There are certain amenities all guests expect in their hotel rooms. The first is a bed, followed by a bathroom and interior lighting. What transforms a place to sleep and wash into a hotel room, however, is the addition of a television. This basic technological amenity allows guests to destress and helps hoteliers offer not just a room, but a home away from home.
It's not enough to simply offer a television, however. The units also have to be easy for guests to use. This hasn't always proved to be the case. Increasingly, guests must go through incomprehensible interfaces to reach entertainment options that prove to be limited at best. Few things dent a guest's impression of a seamless stay more than being forced to call reception just to find out how to change the channel.
LG developed its new Pro:Centric hospitality content management suite with these problems in mind. The system acts as a kind of digital concierge for guests. They are greeted upon entry by a custom-branded interface and interactive electronic programme guide. They can use it to access anything from local news and weather information to premium film channels, or simply search for on-site amenities. In-house IT technicians may well breathe a sigh of relief upon learning that a Pro:Centric television has been installed in every room. Its plethora of available content and practical interface eliminates the possibility of being called to instruct guests on how to use their television.
Founded in 1958, LG Electronics originally made its name supplying consumer electronics to post-war households in Korea. Since then, it has developed a formidable portfolio of cutting-edge televisions for a range of markets, including the hospitality sector. LG's commitment to research and development in this space led to a variety of solutions tailored to the hospitality industry. The range of products includes OLED hotel televisions for luxury suites, desktop IPS monitors for front desks and back offices, professional displays such as video walls for common areas, and software platforms designed to meet hospitality needs.
Pro:Centric is the latest manifestation of this drive to perfect hotels' entertainment offerings according to the evolving needs of guests and operators. It is with the latter in mind that LG included its Remote Management System in each Pro:Centric TV. By connecting the individual unit to a local network, hoteliers are now able to run diagnostics of malfunctioning televisions from their offices. Problems arising from malfunctioning software can be monitored, identified and solved with a few clicks of a mouse several floors away. The individual guest may never even know there was a problem.
Remote Management System also permits hoteliers to configure room channels according to the purpose of the guest's visit. A businessperson staying at the property for a single night could be furnished with information on local restaurants and bars. A family with small children in tow might find the latest children's films or childcare arrangements placed front and centre on the television's home screen. Guests are also able to stream wireless content from each unit thanks to built-in Miracast and WiDi services.
Pro:Centric is also, at its core, a malleable system. Its software is friendly to developers who wish to tailor the content of anything from an individual LG television to an entire roster of them. Either IP or Coax-based integration allows for the provision of customised services and eliminates the need for the hardware pairing of a settop box, resulting in significant cost savings. Pro:Centric also supports the installation of Java, Flash and HTML 5-based applications. Developers are also now able to include site-relevant apps in each unit, making it unique in the hotel television marketplace.
Indeed, the potential of the suite is not limited to hotel televisions alone. Equipped to service a wide variety of display screen options, Pro:Centric-enabled TVs are easy to install in electronic billboards that can further promote local amenities and on-site services. Controlled from a single, compact server within the hotel, this allows further savings to be made in printing and other associated advertising costs.
Pro:Centric comes in three versions, each catering to different emphases in hotelier's needs: Pro:Centric Smart, Pro:Centric Value and Pro:Centric Direct. The latter focuses on making it even easier for operators to design a unique hotel television user interface (UI). It also provides services such as network-based remote management. Pro:Centric Direct comes with intuitive, stylish templates and offers simple tools so hotels can create their own. This way, operators can fully customise and tailor their content to suit the needs of their guests.
The Pro:Centric Direct suite builds on previous iterations by featuring an all-new authoring tool. Programmers can drag and drop widgets onto the unit's home screen, as well as integrating new 'over-the-top', or OTT, streaming of internet content from sites like YouTube and BBC iPlayer. Systems integrators are also permitted virtually unlimited design options when it comes to user interfaces and welcome screens. They can also interface with their own network services so that guests can stream and pair content from iOS and Chromecast-compatible devices.
This has recently been made even easier with the introduction of the PCS400R server, which allows hoteliers to implement Pro:Centric Direct regardless of whether they are using an IP or radio frequency (coaxial) infrastructure. The combination of the Pro:Centric Direct and the PCS400R allows hoteliers to communicate directly with their guests and lets guests contact hotel staff. Through this interactive solution, guests can order room service, check out, or even ask for more towels via the hotel television. Hoteliers can also send messages to guests via the server. Messages can be personalised to include the guest's name, share the latest promotions, or communicate breakfast options.
The release of the PCS400R server and the Pro:Centric Direct system is a testament to LG's deep commitment to research and development in the hospitality content provision space. Needless to say, the company has and will continue to strive to offer operators and guests an accommodating, friendly and - above all - stress-free experience through cutting-edge televisions and their supporting software.