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August 13, 2008

Sheraton Hotels and Microsoft Intro Microsoft Surface

In a partnership meant to deliver an enhanced experience for hotel guests, Sheraton Hotels & Resorts and Microsoft (News - Alert) have introduced the Microsoft Surface, Microsoft’s first commercially available Surface computer. Sheraton hotels in Boston, Chicago, New York, San Francisco and Seattle will be the first to receive these surface computers.

Offering easy-to-use technology and a natural way of accessing information, these Surface units are designed to break down the traditional barriers between people and technology, providing simple and instant access to information and entertainment.

Sheraton will offer Microsoft Surface to create a new Sheraton brand experience that will bring interaction, connectivity and a social setting to the lobby to provide guests with an entirely new way to explore local tourist highlights and enhance their hotel stay.

A 30-inch display in a table-like form factor, the Surface offers an intuitive user interface that works without a traditional mouse or keyboard, allowing people to interact with content and information in a more natural and familiar way: by using their hands and gestures.

Sheraton will unveil Surface today at five hotels: Sheraton Boston Hotel, Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers, Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers, Sheraton Gateway (News - Alert) San Francisco Airport Hotel and Sheraton Seattle Hotel.

Sheraton is offering a customized version of the Microsoft Surface development suite of applications with each unit. This suite will provide entertainment and information about local attractions. The placement of the Surface units in Sheraton lobbies is expected to enable guests to leverage and experience the offerings in a social way.

Highlights of the application include the CityTips which will provide 360-degree satellite maps and tools for search; Sounds of Sheraton which is a lobby-based digital jukebox; and Sheraton Snapshots that will allow guests to explore Sheraton hotels and resorts throughout the world.

"Sheraton is redefining the hospitality experience by offering our guests technology that will allow them to interact with each other and our hotel in a revolutionary way," said Hoyt H. Harper II, senior vice president for Sheraton, in a Wednesday statement.
"We are proud to partner with Microsoft to offer the groundbreaking Microsoft Surface product, which will enable our guests to stay informed, connected and entertained while traveling."

"We're excited to be working with Sheraton in its efforts to feature innovation and redefine the guest experience in its hotel properties," said Pete Thompson, general manager, Microsoft Surface, in Wednesday’s statement.
"Surface takes a common activity, such as looking up information about a local city, and transforms it into an intuitive and social way for hotel guests to plan their visit. We believe this is just the beginning of how Surface will completely change the hotel guest experience."

Sheraton has done well to partner with Microsoft to create a solution that allows the hotel and resort chain to differentiate itself with a unique technology experience. Given the number of consumers that rely on such technology offers to navigate through an unknown city, the Surface is likely to be well received and extensively used.
Don’t forget to check out TMCnet’s White Paper Library, which provides a selection of in-depth information on relevant topics affecting the IP Communications industry. The library offers white papers, case studies and other documents which are free to registered users. Today’s featured white paper is ApplianX IP Gateway as a VoIP-Enabled Programmable Switch, brought to you by Aculab (News - Alert).

Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for To read more of Susan's articles, please visit her columnist page.

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