect the data the helps make a business decision.  Once an experiment is completed and statistically valid, it is essential to trust the evidence even if it’s counter to what you thought would happen.

6)     Communicate findings to stakeholders.  Each successfully completed experiment provides insights about consumer behavior.  It is our goal to share relevant information to key stakeholders on a periodic basis to help further their understanding.

Continuous optimization is a core principal and practice at Nor1, and by following these six tenets of experimentation, we will continue to accelerate the pace of innovation on behalf of our customers. 

Nor1 Unveils New Brand Identity; Relaunches Corporate Website
by admin
on February 28, 2012
in Corporate
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Nor1 Unveils New Brand Identity; Relaunches Corporate Website

SUNNYVALE, CA – February 22, 2012 – It’s Here! Nor1, the technology leader in upsell solutions, is proud to announce the release of its new brand identity. The change includes a redesigned company website and overall re-branding in support of the company’s commitment to technology and the hospitality industry, and further solidifies the company’s leadership position.

The new visual identity represents “innovation” and “guest relations” featuring a custom graphic color-wheel that morphs its shape and images in context to the company’s solutions and services. The overall look reflects Nor1’s pledge of perpetual innovation in addition to being client-driven, data-driven, creative, responsive, and a thorough organization that continues to expand its presence in the hospitality technology market.

“We wanted to be sure that the appropriate information and resources were available for our hospitality customers to learn about Nor1 products and innovations,” said Art Norins, Founder and CEO of Nor1, Inc. “Equally important was that our new brand reflects who we are, the markets we serve and the innovation that differentiates us in our industry.”

The primary objective of the new Nor1 website is to serve as an effective business development tool. Highlights of the new www.nor1.com, include:

  • Solutions – The Solutions page provides a clear positioning of Nor1’s technology innovations and overall corporate ethos.
  • eStandby Upgrade – Deep insight has been added on the company’s signature solution page arming both existing and future hotel partners with the information they need to begin increasing revenue and guest satisfaction.
  • eStandby Upgrade Support Tab– This Tab gives key guidance for eStandby Upgrade integration and customer service.
  • eStandby Upgrade Sign-up Tab – Through an easy to fill online form, hotels can now begin the eStandby implementation process from the website.
  • Nor1 Blog – This is where the best technology minds of Silicon Valley and hospitality revenue management come together to offer articles, tips, musings and company information in an open, engaging environment.
  • Nor1 Careers – A clean and clear page to attract top engineering and hospitality talent.

About Nor1, Inc.

Nor1, Inc. is the technology leader in upsell solutions. Headquartered in Silicon Valley, Nor1 provides data-driven pricing and merchandising solutions to maximize revenues for hotels and resorts worldwide including Hilton, Hyatt, InterContinental and Carlson hotels. Nor1 products include its signature eStandby Upgrade® and the FrontDesk Upsell™ both powered by PRiME™, the decision intelligence engine, that makes product selection, upsell pricing, and display ranking decisions customized for each hotel guest.

Nor1 is creating the fusion between technology and guest experience. It’s that combination of expertise and skill that have set Nor1 apart and continues to attract technology’s most distinguished investors such as Goldman Sachs and Accel Partners. For more information, please visit www.nor1.com.

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