4am room service? Call the Virtual Concierge


BRITISH company Roomwithnet was in Dubai recently to market Virtual Concierge, a new, fully digital in-room system designed to transform visitors’ time spent in hotel rooms, apartments, cruise liners and hospitals. 

“The system really came about because we looked into the future and realised that all over the world, companies are switching from analogue to digital, in parts because of government requirements,” says the company’s Andrew Price. The system was developed at a cost of about 3.5 million pounds ($6.8 million).
Roomwithnet Systems operates from a category 5 (Cat5e) cable, or over wireless, allowing clients to install a single structured cable through which voice, data and video traffic can travel to a standard in-room RJ45 connection. The company is one of only a few companies offering 100 per cent digital in-room entertainment systems that are able to deliver all services over a single Cat5e cable, including VoIP, and to both a TV set and a computer monitor.
Guests can use all services simultaneously, including VoIP, with no loss of speed or quality. Each system is tailor-made for the client, with a variety of options available, such as video-conferencing units and printers.
Says Price, “What is unique about Virtual Concierge is that it is a purely digital solution, and it is designed particularly for five-star luxury hotels, with a customisable first screen.” And because it allows hotels to create their own in-house channel, it can generate valuable additional revenue from advertising.
“It is very user-friendly and interactive, and guests can see the range of a hotel’s services, book excursions, spa treatments, and 24-hour room service, as well as view details of property developments worldwide – all from the comfort of their hotel room,” he says.
The response in Dubai has been ‘fantastic’, says Price, who expects to sign a few deals soon. Among those properties that have already signed is the Diamond hotel and apartment project in Dubai Sports City – of which Michael Owen is the ambassador for developers First Homes Worldwide – are expected to enjoy rooms equipped with the television/PC system. This offers 24-hour room service and high-speed Internet access, along with digital interactive games, movies on demand, in-room shopping, and many other features.
An announcement about a local distributor for the system is expected soon, adds Price.

by Keith J Fernandez