Ed Higgins, vice president of Thousand Islands Insurance Agency in Clayton, N.Y., and vice chair at the Applied Client Network, says he believes that independent agents are missing out on the opportunity that mobile apps provide…Thousand Islands Agency was an early adopter of the MobileProducer, the mobile-app version of Applied Systemâ€™s agency management platform. For Higgins, the key benefit of the app is the ability to deliver what he calls the â€œStarbucks experienceâ€ for customers.
Four years ago, Apple trademarked the phrase, â€œThereâ€™s an app for that.â€ With more than 1.2 million offerings in the iTunes App Storeâ€”and about 1.4 million in Google Playâ€”it would seem that the phrase is more true than not. However, only a few general-market agent productivity apps exist, and none have more than a few reviews from users.
â€œItâ€™s a relatively small number of agents who are using insurance-specific apps today,â€ says Chad Hersh, senior vice president at The Nolan Co., an insurance management consulting firm. â€œGranted, a lot of agents use general apps on their mobile devices to the extent that many people do in their daily lives and jobs, but the penetration just isnâ€™t there for insurance apps for agents.â€
For more:Â http://bit.ly/14oxiiB
“But moving systems to a smartphone or other mobile device thatÂ has built-in computing power that could be used to run algorithms to break that security could ‘open up a big can of worms,’ he said. Although he assumes Hilton and other companies considering this move have taken ‘great care’ to reduce risk, he still worries that the additional attack surface and communication abilities of mobile devices might make them more difficult to secure.”
At least one app for the Apple Watch will allow the wearer to unlock a hotel room with the wave of a wrist. But using mobile devices to provide keyless entry to hotel rooms isn’t a novel concept — and could come with added security risks.
Hotels have been experimenting with mobile apps to unlock hotel rooms for some time. The Starwood Hotel group, which is reportedly working on an Apple Watch app, had been testing a similar feature for smartphone users at least since earlier this year. And in July, Hilton Hotels announced guests would be able to use digital check-in and room selection at more than 4,000 properties around the world by the end of this year.
For more: http://wapo.st/1lYgLda
â€œWe think this is such a huge opportunity to deliver better service to our customer. Â The mundane task of running a razor behind the scenes goes away, youâ€™ll see our associates more because theyâ€™ll be more front and center than theyâ€™ve ever been,â€ McGuinness said. â€œThis is by no means replacing the human element of hospitality.â€
The situation usually plays out like this. Youâ€™re unpacking in a hotel room and realize you forgot something. Rather than trek to whatever store might be near, you call the front desk and ask for a razor, toothpaste or whatever you need. The hotel then sends someone up with the delivery.
Except for the Aloft Hotel in Cupertino, Calif, which will begin using an R2D2-esque robot for such trips. Fittingly, Aloftâ€™s parent company, Starwood Hotels, tests the latest technology at the Silicon Valley hotel. Guests can enter their rooms with a smartphone app and bypass the traditional check-in process at the front desk.
For more: http://wapo.st/1o63HNa
“…I also found â€œjokeâ€ apps pretending to be bed bug detectors for the purposes of freaking your friends out, and some highly bogus â€œultrasonic repellingâ€ apps that suggest they turn your phone into a sonic threat to bugs of all kinds. There is no evidence that bed bugs or mosquitoes are repelled by ultrasound. Donâ€™t waste your money…”
Youâ€™re packed for your trip, your boarding passes are downloadedâ€¦ and then that little moment of terror hits. What if the hotel youâ€™re going to stay in has bed bugs? Itâ€™s a real concern, but by being vigilant, you can reduce your chances of bringing home some unexpected souvenirs.
I donâ€™t put a lot of trust inÂ online hotel bed bug ratings or reports; infestation status can change from day to day, and there is no reliable way to verify that reviews are not fake.
Hereâ€™s how I search for bed bugs when I arrive at a new hotel. I canâ€™t promise this is foolproof, but knowing how one slightly-paranoid entomologist deals with the threat of bed bugs might be useful to some readers.
For more:Â http://wrd.cm/1odGOha
“…Telegraphe Cafe in New York will start testing Beacon soon. Anne Abikhzir, one of the owners of the coffee shop, expects the new gadget will increase check-ins and make the experience of buying coffee and pastries more personal for her customers…shoppers (can) complete their purchases using their phones and that data is collected and analyzed by retailers..”
EBay has spent many hours and lots of money pinpointing the locations of thousands of retail stores so the e-commerce company can capture sales from smartphone wielding shoppers. Now the company’s PayPal division is using a new technology know as Bluetooth Low Energy to get even more accurate location information inside stores through a gadget calledÂ Beacon.
The first PayPal employee tests of Beacon are happening at Spice Hut, a restaurant and food truck business in Silicon Valley, Telegraphe Cafe in New York and Get York Coffee in Sydney, Australia. Accurate location information is becoming more important as the rise of smartphonesÂ boosts mobile commerceÂ brings the benefits of online shopping to physical stores.
That’s the retail holy grail that eBay and other technology and retail companies are fighting for. Apple released iBeacon location-based technology earlier this year, start-up Shopkick has installed location-based systems in major stores already and a group of the largest retailers, led by Wal-Mart, launched a mobile payments group last year called MCX.
For more: http://www.wltx.com/news/tech/article/257658/378/EBay-PayPal-Pinpoint-Stores-for-Mobile-Shopping
“…to encourage kitchen efficiency, managers can also use the order system to set a performance benchmark…at Jasonâ€™s Deli, Michael Johnson (a regional manager) said the management has set acceptable order preparation that spans from six to eight minutes for each order. When the order has been in the pipeline for six minutes, information turns yellow on the counter/expo station display, which lets preparers know that customers have been waiting for quite a while and they have less than two minutes to finish preparing it…programming apps for tablets (also)produce analytic reports through orders, which can be sent to the management team at corporate headquarters for review. Technology use can also strengthen communication between franchisors, franchisees, and workers…”
The benefits of using tablets and technology extend beyond just table coverage for companies like Brinker International Inc. and DineEquity Inc., and possibly for Cheesecake Factory Inc. and Buffalo Wild Wings Inc. in the future. Combined with location pinpoint technology like RFIDs (radio-frequency identification), tablets can help servers quickly identify which table orders are coming from.
This will allow servers to spend less time wondering about the location they have to bring dishes to and more time on the actual delivery, giving customers an impression of operational efficiency, reducing cost for restaurant operations, and driving earnings higher. This is even more important when employment level in the United States is weak and people are still trading down to lower cost food.Â As Dave Praws, executive chef for Blue Lemon LLC says, â€œWeâ€™re able to deliver food quickly and efficiently and, in fast-casual, thatâ€™s what we are about. Without that ability, weâ€™d be â€˜slow-casual.â€™â€
For more:Â http://marketrealist.com/2013/10/restaurants-improve-efficiency-tablets-technology/