The Wall Street Journal reports Starwood Hotels & Resorts is debuting a new pilot program in two key locations in Manhattan and Silicon Valley that will allow guests to enter their rooms using their smartphones.
After installing the Starwood Preferred Guest (SGP) App, guests will receive a virtual key on their iPhone, which can then be used to unlock a door with a tap using Bluetooth 4.0. The newer Bluetooth specification, first introduced with the iPhone 4s, has been used in a similar way for many home locking products like the Lockitron and the August Smart Lock, but this is the first time it’s being used on a larger scale.
“We believe this will become the new standard for how people will want to enter a hotel,” says Frits van Paasschen, Starwood’s CEO. “It may be a novelty at first, but we think it will become table stakes for managing a hotel.”
The two Starwood Aloft hotels, located in Harlem, New York and Cupertino California, will be updated with the Bluetooth 4.0 technology during the first quarter of 2014. If the program proves successful, the company plans to roll out the system to all of its locations by the end of 2015.