SIOUX FALLS, S.D., Jan. 15 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- LodgeNet Interactive Corporation today announced the launch of the LodgeNet Professional Solutions Group, a professional service group that will work with customers to plan, manage, and implement High-Definition Television, Broadband Internet and other digital media and content initiatives, helping customers meet the needs of an evolving technology environment. As a part of this announcement, the company also unveiled its new Certified Installation Program. This new offering will leverage the resources of the Professional Solutions Group to provide customers with a turnkey solution that ensures a quality High-Definition experience for hoteliers and their guests.
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As the challenges related to planning and implementing new media and connectivity systems grow in complexity, LodgeNet has increasingly been asked by its customers to assist in planning, design and implementation of new technology solutions that go beyond the basic implementation of video on demand (VOD) systems. The launch of the new Professional Solutions Group was driven by LodgeNet's practical experience with the issues facing partners in both hospitality and healthcare that are considering new media and content solutions for their properties.
Services provided by the Professional Solutions Group include planning and managing all aspects of High-Definition conversion for hotels, offering professional advice and implementation, and ensuring proper selection of hardware and execution of project installations. With the creation of this new department, LodgeNet will now have a team dedicated to providing these services as a dedicated business group in support of its customers' needs.
Over the past few years, LodgeNet has planned and implemented solutions for a wide variety of premier locations, including managing the MATV system design and implementation for The Waldorf=Astoria in New York, the Westin Arlington, and the Westin Boston Waterfront, among others. In addition, LodgeNet has planned and managed system design and implementation projects for a variety of healthcare facilities including, Sanford USD Medical Center (Sioux Falls, SD), Edward Hospital (Naperville, IL), Baylor Medical Center (Plano, TX), and THE HEART HOSPITAL Baylor Plano (Plano, TX).
"In launching the Hyatt Place(TM) brand, we wanted to create a completely new and exciting guest entertainment experience," said Richard Morgan, Senior Vice President of Operations for Hyatt Place. "We chose LodgeNet to help us plan and manage this project based on their 25 years of experience. The result is that our new Hyatt Place guest rooms are a showcase that feature High-Definition entertainment and expanded media connectivity options." "Our project for Hyatt Place exemplifies the growing demand in our industry for upgrading hotel rooms to High-Definition," said Matt Sandvold, Senior Director of Technology and Content Implementation and head of the Professional Solutions Group for LodgeNet Interactive. "We created the LodgeNet Professional Solutions Group to partner with our customers and support their plans to implement High-Definition and other digital solutions in a way that saves them time and money, and offers a premium experience to guests."
Certified Installation Program
The Certified Installation Program was created to address some of the most common requests that customers have made to LodgeNet as they have moved to install High-Definition television systems in their hotels. Over the past two years, customers have regularly asked LodgeNet to "certify" television sets, thinking that if LodgeNet tested a TV in a lab for compatibility with its system, there would be no other major issues to consider with respect to planning and implementing a transition to High-Definition. Unfortunately, lab compatibility with the VOD system is only one of many issues facilities need to consider when planning a High-Definition implementation.
All too often, issues arise in High-Definition installations due to the complexity of designing and implementing new High-Definition systems in hotels, and ensuring proper network design, content compatibility, hardware compatibility and appropriate set-up. The LodgeNet Certified Installation Program will help hoteliers save time and money as they plan and execute their transition to High-Definition TV. LodgeNet Certified Installation includes comprehensive system planning, custom installation and centralized management, so hotels get a system that is certified to function optimally when LodgeNet leaves the site. Issues addressed by the Certified Installation Program include:
-- Proper device selection to ensure compatibility with High-Definition video content technology -- Identification and installation of any additional hardware required to support High-Definition programming -- Review and upgrade of hotel infrastructure as required to support High-Definition programming -- Proper installation and configuration of hardware to ensure effective performance and high quality experience -- Testing and evaluation of network and devices after installation to verify system performance
LodgeNet Certified Installation marks a step forward for the industry in providing a comprehensive solution for hoteliers, who previously had to purchase, install and manage these systems as separate components. This comprehensive program is supported by major digital HDTV manufacturers including LG Electronics, Philips, Sharp, Panasonic, and Sony.
"Just as tens of millions of Americans enjoy HDTV at home, business and leisure travelers are now demanding the flat-panel high-definition experience in their home away from home, their hotel room," said Ron Snaidauf, VP Commercial Products, LG Electronics USA, Inc. "Together with LodgeNet, LG originally pioneered the standard for secure delivery of HD content to in-room HDTVs. Now, LodgeNet's Certified Installation Program takes this to the next level, assuring that our HDTVs are set up and managed properly for the best possible experience for hotel operators and guests alike."
"Hoteliers know that when they partner with LodgeNet, their implementation and rollout of a new HD system will be done right," said Tom Parham, VP & GM Professional & Business Solutions North America at Philips. "We compliment LodgeNet on taking the initiative to create a Certified Installation program that helps hoteliers and their guests have a positive experience with their HD system. In the end, it is these type of programs that enable our industry to focus on what we do best -- creating great HDTV products to serve this growing market."
"With the rapid pace of High-Definition conversions, hoteliers need solutions that take a holistic approach to planning, implementation and ongoing management of hotel room installations," said Bruce M. Tripido, Associate Vice President, Marketing, Entertainment Products Division for Sharp. "LodgeNet's specialized knowledge of both hospitality and digital technology makes it the ideal partner to create comprehensive, customized High-Definition solutions for hoteliers that ensure our products meet customer expectations."
"Migrating to a full High-Definition platform is a substantial investment for hoteliers and a Certified Installation Program is the smart choice to relieve hoteliers of any implementation woes," said John Tracy, Director of Hospitality Sales for Panasonic. "We look forward to teaming with LodgeNet's Professional Solutions Group in delivering the best High-Definition television rollouts for our hotel customers nationwide."
"Hoteliers need a safeguard to help prevent costly HD implementation mistakes and poor customer experiences," said John Kaloukian, director of Sony Electronics' Professional Display Group. "LodgeNet's Certified Installation program will help give hotels the peace of mind that their HDTVs are properly planned and managed for the best in-room entertainment experiences."
About LodgeNet Interactive
LodgeNet Interactive Corporation is the leading provider of media and connectivity solutions designed to meet the unique needs of hospitality, healthcare and other guest-based businesses. LodgeNet Interactive serves more than 1.9 million hotel rooms representing 9,300 hotel properties worldwide in addition to healthcare facilities throughout the United States. The company's services include: Interactive Television Solutions, Broadband Internet Solutions, Content Solutions, Professional Solutions and Advertising Media Solutions. LodgeNet Interactive Corporation owns and operates businesses under the industry leading brands: LodgeNet, LodgeNetRX, and The Hotel Networks. LodgeNet Interactive is listed on NASDAQ and trades under the symbol LNET. For more information, please visit http://www.lodgenet.com . LodgeNet is a registered trademark of LodgeNet Interactive Corporation. Other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
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Web site: http://www.lodgenet.com/