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Cellphones Security Technology

Hotel Chain Plans Phone-Based Check-in and Room Access 120

Posted by Soulskill
from the but-i-love-digging-those-keycards-out-of-my-wallet dept.
GTRacer writes: Forbes reports that Hilton Worldwide, international hotel operator, is rolling out smartphone-based guest tools allowing self-service check-in, access to a virtual floorplan to select a room, and (in 2015) actual door access once checked in. The author states the drive for this technology is the growing influence of the swelling ranks of Millennials, who "[...] have a very strong inclination toward automated and self-service customer service." The security risks seem obvious, though.
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Hotel Chain Plans Phone-Based Check-in and Room Access

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  • Risky (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 01, 2014 @02:07PM (#47583293)

    "Ah crap, my phone just died... I'll charge it when I get back to the hotel roo-- shit."

    • by adamstew (909658)

      I think you would just go to the front desk and have them issue you a traditional key in this scenario.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm so sick of things being "automated" at the expense of the customer. Fucking Self-Checkouts everywhere - companies get to lay off a few dozen workers per location, replace with buggy scanning hardware & software. Sure it takes the customer a longer time, but that's just more time for them to look at impulse buy and sell their children more candy at the checkout. It's not making it any more convenient, or quick, for me or anyone else in line - it's making it so the anti-social behind the monitor ty

    • by CRCulver (715279)

      Sure it takes the customer a longer time, but that's just more time for them to look at impulse buy and sell their children more candy at the checkout.

      Are self-service checkouts surrounded by impulse-buying items in the US? I am very familiar with self-service checkouts in both Finland (S-Market) and Poland (Tesco), and there are no products next to the machines. There is a row of candy items that one might pass on the way to the self-service checkout, but the queue never gets long enough that one would b

      • by penix1 (722987)

        Are self-service checkouts surrounded by impulse-buying items in the US?

        Yes... At least at the Kroger in my neck of the woods...

        And if it takes you a noticeably longer time to go through the self-service checkout than the human cashier, you might just be clueless at technology, which isn't something I'd expect on Slashdot.

        It isn't the /. user holding things up it is the granny before him and the twelve other grannies before her. Add to that the one human checkout lane that is backed up around the block beca

      • Dude, this is the US (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Any "convenience" on our part is charged a fee even though it saves the business money in not having to hire someone to deal with it.

        An exxample:

        The Atlanta Symphony.

        I could walk over and catch the person they hired to sell tickets during their limited hours - which isn't during my lunchtime - or I could buy on-line there by cutting out the overhead of a person and yet get charged for a "convenience" fee because I was forced to buy when there wasn't a clerk.

        See?

        Web shit saves money but yet I am charged for

        • by CRCulver (715279)
          Considering that an orchestra is going to have a human cashier working at least some hours anyway, it only makes sense that people paying through other payment methods get charged enough to help pay the salary of said cashier.
      • Sure it takes the customer a longer time, but that's just more time for them to look at impulse buy and sell their children more candy at the checkout.

        Are self-service checkouts surrounded by impulse-buying items in the US?

        Dude, pretty much every checkout has a crapload of impulse-buy crap in the US, self-service or otherwise.

        For me, there isn't really such a thing as a self-checkout, since my trips to the store are either A) major grocery runs, where I have way too much crap to even go to the self-serve machine, or B) buying booze and/or tobacco, which means I've got to talk to the attendant and show my ID anyway.

        But I do like not having to worry about some teenaged idiot putting my bread, eggs, and cleaning chemicals in the

      • in Canada, self-service checkouts have the impulse items surrounding the lineup area to get to the kiosks, similar to how they're positioned for the lineups to get to actual cashiers.

        I'm no millennial, but I almost always use a self-service checkout at stores who have functioning* kiosks. I've spent my time as a kid doing those sorts of jobs, and tend to be better/faster at using the scanners than a checkout clerk -- so why spend 5 minutes waiting in line and an interminable time waiting for the clerk to p

      • by Geeky (90998)

        It's slower because it has to register each item on the scale before you can scan the next one (at least, that's how they're set up here). That means I can't use both hands - scan, bag while the other hand is scanning the next item. The cashiers can do it faster because the system lets them do it faster.

    • by NotDrWho (3543773) on Friday August 01, 2014 @02:40PM (#47583597)

      Yeah, but for only $50 I can use the "Hilton Special Room Service" app to request Paris Hilton to meet me in my room and give me herpes in person.

      • Why pay $50 while a similarl looking girl with similar intelligence can be obtained with some digging in any graveyard?

    • by jklovanc (1603149) on Friday August 01, 2014 @02:49PM (#47583673)

      I am definitely not a Millennial and I would love this service. If I could get off the shuttle and go directly to my room I would be in heaven.

      anti-social behind the monitor type Millennials don't have to talk to actual people.

      Have you really ever been "social" with a desk clerk? When I am checking in I am usually tired and want to lie down. Being "social" is the last thing on my mind.

      she can't even make a fucking phone call if there's a chance company X has a "WebChat!"

      I love web chat. Here are a list of things I like about web chat
      - I can do several things while I web chat. I am not stuck waiting listening to hold music.
      - I can re-read what was said in case I missed something.
      - I can edit my message for clarity.
      - I can usually get a transcript for later reference.
      To me, text chat is just as social as voice.

      • by dave562 (969951) on Friday August 01, 2014 @02:59PM (#47583769) Journal

        I am always social with the desk clerk. Being friendly with the clerk is the number one way to get a complimentary upgrade.

        • by jklovanc (1603149)

          To me "social" is talking about personal, meaningful things. Friendly is a mode of pleasant conversion. While acting friendly is part of being social, one does not have to be social to be friendly.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I have the exact reverse opinion - and pseudo-full disclosure, I'm not a millenial - far from it. All jobs humans do that machines could do drive me mental. My #1 complaint is the movie theatre: really, taking stubs, reading it, and telling me what f**king theatre my movie is in? It's on the piece of paper - hell my transit system already does this.

      • While you are intelligent enough to look at the paper some people aren't.
        Those people telling you where you should go prevent stupid people from getting up during the start of the movie because they are in the wrong theatre.

    • I bet you're that guy at the front of the line who misremebers the price of what you bought and makes them send the bagger sauntering to the back of the store for a price check, and then doesn't even start to open his 19th century checkbook until the final tally is rung up, and then fills the whole check out glacially topped off by a pointlessly legible signature, then finally hands the check over so that the cashier can slowly scribble the entire contents of your drivers license over it.

      And you wonder why

    • Like any other form of automation, its an attempt to cut costs by eliminating workers. The millennial thing is just smoke and mirrors to play it up as a positive change.
    • We vote with our wallets. Don't use the self checkout lines and encourage others to not do so. I enjoy those small social interactions with strangers.
    • I love the self checkouts. I don't want to have to talk to some pretty young lady working the register when it's Saturday night and I'm buying a frozen pizza and a bottle of lube.

    • by Parts09 (1656793)

      You are absolutely right... We need to do a better job of utilizing the services offered or we will lose them.

      People think, "oh the company is putting self checkout so that I have the option to check myself out, that is nice". No they are doing it because it is cheaper than having a cashier. I notice that people already are 'conditioned' that they are to bag their own.

      I remember in the good old days... hehehe... In the good old days, not only would there be someone there to bag your groceries, they even ha

    • by AuMatar (183847)

      Given that every time I try to check into a hotel I spend 20 minutes waiting for my tun then waiting for the clerk to type in the info I tell them, I doubt it will be slower. My guess is it will save me 19 minutes. Another great win for automation.

  • by jfp51 (64421)
    The check-in part at least is nothing new, Fairmont has offered email check-in/out for a few years at least.
  • by blueshift_1 (3692407) on Friday August 01, 2014 @02:16PM (#47583355)
    So, free hotel rooms for all at the next blackhat conference >:D
  • Hotel Door Locks (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TechyImmigrant (175943) on Friday August 01, 2014 @02:16PM (#47583367) Journal

    It's not like hotel door locks are secure. You're just trading off one big fail for another.

  • Given that hotel keying tends toward assorted mag-stripe flavors, which are certainly more obscure than RFID/NFC(mag stripe readers and writers aren't terribly expensive or in any way controlled; but nobody is pushing to build them in to random consumer electronics); but which have only whatever testing the vendor gave them and security-through-obscurity, I'm not seeing why the security risks would necessarily be 'obvious'.

    Yes, connecting anything to the network raises the stakes; but I'd be shocked if t
    • by slew (2918)

      This will probably go poorly; but it might actually go poorly in a visible enough way that they have to fix it or risk embarassment/lawsuits, rather than just having it go poorly more or less forever.

      I vote for the go-poorly-more-or-less-forever...

      The current state-of-the-art hotel security fail [spiderlabs.com] has pretty much flew under the public radar after a brief buzz, and apparently was so forgettable that it was even forgotten by many of the readers of slashdot [slashdot.org]...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Does this mean that if I meet a woman in the hotel bar, we can touch phones and use NFC to give her a key to my room? Sexy!

  • by Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) on Friday August 01, 2014 @02:23PM (#47583423) Journal

    They've had automated check in in Europe for some hotels for 25 years. The locked entrance has an ATM-like machine in the little foyer. Put in your credit card, pick a room type, and it printed a slip with codes for the front door and your room.

    And yes, they had a live person on site -- it ate my card and the call button got her out of bed at 3 am to get it. :)

    • by antdude (79039)

      That hotel didn't have night shift workers? :(

    • by rworne (538610)

      They have them in Japan too. The love hotels, where couples go for a few hours of "together time". In the western-themed room, Tarzan-themed room, or the UFO-themed room.

      Visiting a clerk is considered embarrassing for the couple, so the check in process is automated.- pick your theme off a display (lit themes are available) pay and go to the room.* They've been doing this for 20+ years now.

      * Some ways to pay are truly automated, others are more old fashioned where the clerk is obscured. Anyhow, there is

  • I don't get what the article's author is thinking, exactly. There have been dozens upon dozens of articles written about how millennials aren't doing things - they aren't buying cars (except cheap used ones), they aren't buying houses, they aren't getting married. As someone who is under 30 and technically a millennial, I can attest to this. I know exactly zero people under the age of thirty who have jobs that pay $20 or more an hour - the highest I've seen is $17.50, for a girl who works one cube over fro

    • I can't swing a dead cat (millennials don't like animal abuse) without hitting a millennial making way, way over $20/hr. They're all doing this new fangled processor design or software development stuff, I still don't think that stuff will take off.

    • It was the same for everyone in their 20s. What do you expect , a $100K pay packet the minute you leave university? I'm in my 40s now but I spent most of my 20s working in dead end IT jobs and saving up until I could put down a deposit for a mortgage.

      Seems all the millenial generation does is whinge about how tough there life is. Get over yourselves FFS!

      • by CRCulver (715279)

        I'm in my 40s now but I spent most of my 20s working in dead end IT jobs and saving up until I could put down a deposit for a mortgage.

        During the heyday of the American middle class, a man working in a factory (and the sole spouse working) could pay for a home within five years in cash. That you had to rely on a mortgage to own a home shows you came of age already during the decline that has only quickened with today's millennials. It wasn't always like this.

    • I don't get what the article's author is thinking, exactly. There have been dozens upon dozens of articles written about how millennials aren't doing things - they aren't buying cars (except cheap used ones), they aren't buying houses, they aren't getting married. As someone who is under 30 and technically a millennial, I can attest to this. I know exactly zero people under the age of thirty who have jobs that pay $20 or more an hour - the highest I've seen is $17.50, for a girl who works one cube over from me.

      From 18 to 21, I had a job starting out at $18/hr base, which was $23.75/hr base when I left. All the overtime you could eat, and triple pay for the first 8 hours on holidays.

      Where, you may ask? Why, in an industrial manufacturing facility (specifically, a glass factory making bottles for one of the largest booze corporations in the world) of course! In fact, I'd still be there if I hadn't fallen for the "you won't make good money if you don't go to college" myth.

      Post-college education, I've been lucky to b

      • Too bad my body can no longer handle that kind of work, or I'd be back at "the plant" in a heartbeat.

        Yep. I see lots of 20 and 30 year old guys in construction / fishing / general labor making $40 - $70 / hr on a high school GED. Works OK until you hit 50 and you realize that your back / hips / knees weren't designed to do this for another 30 years.

        Save up your paychecks until then. It gets lonely in the bunkhouse after a while.

        • I'm only getting into my 30's myself, but working at that plant was the kind of back-breaking nastiness (combined with all the chemicals involved in the process) that destroys your body in a hurry. Back then I loved it, thought of it as getting paid to work out 16 hours a day, but the "lifers," who would be there until retirement, all discouraged me from pursuing a career there, namely because they knew what that place does to a person's health.

          Still, there's a part of me that looks back on those days, stuf

    • by alen (225700)

      and if you had any brains you would BUY A HOUSE as soon as you can because it freezes your housing payments in time
      suffer and save for a few years, buy it on 5% down with an FHA loan if you have to but buy a house. there is no rent to be raised. your salary will go up faster than your property taxes

      in gen x the average age of buying a house dropped to 26 from 38 and people still had student loans to pay. the millenials seem to be dummies wanting to rent everything and spend all their money drinking and eati

      • by sp0tter (1456139)

        and if you had any brains you would BUY A HOUSE as soon as you can

        Lol. every single millennial that I know who bought a house regretted it. Home ownership isn't for everyone.

  • "Security risks" from people self-subscribing to hotel door access?

    Some would call this a "Profitable vulnerabilities" situation.

  • Your room temperature is set for one hundred and ten degrees. Twenty lobster dinners and fifty bottles of Dom will be delivered shortly. Thank you for your patronage.
    • In most parts of the world, that first one could mean that they deliver the lobsters to the room in a live state.

    • 110 C is not much above the hottest sauna I have sat in (that was 105 C). Someone who regularly sits in a sauna is able to handle that comfortably. Someone who sits in a sauna daily should be able to handle 110 C.
      Having said that, I wouldn't advise it in a hotel room.
      0. There is a reason there are no metal parts in a sauna that you are likely to touch. An 110 C iron rail would give serious burns.
      1. The insulation on a hotel room was not designed for such temperatures.

  • by ErichTheRed (39327) on Friday August 01, 2014 @02:28PM (#47583485)

    The last dotcom boom seemed to be mostly about eyeballs and getting people on the web. Now the popular meme is that Millenials are the new hot group to market to, and they are constantly glued to their smartphone of choice 24/7. However, just like the popular images of the fedora-wearing tech hipster and others, how much does this picture of a hyper-connected, distracted, wants-to-be-advertised-to-24/7 Millenial match with actual people?

    Sure, you can easily point out tons of people watching movies on their 4" screens, listening to music through tiny earbuds and devouring social media. I'm just not sure _everyone_ under 30 is like that. Stories like this that predict a relatively small technology enhancement will fundamentally change the nature of commerce were pretty common at the end of the last boom too. Couple that with some of the (admittedly less insane) IPOs lately and billion dollar valuations on websites that don't make money right now, and you're looking at the last gasps of inflation for Bubble 2.0. My prediction is that social media, tablets, apps and so on will live on, but they're going to be less front-and-center in peoples' lives as people get tired of it. Everyone I've ever talked to who has an iPad or other tablet says the same thing -- it's a good content consumption device but they still need a computer for anything more complex than email.

    The security implications of hotel room access through smartphone could be interesting. Done properly, it's probably as safe as Prox badges or traditional keys. However, given that this is a large hotel chain, I guarantee they're going to farm the app development out to the rock-bottom bidder. This happens all the time with large companies that say, "OMG we need tablet and phone apps NOW!!" It's kind of a given that version 1.0 is going to have problems...plus, I'm not sure everyone is so averse to dealing with people that they would want to check into a hotel without stopping at the front desk. (Hint: If you're not a jerk to the front desk staff, and ask for something cheap like a room upgrade, you're likely to get it, which is something an app's business logic won't do unless you're Triple Executive Platinum 1K Plus.)

    • by phorm (591458)

      Beyond that: (at any hotel I've attended recently) the front desk still verifies my credit card is present along with my photo ID. Without this step, it seems even easier to book a room on a fraudulent/stolen card. I'm sure criminals will love it!

      Not very well thought through, I'm afraid.

      • they also need a card for holds?

        what happen if some uses a pre paid phone with no id to get a room and they?

        Run up the PPV bill?

        Clean out the mini bar?

        Take stuff from the room / damage it?

        Order lot's of room service?

        and then just auto check out?

    • how much does this picture of a hyper-connected, distracted, wants-to-be-advertised-to-24/7 Millenial match with actual people?

      As for the millenials as a whole generation, it matches up pretty well. 24/7 access to information on smartphones. We (yes, I said we, as in millenials) don't need to ask people for information when we can get it right away. Which leads to impatience and wanting everything now.

      I'm just not sure _everyone_ under 30 is like that.

      You are absoloutely right. Not everyone under 30 wears fedoras and is a tech hipster. But,

      a hyper-connected, distracted, wants-to-be-advertised-to-24/7 Millenial match with actual people

      lines up almost exactly with every millenial because we all grew up with the internet and smart phones (for the most part). If we do everythin

    • Actually the docom boom was tech-everything, eyeballs on the web was just a no brainer. There was a company in the great lakes area I think that was allowing you to shop for groceries online and you would get a delivery the next day (This was like '97 or 98!). Working prototypes for smelling odors through the internet were being built. Back in the 90's (cue Portlandia theme) we were digitizing the world man. I'm sure others will have many great examples of failed 90's tech. So it's not just a millenial thi
    • Does it matter? Show me the Millennial who has money. Even if they earn big they blow it instantly on their toys.

  • Shouldn't there be something along the lines of

    it hasn't taken much more than a text message to get inside Paris Hilton for years

    By now?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Right here: http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=5481463&cid=47583489

  • I suspect they won't be getting an endorsement from Erin Edwards...
    • by slew (2918)

      I suspect they won't be getting an endorsement from Erin Edwards...

      I suspect you mean Erin Andrews...

  • Anything that makes check-in faster. If I made a reservation for the room, the hotel already has my info in the system. Being able to finalize my checkin with a few swipes of my phone instead of waiting for a person to become available sounds good to me. My biggest concern is the hotel having a secure enough app (and infrastructure) to make it hard for people to crack the system and/or spoof my room key.
  • You'd be surprised just how many people claim they have the president's suite... And who have the access to it to prove it!

  • I'd like to be able to skip the whole "check in" thing. If I'm on some long-haul road trip, the last thing I want to do at 11pm is be depressed by interacting with someone who's life has led them to working the swing shift at the Super8 at some crossroads in BFE. It'd be great if I could get a Moons Over My Hammy at Dennys while I figure out which room is most isolated and book it. Drive across the street to the hotel, go straight to my room, crash for 8-9 hours, shower, $5 tip for the maid, back in the

  • Never say "the risks seem obvious." They're not, obviously -- demonstrated by the fact that at least one company thinks it's a good idea. So why don't you state what you think is obvious and we'll have something discuss?
  • Everyone has a smartphone these days. And I don't know about you, but I like the idea of not having to wait 20 minutes to check in or out while some dude at the front of the line wastes everyone's time by being "social".

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