How the Right Hotel Technology Can Help Hoteliers Attract and Retain Employees


The hospitality industry continues to face major challenges as the labor landscape shifts, driven by the pandemic and global macro-economic factors. As in other industries, hoteliers find themselves having to re-write the value proposition of working at a hotel.

To recruit a new generation of workers and retain a skilled workforce, hoteliers must implement technologies that enable hotels to be attractive workplaces with unique employee experiences, while also continuing to deliver exceptional experiences that their guests crave.

How can hotels be successful? By using modern employee facing technology, including streamlined user interfaces with gamification and user self-service, implementing cloud-based technology allowing for device-independent applications, and automating as many tasks as possible.

Hotel staff, like employees everywhere, want the same user experience on professional software as they have on consumer software – intuitive and rational user interfaces that are quick to learn and easy to use. With today’s staff churn, fast onboarding is critical, so the more self-service, the better – from onboarding videos to intelligent knowledgebases – because when staff are training, they aren’t serving guests or generating revenue. Application landing pages that can be arranged to suit staff responsibilities make for quicker navigation, and chatbots and context-based help mean staff can be more responsive. Consumer applications have trained users to search for information, and hotel employees are no different. Giving staff easy access to knowledge empowers them to find solutions for themselves and for guests.

Gamification, or the use of game design elements in non-game contexts, can be a powerful tool for attracting and retaining employees, and is a familiar social media design element. Gamification can be used to engage employees and make work tasks more enjoyable, and can also also be used to reward employees for reaching certain milestones or achieving specific goals. Leaderboards, comparing performance of employees based on relevant metrics, like check-ins or upsells or room cleaning, can introduce transparency and healthy competition, not to mention a bit of fun, into hospitality positions.

When we go to job fairs, our upselling program, is one of the first things we bring up in conversations with prospective employees. Staffing is tough everywhere. It’s competitive. Minimum-wage rates are going up across the country. But we’ve successfully enticed people with this program, especially because we now have two years of facts behind us. Mary Wren, Director of Operations, Mohegan Sun Hotel & Casino Resort

Cloud-based applications are a given, featuring automated updates, high performance, scale, integrated security, and availability, while lowering overall technology costs. Plus cloud-based apps facilitate multi-device usage; staff don’t have to be tied to fixed desktops or laptops. Forward-thinking hotels are implementing mobile apps and other tools that allow employees to manage reservations, communicate with guests, and access key information from smartphones or tablets. Mobile tools are critical to the hotel business because they allow employees to access important information and complete tasks anywhere – from a customer site by a sales manager, in the lobby by a floating front desk agent, from a hotel room by a housekeeper, from the remote kitchen by a room service agent.

Finally, no employee wants to get stuck repeating manual tasks. Automation, in many cases driven by artificial intelligence, can provide the solution. Across the hotel, automation can be applied to just about every commercial function including automating initial evaluation of incoming sales leads, the publication of rates and inventory to third party partners, onboarding of new partners’ integrations, and the selection, pricing, presentation, and fulfillment of upsell offers to guests across the guest journey. Reducing the amount of mundane work saves overhead, and makes the hotel workplace more attractive to prospective employees as well as to current employees.

If hoteliers want to remain competitive in this new labor market, they must adapt to the new workforce. It is essential that they provide employees with a seamless digital-first experience that is consistent with the technologies they have grown up using in order to convert them to the next generation of highly skilled hospitality workers. When hoteliers focus on improving the employee experience, everyone wins.



RSA’s demise from quantum attacks is very much exaggerated, expert says


Abstract futuristic electronic circuit board high-tech background

Three weeks ago, panic swept across some corners of the security world after researchers discovered a breakthrough that, at long last, put the cracking of the widely used RSA encryption scheme within reach by using quantum computing.

Scientists and cryptographers have known for two decades that a factorization method known as Shor’s algorithm makes it theoretically possible for a quantum computer with sufficient resources to break RSA. That’s because the secret prime numbers that underpin the security of an RSA key are easy to calculate using Shor’s algorithm. Computing the same primes using classical computing takes billions of years.

The only thing holding back this doomsday scenario is the massive amount of computing resources required for Shor’s algorithm to break RSA keys of sufficient size. The current estimate is that breaking a 1,024-bit or 2,048-bit RSA key requires a quantum computer with vast resources. Specifically, those resources are about 20 million qubits and about eight hours of them running in superposition. (A qubit is a basic unit of quantum computing, analogous to the binary bit in classical computing. But whereas a classic binary bit can represent only a single binary value such as a 0 or 1, a qubit is represented by a superposition of multiple possible states.)

The paper, published three weeks ago by a team of researchers in China, reported finding a factorization method that could break a 2,048-bit RSA key using a quantum system with just 372 qubits when it operated using thousands of operation steps. The finding, if true, would have meant that the fall of RSA encryption to quantum computing could come much sooner than most people believed.

RSA’s demise is greatly exaggerated

At the Enigma 2023 Conference in Santa Clara, California, on Tuesday, computer scientist and security and privacy expert Simson Garfinkel assured researchers that the demise of RSA was greatly exaggerated. For the time being, he said, quantum computing has few, if any, practical applications.

“In the near term, quantum computers are good for one thing, and that is getting papers published in prestigious journals,” Garfinkel, co-author with Chris Hoofnagle of the 2021 book Law and Policy for the Quantum Age, told the audience. “The second thing they are reasonably good at, but we don’t know for how much longer, is they’re reasonably good at getting funding.”

Even when quantum computing becomes advanced enough to provide useful applications, the applications are likely for simulating physics and chemistry, and performing computer optimizations that don’t work well with classical computing. Garfinkel said that the dearth of useful applications in the foreseeable future might bring on a “quantum winter,” similar to the multiple rounds of artificial intelligence winters before AI finally took off.

The problem with the paper published earlier this month was its reliance on Schnorr’s algorithm (not to be confused with Shor’s algorithm), which was developed in 1994. Schnorr’s algorithm is a classical computation based on lattices, which are mathematical structures that have many applications in constructive cryptography and cryptanalysis. The authors who devised Schnorr’s algorithm said it could enhance the use of the heuristic quantum optimization method called QAOA.

Within short order, a host of researchers pointed out fatal flaws in Schnorr’s algorithm that have all but debunked it. Specifically, critics said there was no evidence supporting the authors’ claims of Schnorr’s algorithm achieving polynomial time, as opposed to the exponential time achieved with classical algorithms.

The research paper from three weeks ago seemed to take Shor’s algorithm at face value. Even when it’s supposedly enhanced using QAOA—something there’s currently no support for—it’s questionable whether it provides any performance boost.

“All told, this is one of the most actively misleading quantum computing papers I’ve seen in 25 years, and I’ve seen … many,” Scott Aaronson, a computer scientist at the University of Texas at Austin and director of its Quantum Information Center, wrote. “Having said that, this actually isn’t the first time I’ve encountered the strange idea that the exponential quantum speedup for factoring integers, which we know about from Shor’s algorithm, should somehow ‘rub off’ onto quantum optimization heuristics that embody none of the actual insights of Shor’s algorithm, as if by sympathetic magic.”



Apple pauses in-house Wi-Fi chip development


Internal Wi-Fi chip development has been halted



Shifts in internal development priorities have caused Apple to indefinitely suspend the development of its own Wi-Fi chips for future iPhones.

Apple has been rumored to be bringing modem development internal for years, as it wants to reduce its reliance on distributors like Broadcom. The latest data shows that Wi-Fi chip development has run into potential barriers, and Apple is redistributing its resources.

Apple was also running into issues with how it would implement its chip, since it was Wi-Fi only and not a Bluetooth/Wi-Fi combo. Broadcom supplies the combo chip, and Apple would increase design complexity moving to two chips for the technology.

The move to Wi-Fi 6E, and eventually Wi-Fi 7, also introduces risk for Apple. The aggressive push into custom chipsets during a standard change only increases complexity.



Capgemini to further develop and maintain the Dutch national pensions digital dashboard service | Press Release


Paris, January 25, 2023 – Capgemini today announced the signing of a five-year contract with Stichting Pensioenregister, an independent foundation in the Netherlands that was founded in 2008 and has the statutory duty to provide citizens with insight into and an overview of their pension.  As part of the new agreement, Capgemini will be responsible for application support, maintenance, and further development of the Dutch national pensions digital dashboard service platform, Mijnpensioenoverzicht.nl, helping Stichting Pensioenregister to scale their digital transformation initiatives, become more agile and provide a seamless experience to citizens.

Mijnpensioenoverzicht.nl has evolved into a well-known and valued website in the Netherlands and in the coming years, the ambition is to further develop the platform and improve the user experience for citizens. Stichting Pensioenregister needed a business and technology partner who could support its goals of modernizing and developing the platform to enable innovative features like mobile applications, enhancing the overall digital experience. 

Stefan Taubert, Directeur Bestuursbureau Stichting Pensioenregister said, “Stichting Pensioenregister was looking for a new technology partner with high quality standards, knowledge of the pension market and an innovative approach. During the selection process, we found that Capgemini met our requirements, with great expertise within the pension domain and awareness of the potential around Mijnpensioenoverzicht.nl. This was an important motivation for us to go ahead with Capgemini.

Stefan van Alen, Head of Financial Services, Benelux at Capgemini said, “We are proud to collaborate with Stichting Pensioenregister on this project to deliver real value and improved convenience for Dutch pension holders. As an organization, we believe in digital inclusion and this project further reaffirms this commitment by providing relevant, clear, and transparent insights to Dutch citizens for a financially secure old age. With our deep expertise in the pensions sector as well as cloud platforms, and a focus on innovation, we’re confident that we will drive value for Stichting Pensioenregister.



With Nvidia Eye Contact, you’ll never look away from a camera again


Nvidia's Eye Contact feature automatically maintains eye contact with a camera for you.
Enlarge / Nvidia’s Eye Contact feature automatically maintains eye contact with a camera for you.

Nvidia

Nvidia recently released a beta version of Eye Contact, an AI-powered software video feature that automatically maintains eye contact for you while on-camera by estimating and aligning gaze. It ships with the 1.4 version of its Broadcast app, and the company is seeking feedback on how to improve it. In some ways, the tech may be too good because it never breaks eye contact, which appears unnatural and creepy at times.

To achieve its effect, Eye Contact replaces your eyes in the video stream with software-controlled simulated eyeballs that always stare directly into the camera, even if you’re looking away in real life. The fake eyes attempt to replicate your natural eye color, and they even blink when you do.

So far, the response to Nvidia’s new feature on social media has been largely negative. “I too, have always wanted streamers to maintain a terrifying level of unbroken eye contact while reading text that obviously isn’t displayed inside their webcams,” wrote The D-Pad on Twitter.

An Nvidia press video for Broadcast 1.4 update featuring Eye Contact.

A former TV news anchor named Scott Baker also chimed in about Nvidia Eye Contact with his analysis: “As a TV news anchor for decades … this is not quite the right approach. To make communication effective … you have to naturally break eye contact with the camera (just as you would in real life) fairly often. The power of eye contact in human communication is deeply researched. Locking eyes with someone for more than 7-10 seconds is intuitively regarded as creepy or uncomfortable. True across a dinner table, in front of a group, or through a camera.”

This isn’t the first time a company has used simulated eyeballs to maintain eye contact in video calls or video streams. In 2019, Apple introduced its “Eye Contact” feature in FaceTime that kept your peepers always glued to the camera. Like Nvidia’s version of the technology, it also faced a generally negative reception upon launch.

But hey, if non-stop soul-searing eye contact is your thing, you can run Eye Contact yourself by downloading Nvidia Broadcast for free from the company’s website. It requires Windows, an Nvidia RTX graphics card, and a deep desire to freak out anyone watching your video.





Surfing docuseries ‘Make or Break’ season two debuts on February 17


“Make or Break” season two premieres February 17



Apple has revealed the trailer and premiere date for a new season of “Make or Break,” a documentary about surfers coming to Apple TV+.

The company will release four episodes of season two on Friday, February 17, followed by another four episodes on February 24. The eight-part season spotlights elite internationally-recognized World Surf League champions Kelly Slater, Stephanie Gilmore, Filipe Toledo, and others.

Season two will offer a look into the aspirations, challenges, accomplishments and personal lives of the surfers, and includes the first-ever mid-season cut, international rivalries, and record-breaking upsets.

Box to Box Films (“F1: Drive to Survive,” “Break Point”) produces the docuseries for Apple in partnership with the World Surf League. Executive producers include Academy Award and BAFTA Award winner James Gay-Rees (“Exit Through the Gift Shop,” “Amy”), BAFTA Award nominee Paul Martin, Warren Smith, and World Surf League CEO Erik Logan.



Benefits of Mobile Apps for Playing Slots in Canada


In the past, to play casino games, you had to make preparations to go on a holiday trip and stayed in resorts over the weekend or so in order to be able to visit and play at a casino. Today, with the availability of the internet, the story is different. Anyone can engage in cash slots games for example, from their home since casino gaming is now accessible online from any location. Casino gaming is as easy as turning on your device and logging into your account.

Since casino apps started making their way onto smartphones a couple of years ago, they have presented several advantages for gamers in Canada and elsewhere.

Here are some benefits that mobile casino apps offer players:

Tailored promotions for players

One of the key benefits of mobile casino apps over land-based casinos is the tailored promotion for gamers. If you’ve ever watched a casino movie, you’ll see that the house offers players free drinks and food to make them happy. This and other costs, are borne by the operators, and may eat into their profit.

In comparison, running an online casino platform is significantly less expensive than a land-based version. This brings higher revenue for online casino operators. That’s the reason why online casinos offer gamers more bonuses and promotions than land based casinos..

Whether you’re new to an online casino or a returning customer, making deposits and playing games will allow you to get free spins, tournament tickets, and a lot of other promotions. Mobile casino apps give out cash more freely than conventional casinos, and these benefits are enjoyed more by smartphone users.

Enhanced cybersecurity

When gamers login to casino platforms on PCs, there’s a greater chance of getting their PCs infected on the internet with malware and viruses when downloading casino apps. Some malicious casinos can intentionally add malware code to their application to gather personal information from users. Using your PC to download casino apps leaves you vulnerable to cyber threats.

However, digital security risks are highly reduced when you use your smartphone. Most smartphones are either Android based or iPhones. Before any application can be uploaded to Google Play Store or App Store for users to access, it is thoroughly scrutinized to ensure it’s free of malware.

Casino software would have undergone rigorous testing before it is declared safe for users. The other aspect of better cybersecurity for smartphone users is preventing unauthorized access. Fingerprint unlocks, facial recognition, and passcodes prevent unauthorized entities from physically accessing a user’s phone.

Mobile casino apps typically employ SSL protocols to prevent hackers from gaining access when the app is being used on shared networks. This ensures that users get to safeguard their personal and financial information.

Additional option for enjoying casino games

When casino games got introduced to PCs, the early users had to download applications that sucked up big space on their hard drives. This presented an issue because hard disk performance can get adversely impacted by the reduced available space.

As the years went on, online casino operators had to facilitate gaming on websites for PC users. This option was also made available to smartphone users. Today, players can get mobile casino apps on their smartphones to facilitate gaming without carrying bulky computer gear. Generally, switching on a smartphone is easier for most than firing up their laptops, so mobile casino apps are practically at the gamer’s fingertips.

As an improvement, smartphone apps don’t need as much space for playing casino games as the earlier apps for PCs.

Variety of payment options

From wire transfers to digital currencies, the options for making transactions in mobile casino apps have increased greatly. When online casinos arrived on the scene, gamers were limited to making deposits and withdrawals through bank transfers. The issue is that making bank transfers takes a lot of time and comes with charges that ruin the gaming experience.

As technology developed through the years, casino gamers are able to carry out transactions using more payment systems. Today, you can use your credit or debit cards, e-wallets, and virtual currencies to do transactions on mobile casino apps.

Growing community of mobile app users

Since the early 2000s, mobile phones have evolved from a device for SMS texting and making calls to daily companions. If you meet 100 random people on the road, they’ll be sure to have their smartphones on them. Mobile applications are now used for complex processes like transportation, payments, calculations and research.

Smartphones offer convenience, and casino players are tapping into this by getting mobile casino apps to facilitate gaming. There are varieties of games that can be tried out on smartphones. This attracts more users each day.

In the past casino gaming required a lot of preparation for gamers which was similar to taking a holiday. With the rise of smartphone tech, there is a growing demand for mobile casino apps. These apps offer gamers advantages like tailored promotions, additional options for gaming, and enhanced cybersecurity.



Apple builds on privacy commitment by unveiling new efforts on Data Privacy Day





Fearing ChatGPT, Google enlists founders Brin and Page in AI fight


An illustration of ChatGPT exploding onto the scene, being very threatening.
Enlarge / An illustration of a chatbot exploding onto the scene, being very threatening.

Benj Edwards / Ars Technica

ChatGPT has Google spooked. On Friday, The New York Times reported that Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin held several emergency meetings with company executives about OpenAI’s new chatbot, which Google feels could threaten its $149 billion search business.

Created by OpenAI and launched in late November 2022, the large language model (LLM) known as ChatGPT stunned the world with its conversational ability to answer questions, generate text in many styles, aid with programming, and more.

Google is now scrambling to catch up, with CEO Sundar Pichai declaring a “code red” to spur new AI development. According to the Times, Google hopes to reveal more than 20 new products—and demonstrate a version of its search engine with chatbot features—at some point this year.

The NYT report quotes D. Sivakumar, a former Google research director, on the internal urgency of the situation: “This is a moment of significant vulnerability for Google. ChatGPT has put a stake in the ground, saying, ‘Here’s what a compelling new search experience could look like.’”

ChatGPT can answer questions, write programs, and even compose poetry about Nebraska.
Enlarge / ChatGPT can answer questions, write programs, and even compose poetry about Nebraska.

Ars Technica

Unlike Google search, which works primarily through keywords, ChatGPT uses natural language processing to glean the context of what a user is asking, then generate its best attempt at relevant answers. ChatGPT’s output isn’t always accurate, but its performance has been convincing enough to illustrate a potential conversational search interface that would make Google’s technology look antiquated.

Perhaps because of this, Microsoft is reportedly working on a new version of its Bing search engine that will integrate features of ChatGPT. Microsoft made its first OpenAI investment in 2019, and it recently announced a new round of funding to the tune of $10 billion.

Back at Google, Page and Brin have not been very involved with the search engine since they left their daily roles in 2019, but they have long been cheerleaders of bringing AI into Google’s products. Their involvement reflects the gravity of the ChatGPT challenge within Google.

So far, Google has responded to OpenAI by introducing fast-track product approval reviews and tools to help other companies develop their own AI prototypes, according to the NYT. Google also offers software developers and other businesses image-creation technology, along with its AI language model, LaMDA.

Some have wondered if Google has been playing it too safe, worried about the negative societal impacts or copyright implications of generative AI technology. Google seems to recognize this hesitancy internally, and the NYT report mentions that the company may potentially “recalibrate” the level of risk it is willing to take with new AI technology.

In a tweet, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman poked fun at this line in the NYT article by saying that OpenAI aims to decrease the level of risk the company will take while still shipping powerful new AI models.

Recalibration or not, Google says it is committed to AI safety. “We continue to test our AI technology internally to make sure it’s helpful and safe, and we look forward to sharing more experiences externally soon,” Lily Lin, a spokesperson for Google, said in a statement to the NYT.

But while Google delays, the more nimble OpenAI is shipping generative AI products that could potentially disrupt not only Google, but the entire tech industry as OpenAI works toward its goal of creating ever-more-powerful AI technology. Google’s response to this existential threat may decide the success of the company for years to come.





Get a Rosetta Stone lifetime subscription bundle for $99 with coupon


Get a Rosetta Stone bundle for $99.





AppleInsider may earn an affiliate commission on purchases made through links on our site.

Lifelong learners can receive a 94% discount on a bundle of technologies that help you grow your practical knowledge, including lifetime access to Rosetta Stone and StackSkills.

Learning another language has never been easier thanks to Rosetta Stone’s Lifetime Subscription service that unlocks learning access to more than 24 languages, now only $99 with this outstanding deal.

Rosetta Stone uses an intuitive training method that allows for complete immersion into a new language, leading to natural reading, writing, and speaking capabilities. With speech recognition and interactive lessons, you’ll be bilingual, trilingual, or multilingual in no time!

Learning a new language with Rosetta Stone

The Rosetta Stone software allows users to study up to 24 new languages. And with the lifetime subscription running only $99, users have access to every language and technology like TruAccent, which analyzes pronunciation 100 times per second so that you can dial in your accent and vocabulary.

The retail price for lifetime access to Rosetta Stone runs $299. With this instant redemption, you gain access to all levels of instruction for each of the available languages. Rosetta Stone works on virtually any device with support for Mac, PC, and mobile devices like iPad and iPhone.

Although you can only learn one language at a time, you can easily swap between courses allowing you to expand your ability with just a couple of taps.

Stack new skills with StackSkills

Included with your purchase of the unlimited Rosetta Stone Lifetime Subscription is lifetime access to StackSkills, an online learning platform designed to help you learn thousands of new skills from the comfort of your computer.

The StackSkills lifetime access, normally valued at $1,495, unlocks unlimited learning access from a library of 1,000+ courses taught by top instructors. The platform provides course certifications, easy-to-follow progress tracking, and instructor Q&As with courses spanning IT, design, web development, finance, marketing, and more.

More great deals from AppleInsider

Best Apple prices

There are plenty of additional markdowns going on to complement this Rosetta Stone discount. Here’s a sampling of our top picks, with hundreds of exclusive bargains available in the AppleInsider Apple Price Guide.