Smartphones have been killing off fogey tech since the first iPhone. Goodbye MP3 player. So long stopwatch. Good riddance physical maps. Now, with some help from Hilton hotels, room keys are next to face extinction.
The worldwide mega hotel chain spilled some of the details of its $US550 million plan to The Wall Street Journal to outfit its rooms with smartphone-enabled locks, letting would-be residents forgo a front desk check-in entirely. What happens is Hilton will send your smartphone a key code, which will then unlock the door, according to 9to5 Google.
The concept behind the convenience isn't a new one. Marriott has been toying with the idea since 2006, and earlier this year, Starwood Hotels and Resorts announced similar technology would be introduced in select locations. Even though Hilton's check-in solution isn't entirely novel, its ambitions certainly are. By having most of its 4200 properties smartphone-ready by 2016, it will be at the vanguard of bringing smartphone locks to the masses.
The perks go both ways. Hilton and other hotels providing similar services pretty much automate the check-in process while also appealing to a growing smartphone-savvy culture. As for us, we get to check in, unlock our doors and check out without ever having to talk to anyone. That's a future I can get behind. [The Wall Street Journal]