Just think of it, no more hanging around your hotel's front desk like some unrefined homo erectus. The Clarion Hotel in Stockholm is starting up a new pilot program to allow visitors to check in and collect their room key without the repugnant need for speaking to an actual human being -- it can all be done with an NFC-equipped mobile phone. Provided your smartphone can do the near-field communications dance, all your information can be remotely downloaded, stored, and wiped (if need be), and you can even check out from a room using the accompanying application. Samsung handsets are being provided to selected customers during the period of this trial, though once its four-month incubation period is over, you'll have to bring your own bit of advanced telephony to avoid the queues. We're sure you'll think of something. Video and full press release after the break.



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NFC mobile phones replace hotel room keys in Sweden

A world's first pilot is starting at the Clarion Hotel Stockholm in Sweden. ASSA ABLOY, Choice Hotels Scandinavia, TeliaSonera, VingCard Elsafe and Venyon, a fully owned subsidiary of Giesecke & Devrient, have joined forces to replace hotel room keys with NFC-enabled mobile phones. The technology makes it possible for hotel guests to check-in and out using their mobile phones.

The goal of the pilot is to get feedback from guests and employees using the NFC phones for a variety of services. Guests will be able to check in to the hotel and receive the hotel room key directly onto their mobile phones before arriving at the hotel. Guests can also access other services via their mobile, and on departure, the check-out process using the phone promises to be easy and stress-free.

The technology also increases security. If a mobile phone is lost, the access credentials can be revoked remotely and then reissued. This makes it impossible for unauthorized people to use a lost or stolen NFC mobile phone.

The pilot starts this week and will last for four months. The experience gained from the Clarion Hotel Stockholm pilot is planned to be enhanced and expanded over time to other hotels as well as to commercial and residential buildings.

Mobile-contactless services such as payment, ticketing and loyalty have enjoyed successful pilots and are now being made available to the commercial market. Following the success of those pilots there is now a new category of services - mobile keys that can be added to the mobile-contactless industry.

The five companies providing this service each brings its specific expertise to deliver a scalable and secure end-to-end solution created to improve the guest experience.

About NFC
NFC, Near Field Communication, is a short-range wireless communication technology standard that enables the exchange of data between devices over up to a 10 cm distance. Applications include contactless transactions such as payment and transit ticketing, keys, data transfers including electronic business cards, and access to online digital content.

About the trial at Clarion Stockholm
The selected hotel guests receive a Samsung mobile phone with NFC and relevant software. They book hotel rooms the usual way and receive booking confirmation on the mobile phone. The guests can check in on the mobile phone already before arrival at the hotel. When check-in is complete, a digital hotel room key is delivered to the mobile phone. On arrival at the hotel the guests skip the check-in line, go directly to their room and open the door by holding the mobile phone close to the door lock. When leaving the room, the doors lock automatically, the guests checkout from their mobile phones and the digital hotel room keys are deactivated.

Pilot Partners

ASSA ABLOY is the global leader in door-opening solutions dedicated to satisfying end-user needs for security, safety and convenience. ASSA ABLOY has developed a scalable secure delivery infrastructure for mobile keys. This solution ensures end-to-end security and is applicable for residential, commercial and hotel applications.

"Keys are going mobile. At ASSA ABLOY we totally support this convergence and are proud to provide the world's first complete mobile key service utilizing NFC technology. Thanks to our secure delivery infrastructure and mobile applications it will be possible to securely open digital door locks using your mobile phone in hotels and commercial buildings as well as in your home," said Daniel Berg, Vice President and General Manager ASSA ABLOY Mobile Keys.

Choice Hotels Scandinavia is the Nordic countries' largest hotel chain, with more than NOK6.2 billion in annual turnover and almost 9 200 employees. Choice Hotels Scandinavia markets 170 hotels in the Nordic market under the brands Comfort Hotels, Quality Hotels, Quality Resort Hotels, Clarion Hotels and Clarion Collection Hotels in addition to profiled stand-alone hotels. "NFC technology allows us to offer our customers a new better and more comfortable hotel experience as they can use their mobile phone as a room key. This is the beginning of a number of areas where we will be able to offer new added value to our customers, "said Svein Krakk, CIO of Choice Hotels Scandinavia.

TeliaSonera provides network access and telecommunication services in the Nordic and Baltic countries, the emerging markets of Eurasia, including Russia and Turkey, and in Spain and at the end of December 2009 the total number of subscriptions was 148 million in 20 countries. TeliaSonera's services help people and companies communicate in an easy, efficient and environmentally friendly way. TeliaSonera creates value by focusing on providing world-class customer experience, securing quality in networks and achieving a best-in-class cost structure. "At TeliaSonera, we are looking at many ways of using the mobile phone to make our customers' lives easier. The NFC technology, along with other inbuilt technologies, brings a new dimension to the mobile device which opens new growth opportunities", says Johan Wickman, Head of Research and Innovation at TeliaSonera Mobility Services.

Venyon, a fully owned subsidiary of Giesecke & Devrient, offers Trusted Service Manager (TSM) services in NFC ecosystem by developing and operating a secure and versatile service platform. Venyon TSM services are used for the Over-the-Air (OTA) provisioning of the consumer applications, such as credit cards or hotel key applications as done in this pilot, to consumers' NFC enabled mobile devices. NFC enables mobile phones to host a wide range of applications including physical access control such as hotel or residential locking applications. These new types of contactless mobile applications will play a central role in consumers' everyday life and TSM services are needed to securely perform the application life-cycle management.

VingCard Elsafe is the worldwide leader in guestroom security for hotel door locks and in-room safes in the hospitality industry. VingCard Elsafe has products installed in more than 39,000 properties worldwide, securing in-excess of 6.5 million hotel rooms. VingCard Elsafe is part of the ASSA ABLOY Group.

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ASSA ABLOY trials remote hotel check-ins, unlocking your room with NFC cellphones (video)