SOA/Web Services

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January 22, 2007

BlueNote Networks SOA Solution Drives Guest Services Portal at Seaport Hotel in Boston

By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Associate Editor

BlueNote Networks (News - Alert), a company that specializes in voice and video software solutions for Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) environments, announced Monday a major new customer win—Seaport Hotel in Boston.
BlueNote was contracted by Seaport to help develop—within a 90-day period—a Web-based portal application that included VoIP calling capabilities utilizing Seaport’s existing PBX (News - Alert) and in-room phones.
Sally Bament, Vice President of Marketing at BlueNote, told TMCnet Monday that the company delivered what Seaport wanted, thanks to its SessionSuite SOA software, which was introduced last September.
“We took our software and allowed them to initiate phone calls between the guestroom phone and various guest services,” Bament explained. This is achieved by having SessionSuite SOA Edition interface with Seaport’s existing PBX to connect calls.
Bament said that Seaport Hotel—a deluxe hotel, meeting and exhibition center—selected BlueNote in large part because the company’s software did not require replacement of existing telephony equipment.
“We allowed them to save a huge amount of money by not requiring them to replace all their in-room guest phones,” Bament said. “Every other vendor would have forced them to upgrade everything.”
The hotel’s new Web portal service, dubbed Seaportal, lets guests access a wide range of information—including details about local attractions—from Web portal running on a touch screen computer. As mentioned above, the portal is also voice-enabled, letting guests place complimentary calls to guest services (such as housekeeping) and both local and long-distance numbers.
Guests can place calls from the touch-screen computer in a variety of ways, including clicking on preset buttons for different guest services (see image below), highlighting a number on a Web page, or using an on-screen keypad.

Section of Seaportal’s welcome screen
Seaport Hotel’s vice president of technology, John Burke, noted that VoIP capabilities were a key requirement of Seaportal, and that BlueNote’s SOA-based technology allowed the application to be designed and implemented in a very efficient and cost-effective  way.
“With BlueNote's SessionSuite SOA Edition, we quickly integrated cost-effective IP telephony service into the Seaportal using simple and easy-to-understand web Service APIs,” Burke said in a statement. “The low-cost, high-value addition to our infrastructure was accomplished using existing developers, without the need for specialized telephony expertise.”
Seaportal was designed with business travelers especially in mind, since they may be without their laptops due to more stringent airline restrictions. According to Bament, the application is part of ongoing innovation to differentiate the hotel and build guest loyalty in a competitive market.
“SessionSuite SOA Edition allows organizations like Seaport to improve their guests' experience by making it easy and economical to contact guest services, book dinner reservations or make a complimentary phone call - all from a touch-screen display,” BlueNote CEO Tom Burkardt said in a statement. “By selecting BlueNote, Seaport is able to quickly and easily offer a competitive guest service, while leveraging their existing systems.”
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Want the latest scoop on how SOA technology enables VoIP applications? Head on over to INTERNET TELEPHONY Conference & Expo East, January 23-26, 2007 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Don’t forget to stay till the end of the show for your chance to win a Harley Davidson Roadster or a Toyota FJ Cruiser.

Mae Kowalke previously wrote for Cleveland Magazine in Ohio and The Burlington Free Press in Vermont. To see more of her articles, please visit Mae Kowalke’s columnist page. Also check out her Wireless Mobility blog.

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