News Feature | June 19, 2014

Hospitality Transitions To The 3rd Platform

By Trisha Leon, contributing writer

Hospitality IT Transition

The International Data Corporation (IDC)’s predictions for 2014 were heavily influenced by the 3rd Platform, the industry's emerging platform for growth and innovation built on the technology pillars of mobile computing, cloud services, Big Data and analytics, and social networking.

“The 3rd Platform's impact was felt throughout the ICT (information and communications technology) industry in 2013 as a high-profile CEO lost his job, a major IT player went private, numerous vendors endured cash cow stagnation, and billion-dollar bets were placed on 3rd Platform technologies,” said Frank Gens, senior vice president and chief analyst at IDC. “In 2014, we'll see every major player make big investments to scale up cloud, mobile, and Big Data capabilities, and fiercely battle for the hearts and minds of the developers who will create the solutions driving the next two decades of IT spending. Outside the IT industry, 3rd Platform technologies will play a leading role in the disruption (or “Amazoning”) of almost every other industry on the planet.”

Adnon Dow, vice president, Global Mobility Solutions, SYNNEX Corporation, comments on how this will impact the hospitality market: “Effects on the hospitality industry have the potential to be transformative, with more mobile use, services, and content being moved to the cloud and social media driving the customer experience. Guests are looking for a complete user experience, not just a room.”

But are business owners ready to buy? When asked to describe the health of the hospitality market from a potential IT spend perspective, Terry Cruikshank, senior marketing manager, industry marketing, OKI Data Americas, replies, “As the economy begins to regain its strength, more consumers will indulge by dining out or vacationing regularly. To meet demand, restaurants are opening new locations. This offers a unique selling opportunity for technology vendors.”

Andre Nataf, senior business development manager, Digital Dining, adds, “The average annual IT budget for restaurants based on a recent survey was $26,000 per store. In that same survey it stated that 57 percent of the restaurants polled were going to spend money on capital items. If you couple that with the 3.5 percent increase in hiring according to the National Restaurant Association, it pretty much looks good for POS companies in 2014 because those are signs that confidence is going up. When confidence is up, spending and reinvestment goes up with it. This is a different climate than we have had for the last 5 years.”

Joan Morales, director of channel marketing, Axcient, agrees: “It seems spend is on the rise as the economy continues to improve and companies in the hospitality industry start to tackle more strategic IT challenges.”

The IDC predicts increased sales this year for tablets (18 percent), smartphones (12 percent), cloud services and technology (25 percent — growing to more than $100 billion), and Big Data technologies and services (30 percent — growing to more than $14 billion).