TV Entertainment Is Experiencing a Radical Change
People are increasingly cutting their linear TV cord and choosing various innovative forms of entertainment today. Over-the-Top (OTT) providers are gaining extensive ground and adoption as they strike impressive deals with content providers and studios to build both third-party and original content. Companies such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Sling, Hulu and others have found unparalleled popularity as people choose to watch their favorite shows and movies on second and third screens.
Innovation Is the Benchmark of In-Room Entertainment
As dependence on linear TV declines, hotels have to innovate to provide for in-room entertainment as per the expectations of today’s guests – who want to watch their choice of content, when and where they want.
Screencasting has emerged as a recent trend that meets this need. With most people carrying their content on their mobile device, it provides guests the ability to authenticate and extend their content from their mobile devices to the TV screens in the rooms. This also helps hospitality owners to offer a home-away-from-home experience to their guests.
Screencasting, Yes! – But There Are Hurdles
Bandwidth and security are the two main concerns with screencasting in today’s Wi-Fi deployment model in hotels. With an umbrella-like open Wi-Fi network, imagine a situation in which multiple guests are simultaneously casting their devices – it will adversely impact the Wi-Fi performance and guest experience. The more serious concern is where, in this network, you have a security breach or a device malfunction that allows other people to cast their devices in another guest’s room or find other casting devices on the network to cast onto the TVs in their rooms – accidentally or intentionally.
The Maladies of the Hotel Guest Wi-Fi Network – Come One, Come All!
Hospitality Wi-Fi networks as they are deployed today resemble a home Wi-Fi network, except on a larger scale. This model allows all the guests in the hotel environment to sign on and connect to the same single network. At check-in, the guests receive the Wi-Fi password, which is most likely the same one that is shared with the other guests, thereby keeping the network widely open. There could be occasions where the users are segmented by entering their room numbers in a captive portal; however, there is still a lack of deeper network layer security encryptions, rendering them still vulnerable to security threats.
The casting devices in each room are configured to use the same guest Wi-Fi, which means that everyone on the network is able to cast to the casting device from a cast-enabled app on their phone or tablet – a major security and privacy hole.
The other major challenge is shared bandwidth with limited access control policies to protect user privacy and ensure the connectivity experience. On a shared router, a single guest has the potential to bring down the entire hotel guest Wi-Fi network by taking the identity of the router or performing a DDOS against the router.
More Hospitality Innovation and Trends on the Horizon
Casting will evolve beyond guest rooms and eventually let guests cast their favorite content to other screens, such as the one on the treadmill in the gym.
We are looking forward to the time when the TV will become the hub of various service elements and guest management within the room, and innovative IOT-driven AI applications, such as guest recognition based on the phone or a loyalty program, will be introduced. The casting device will also evolve to recognize the guest, based on the app on the phone, and suggest favorites or “continue watching” options for shows, beginning where they left off.
A strong Wi-Fi solution with micro-segmentation capabilities facilitates such future developments in guest entertainment and casting while ensuring security and an excellent user experience.
Samsung is the ideal partner for hoteliers who want a comprehensive, turnkey package of Wi-Fi infrastructure for indoor and outdoor Wi-Fi, hospitality TV, SmartThings to create private IoT hubs for guests, mobile devices, and audio-video (AV) equipment, such as digital signage and video security/surveillance.
To learn more about Samsung’s hospitality Wi-Fi solutions that securely and effectively support casting, please download our recent solution brief, Revolutionizing the Screen Casting Experience in Hotels Using Secure Private Wi-Fi.
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