Cisco Meraki sees the hotel of the future in its new Wi-Fi gear

The new access points can work with Bluetooth beacons to track guests' locations, for personalized service

The days when hotel Wi-Fi just connected travelers to the Internet are going away. Now it can be part of a system that helps give guests more personalized service – if they don’t mind the hotel tracking their location on the property.

The new MR30H access point from Cisco’s Meraki division will work with Bluetooth beacons - small wireless location devices that stores and other businesses are starting to use so they can tell where people are.

The benefits, as long as guests are willing to opt in, could include things like having an attendant walk up and offer a drink or a towel as you go out to the pool, thanks to your frequent-guest status, said Pablo Estrada, Meraki’s director of marketing.

The new APs won’t do that tracking directly, but they’re designed to be part of a broader wireless system that incorporates the beacons and smartphone apps that loyal customers can use so staff members always know when they’re arriving somewhere. It’s all part of helping hotels compete with each other and with new travel options like Airbnb, Estrada said.

Meraki’s also upping its game on performance with the new devices, its first APs for the hospitality industry that use IEEE 802.11ac Wave 2. And there’s a built-in four-port Ethernet switch where the hotel can plug in things like smart TVs and VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol) phones. The MR30H has a list price of US$599.

The APs themselves can do some location tasks, too, like telling the housekeeping department whether the room is occupied (is there a phone connecting to the AP?) so they know whether they can clean up or provide turn-down service. Bluetooth beacons make that more accurate, though.

Because some travelers might be uncomfortable giving a hotel all this information, Meraki says it gives its customers guidelines for making sure guests know what’s involved and can opt out.

Not all these features are new to the industry, but where Meraki sets itself apart is in its cloud-based management platform, which is designed to help companies get by with a smaller IT staff and eliminate things like Wi-Fi controller boxes. That mission extends to wired LANs, too.

Also on Tuesday, the company’s replacing its MR32 AP with the MR33, which is thinner and $150 cheaper at $649. And it’s phasing out the MR18, its last AP that didn’t have 802.11ac Wave 2.

Meraki is also upgrading its Layer 2 switches for branch and campus networks. The new MS225 and MS250 gain 10-Gigabit Ethernet uplinks and ports that allow customers to physically stack switches together as their networks grow.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Stephen Lawson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?