Caesars Palace to launch guest biometrics

Posted on April 18th, 2005

Difficult to lose your room key when it’s attached to your hand…

Caesars Palace, one of the largest and most famous hotels on the Las Vegas Strip, is using the opening of its newest tower later this year to roll out technologies including voice over IP telephones in guestrooms and the use of biometric keys for its customers. The gigantic second tower beside the original Caesars site will be an all-suite affair and will be opened in August.

Carol Pride, CIO of Caesars, told silicon.com both additions should prove a welcome boost to Caesars customers occupying the luxury rooms, who will include those the casino is most keen to ‘incentivise’, she said – which translates as upgrading big winners to suites or offering free suite accommodation to any high rollers coming to town.

Pride believes the move to fingerprint biometrics makes it more convenient for customers who need not worry about lost keys.

Las Vegas is going through a major accommodation boom and those building on The Strip are ensuring their buildings are future proof – even if the average life-span of a strip casino is far shorter than comparable building projects. Ceasar Palace

‘That tower is going to be there for decades,’ said Pride. ‘And you only want to pull wire once.’ ‘Better to do it now than in five years time.’ Pride added the company had looked at wireless solutions, but decided against a deployment as ‘there were still some questions about security’.  Pride said cost was one driver behind the introduction of VoIP, but added that form factor and operability were the main reasons. The potential to offer ‘large colour screens which will offer customers more opportunity for feedback and interaction,’ was key, said Pride.

The handset Caesars will be using is currently still in beta stage, according to Pride, suggesting the business is doing what it can to decrease the early impact of built-in obsolescence. However, all suites will also include analogue phones so as not to run the risk of leaving customers without communications in the worst-case event of a network failure. The VoIP traffic will be routed through the same line as cable television, internet and the bane of the dishonest traveller – real-time data on changes to the inventory in the mini-bars.

Other developments that Pride says are in the pipeline, or at least in her thoughts, include the use of digital television technologies as well as the VoIP handsets to deliver information more effectively to customers, such as room service menus, maps and show information.  This would reduce the need for the bundles of instructional literature that tend to clutter all hotel rooms. Pride is aware of the need to not make rooms too much fun with gadgets and technology, however.

‘We don’t want the rooms to be so nice that they don’t leave. After all, we want them down in the casino,’ she said.

By Will Sturgeon (Silicon.com)