First-ever NFC mobile phone key pilot concludes at Stockholm hotel

STOCKHOLM The world’s first pilot program using NFC-enabled mobile phones to check in and out of hotel rooms—replacing guestroom keys—has been completed at Clarion Hotel Stockholm.

Assa Abloy, Nordic Choice Hotels, Giesecke & Devrient, TeliaSonera and VingCard Elsafe have completed the eight-month pilot, in which about 30 hotel loyalty guests checked in to the hotel via mobile key application. Upon arrival, the guests were able to directly access their guestrooms without needing to check in at the front desk.

More than half of participating guests estimate the technology saved them 10 minutes or more that they would have otherwise spent queued for check-in. Most of the participants say they would use mobile keys for their hotel stays if NFC-compatible cell phones were available today and their phone supported the service, according to a survey by Assa Abloy.

The participating guests stayed at the hotel frequently during the pilot period and used the application repeatedly. This gave the guests the familiarity with the service needed to give valuable feedback on the user experience. When asked what other NFC applications they believed in, most of the guests replied paying for food, drink and hotel services. A majority also believed in getting information about the hotel and the hotel services such as map, room service menus, the spa and gym and information about restaurants, bars and public transport available via the NFC service.

NFC, Near Field Communication, is a short-range wireless communication technology standard that enables the exchange of data between devices over up to a 10 cm distance. Applications include contactless transactions such as payment and transit ticketing, keys, data transfers including electronic business cards, and access to online digital content.