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Starwood Hotels and Resorts introduces SPG Keyless

Congrats to our partners at Starwood Hotels and Resorts on this week’s launch of SPG Keyless for iOS and Android.  The Keyless functionality is the first of its kind to market. This will give SPG members the ability to open their hotel room doors using their mobile devices.  Talk about serving the user…. this is the ultimate personalized travel companion.  We are incredibly proud of this work and look forward to a continued partnership with the Starwood Hotels and Resorts. 

Official Press Release:

It’s a mobile office. It’s a virtual wallet. It’s a lifeline. And now, it’s a hotel room key. This fall, the smartphone will get a whole lot smarter – especially while on the road. Starwood Preferred Guest® (SPG®), the award-winning loyalty program from Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT), introduces SPG Keyless, the hospitality industry’s first truly mobile and keyless entry system that allows guests to use their smartphone as a key. Starting today, the innovative technology will begin to roll out at Aloft, Element and W Hotels around the world.

“We are excited to be the first in our industry to debut this new technology allowing us to further deliver on the wants and needs of our early adopter, hyper-mobile guests who use their smartphones for just about every aspect of their lives.”

SPG Keyless represents a groundbreaking turning point in the traditional hotel experience by fundamentally redefining the way guests arrive and check in to their rooms. SPG Keyless – powered by the SPG app – enables guests to bypass the front desk, avoid waiting in line and ultimately unlock their stay with a simple tap of their smartphone. This innovation frees up hotel associates time, allowing them to engage with guests and transform the first interaction from transactional to personal. It’s high-tech supporting high-touch unlike ever before. 

“Innovation and personalization are at the forefront of everything we do at Starwood and SPG Keyless represents the perfect intersection of these two pillars,” said Frits van Paasschen, Chief Executive Officer of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. “We are excited to be the first in our industry to debut this new technology allowing us to further deliver on the wants and needs of our early adopter, hyper-mobile guests who use their smartphones for just about every aspect of their lives.”

SPG Keyless will officially go live, November 5, 2014, at three Starwood brands: Aloft, Element and W, which were a natural fit to pilot and begin rollout because of their commitment to tech-forward, design-savvy, and eco-friendly initiatives. Aloft Harlem, Aloft Cupertino, Aloft Beijing, Aloft Cancun, W New York – Downtown, W Hollywood, W Singapore, W Hong Kong, W Doha and Element Times Square will be the first ten hotels to implement the technology. Starwood will rapidly expand rollout in the first half of 2015 and, by the end of next year SPG Keyless will be in 30,000 doors in 150 hotels across the globe. SPG Keyless will be available to Starwood Preferred Guest members who book a hotel room through one of Starwood’s channels (hotel websites, SPG.com, the SPG app or call centers).

HOW IT WORKS 

1. After booking a reservation at a keyless hotel, SPG members are invited to opt-in to SPG Keyless and register their phone through the SPG App.

2. Approximately 24 hours before arrival, the guest receives his/her room number and Bluetooth key via the app.

3. Upon arrival at the hotel, the guest can completely bypass the front desk (where available) and go directly to his/her room.

4. Then, after ensuring his/her Bluetooth is enabled, the guest simply opens the SPG App, taps the smartphone on the door lock, waits for the green light and enters the room. 

SPG Keyless is an evolution of Starwood’s Smart Check-In, another industry-first that debuted at Aloft hotels in 2011, allowing guests to bypass traditional check-in and access their rooms with a RFID-equipped key card. Building upon those early learnings to develop SPG Keyless, Starwood tapped the world’s largest lock manufacturer, Assa Abloy, to create an all-new, Bluetooth-enabled lock as well as keyless software, which are designed to securely recognize and connect with a guest’s mobile device.

In addition to the aggressive keyless rollout schedule, Starwood is simultaneously piloting innovations for the next wave of upgrades to the SPG App, which will support and enhance SPG Keyless. These upgrades aim to not only empower guests to control aspects of their stay through their mobile devices, but equip associates with the tools they need to continue Starwood’s legacy of personalization and provide meaningful, custom services away from the front desk.

Join the conversation at @SPG or @StarwoodBuzz #SPGKeyless

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Contact us today to learn how we can help elevate your brand on mobile. 

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Addison named by Google as the 2014 eCity for the State of Texas

Congratulations to the city of Addison for being named by Google as the 2014 eCity for the State of Texas — an award that last year went to Austin. The eCity Awards go to one city each year to each of the 50 states that have the strongest online business communities. Strong online business communities refer to businesses that are using the web to expand their consumer base and connect with current clients, thereby fueling local economies.

 

We love being able to serve our clients from the center of tech in Texas.  We are proud to call Addison home.  Read more

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It was another epic Halloween at Bottle Rocket

In keeping with a Rocketeer tradition, we are proud to share photos from our epic Halloween Party.  Rocketeers once again demonstrated that we are not only creative in the apps we make – but also in our costume creation abilities!

We hope that you all have a safe and fun Halloween – Keep dreaming, designing and creating! 

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What is new in the Android Ecosystem?

At Bottle Rocket, we love developing for the latest technology.  There were a lot of announcements this week regarding the entire Android ecosystem, so we thought we would provide a summary of the highlights.  We have grouped them by category with a short overview of each. 

Hardware

The Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 were announced, providing a new baseline for phones and tablets. Along with this, a new Android TV device dubbed the Nexus Player debuted, and was shown launching with Watch Food Network, Travel Channel, and HGTV, all developed by Bottle Rocket.  We’ve been working on this for the past few weeks and we look forward to it’s official launch on November 3rd. 

The Nexus 6 comes with a 5.96” display, and the Nexus 9 is a 64-bit device that’s in a 4:3 aspect ratio, which is new for Google’s Nexus tablets. The resolution is the same as the current Retina iPads, but it’s hard to know if that means other tablets will follow suit. The Nexus Player utilizes the new lean back experience that Google showed at I/O, but also includes Google Cast support (the same technology in the Chromecast).

Here are the links if you want to read more: Nexus 6Nexus 9 Nexus Player

Software

Up until now, we’ve only known it as Android L, but from now on it will be known as Android 5.0, Lollipop! It brings a huge number of changes, the largest being to notifications and the new Material Design standard, but there have also been lots of efficiencies and lower level changes added. Ask your neighborhood Android developer for more details, and how we might use any of the new technology in our apps.

For more details on all the changes (and there are a lot) in Android 5.0, see here.

Visuals

The Material Design guidelines have been further extended and formalized, with a lot of demos of how it will work in Android 5.0. Make sure to take a look at http://www.google.com/design/.

If you want to read the official announcement, it is here.

So, what should our clients be thinking about?

Google will be looking for apps that showcase Material Design, and that use the newest APIs. Integrating with wearables will become more important as more wearable devices are launched, and TV apps are now a first-class component of the Android ecosystem.  Apps will need to consider their behavior on all devices, and will need to make significant adjustments for wearables and TV. Deployment for these extra platforms is simplified since they are all combined into a single app.  The unified standard of Material Design has been designed to work on all the platforms, so there should be consistency in an app, regardless of how and when it is used.

All of this leads to a consistent, beautiful and engaging experience for users.

Contact us today to learn how we can help elevate your brand on mobile. 

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Food Network, Travel Channel and HGTV featured the Nexus Player debut

This week, Google announced the new Android TV device dubbed the Nexus Player, and was shown launching with Watch Food Network, Travel Channel, and HGTV, all developed by Bottle Rocket.  We’ve been working on this for the past few weeks and we look forward to it’s official launch on November 3rd. 

We all know that content is king and getting best in class content to users in beautifully crafted experiences is our passion.  This was an amazing opportunity to do it again on this new platform.  We were thrilled to be able to partner with brands as powerful as Food Network, Travel Channel and HGTV.

 

At Bottle Rocket, we love developing for the latest technology.  Contact us to see how we can launch your brand on the latest and greatest! 

 

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One of Bottle Rocket Apps' latest applications has given a fast-food bird some new wings.

Chick-fil-A's latest version of its mobile app, released last week for iOS, allows customers to order and pay via their smartphone. The app allows customers to use the new features at more than 130 locations, with more expected to roll out in 2015.

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