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Industry News - January 25th 2014



ZDirect Integration to Apple's Passbook Sends Confirmations from PMS to iPhone

ZDirect is helping to keep mobile travelers organized by developing new integration that links directly from a hotel's property management system to the Apple iOS 6 Passbook digital wallet. Using the ZMail® electronic communication platform, a guest's hotel confirmation becomes a mobile "pass" that is sent to an iPhone or iPod Touch and added to the mobile Passbook file. Since Passbook is time and location based, hotel confirmations automatically appear on the lock screen when and where the information is needed.
As travelers get close to the hotel, their confirmations pop up for easy viewing.
ZDirect is a hospitality provider of electronic customer-relationship management services. Via ZMail®, hotels send personalized emails and text messages to guests before, during and after their stay to improve hotel-to-guest communications, build customer loyalty and increase onsite spending. Today more than 2,000 hotels spanning six continents are using ZMail® to better connect with guests.
ZDirect attaches Passbook files to emails or creates a link to download the “pass” from a confirmation email or SMS text message. The look and feel of the hotel's "pass" can be customized for each hotel and configured for any PMS. Once the "pass" is stored on the mobile device, a data connection is not needed to retrieve it, so roaming charges are not assessed.

Cognizant Allies with Synergy for Store Collaboration and Vendor Management

In alliance with Synergy Systems, Cognizant will implement the GlobalWorx in-store collaboration and management solution. The Software-as-a-Service platform facilitates collaboration among retailers, direct store delivery (DSD) vendors, distributors, merchandisers and service providers, and it can be accessed through tablets, smartphones and Internet-enabled computers.

GlobalWorx provides retailers with a better understanding of the service level performance of their DSD vendors, and helps reduce out-of-stocks with the ability to monitor vendor performance and quickly report service issues using tablet technology.

"As retailing shifts to an omnichannel, real-time network of suppliers and vendors, GlobalWorx helps retailers reduce store labor and supply chain costs, drive revenue and streamline operations," said Steven Skinner, vice president of the Retail Industry Practice for Cognizant Business Consulting in a statement. "GlobalWorx enhances Cognizant's deep understanding of the retail space, and helps stores, vendors and retailers leverage cloud, collaboration and tablet technology to execute retail operations with greater efficiency."

Bartech and Inncom Partner to Provide Smart Controls for Minibars

Bartech has announced a partnership with INNCOM and certified integration with the company's INNcontrol 3 system. INNCOM develops, manufactures, and markets advanced guestroom control systems for the global lodging industry. The Bartech INNCOM partnership will give hotels access to a rooms control system that controls in-room minibars along with various other technologies, in order to maximize operations and minimize costs.

INNCOM's INNcontrol 3 system is specifically designed to communicate with intelligent guestroom devices such as Bartech minibars. The system reports on room occupancy, network connectivity and equipment run-time, which helps in a property's preventative maintenance processes, as well as tracking the energy savings being achieved.
Additionally, INNcontrol™ 3 communicates with other hotel server-based systems, such as the property-management system, building-automation systems, central electronic-locking systems and work order systems.  

As an integrated technology partner, Bartech's automated minibars can be deployed on the existing IT infrastructure of a hotel using INNCOM room controls. This not only makes minibar operations more streamlined and efficient, but also makes installation much quicker, easier and more cost-effective, since no additional wiring is required for deployment. INNCOM primarily relies on ZigBee state-of-the-art wireless communication technology to integrate with a hotel's disparate systems on a common network. Bartech offers a choice of standalone ZigBee wireless network, WiFi, coax cable, twisted pair or Ethernet for server communication with its automatic minibars. 


Benbria Intros Mobile Customer Engagement Solution

At NRF 2014, Benbria introduced BlazeLoop, its Mobile Customer Engagement solution that helps retailers to increase in-store sales conversion rates by capturing and acting on customer input at the decisive moment in the shopping experience. As part of Verizon’s Partner Ecosystem, Benbria showcased BlazeLoop at the National Retail Federation (NRF) 102nd Annual Convention & EXPO.
Using a variety of mobile and in-store technologies – including web, SMS, email, mobile app and kiosk – BlazeLoop enables customers to create a “loop”, the process of capturing and directing real-time customer input to front-line staff for action and closure. Instant text and email notifications alert store managers of customer needs, enabling staff to connect with the customer in person and close the loop before they have a chance to leave dissatisfied and without a purchase.
Connecting on-the-spot with in-store shoppers enables staff to act on the influence levers that impact conversion such as product availability, price and selection; service issues such as staff product knowledge, friendliness and promptness; and concerns related to product accessibility. Closing the loop through real-time staff action helps retailers to recover dissatisfied customers, increase in-store sales conversion, and delight customers with a unique shopping experience.
BlazeLoop helps retailers understand why people don't buy and alerts staff to connect in person and close the loop with customers while they are in the store. As customers are a great source of ideas and improvements, BlazeLoop engages shoppers to rate and influence retail and branding concepts such as upcoming product lines, promotional displays and merchandise presentation.
Real-time loops alert store managers of customer issues, enabling front-line staff to connect with the customer in-person and privately resolve issues before they have a chance to leave the site dissatisfied or socialize their experiences publicly via word-of-mouth and social media.



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