Thursday, August 31, 2006

Hospitality Industry Token Mapping

Just returned from a trip down to Washington for a Liberty TEG meeting.

Leaving the hotel, my NTT colleague Hiroyoshi Takiguchi and I noticed what appeared to be a number of wall safes just outside the front door.

The safes are there for guests who arrive for check-in after the front desk closes at 11 pm. The mechanisms works as follows

1) Before leaving for the night, staff enters the first name of each expected guest into one of the displays
2) Guest, on arriving, enters their last name using the keypad of the appropriate (matching their first name) safe.
3) Safe lock opens, guest retrieves their room swipe key.
4) Guest uses key to enter building and then their room.
5) Hotel staff sleep throughout.

So what if two guests have the same first name ....?

Or if a guest has an easily guessed last name ..?

Or hotel staff mistypes the guest's last name ..? (comparable to somebody, in a fit of pique arrising from poor blog readership, spelling 'Madsooon')

Speaking of pique, Conor suggested that a better model would be for the guest to simply swipe the credit card used to make the booking - that would imply connectivity beyond the safe unit itself.

Nice example of token mapping. The guest exchanges one token (their last name) for another that can be used to access local resources (ie. enter the hotel and room).

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