A new pilot program is being implemented at Starwood Hotels & Resorts that will see two key hotel locations in Manhattan and Silicon Valley allowing guests to get into their rooms with their smartphones.
After installing the Starwood Preferred Guest (SGP) App, guests will receive a virtual key on their iPhone, which can be used to unlock a door with a tap using Bluetooth 4.0. The newer Bluetooth specification, first introduced with the iPhone 4S, has been used in a similar way for many home locking products like the Lockitron and the August Smart Lock, but never has this been used on larger scale.
“We believe this will become the new standard for how people will want to enter a hotel,” says Frits van Paasschen, Starwood’s CEO. “It may be a novelty at first, but we think it will become table stakes for managing a hotel.”
Starwood officials are hoping that the technology will become the standard for hotels in the future, replacing traditional hotel check-in methods.
Two Starwood Aloft hotels, in Harlem, New York and Cupertino, California, will be updated with the Bluetooth 4.0 technology during the spring 2014. Starwood has plans to roll out the system at all of its locations by the end of 2015 should the pilot program be successful.
Bluetooth 4.0 is also the driving technology behind Apple’s iBeacons, which are rapidly being implemented in retail storesand other locations across the world to deliver location-based notifications. Bluetooth 4.0 is being utilized in a number of innovative ways. In addition to being installed in multiple different home locking products, it has also been used to replace traditional password logins on Macs through the Knock app and to deliver car diagnostics in the Automatic connected car device.