IP Telephony Unveiled
Figure 5-1 Understanding the Business Is the Key to Convergence
Sample Business Cases
The model in Figure 5-1 can identify business needs and turn that knowledge
into a new type of application that addresses speciﬁc requirements. This model can
be applied to six different sectors:
• Secondary education
• Higher education
• Health care
Hotels have been relatively slow to adopt IP telephony. This industry is
heavily focused on costs—ironically, cost containment is turning into one of the
major initiatives that is causing this industry to investigate IPT. Initially, however,
the thinking was as follows:
“We need to contain our costs. Our phones work just ﬁne. Our guests are not
asking for smarter phones, but looking for entertainment and tools to help them
Chapter 5: Focusing on the Few
conduct business while traveling. We don’t need new voice technologies at this
time, we just need more ‘heads on beds.’”
This thought process dominated most decision makers in the hospitality
industry when they were initially introduced to IP telephony. However, as the
potential for new types of applications continues to surface, leaders in these
organizations are beginning to align their expectations with how IPT can
signiﬁcantly impact their speciﬁc initiatives. One initiative, for example, pertains
to room service.
Room service is a key business process in many full-service hotels because it
generates revenue for the hotel and enhances customer satisfaction by providing a
convenient service to clients. As in other industries, the traditional sources of
revenue are changing. In recent years, for example, the prevalence of cell phones
has dramatically reduced the revenues that hotels earn from long-distance calls
made by guests. Hotels are looking for new ways to increase their revenues and
control costs. Looking speciﬁcally at the work process involved for providing in-
room breakfast service, some clear opportunities for business impact become
The menu, for example, represents an investment in design, printing, and
perhaps even translation services. As such, the menu is part of the cost of sales that
a hotel incurs to offer room service. In an IP telephony business assessment, the
goal is to ﬁnd applications and/or documents that can be enhanced.
The menu is usually multicolored, double-sided, and printed on heavy stock
paper. It often has a special perforation that allows it to hang on a doorknob. This
menu, depending on its complexity, can easily be $0.75 to $1.25 per document,
and the hotel provides one in every room, every night.
Now, consider the process itself. George checks into his room late at night and
wants to order breakfast for the morning. He makes his selection on the menu,
and hangs the menu outside his door. Later in the night, someone comes by and
retrieves this document. This is labor to the hotel. The employee takes the
document downstairs into the kitchen, where someone enters the information into
a computer system. This, too, is labor cost to the hotel.
Yet another consideration remains. These menus have a reminder to hang the
document on the door by midnight, suggesting that at some point, this process is
cut off. In other words, potential revenue is cut off. In the case of someone who is
IP Telephony Unveiled
arriving on a late-night ﬂight and checking-in at the hotel too late to set up
breakfast, a potential loss of room service revenue exists for the hotel.
Figure 5-2 shows the relationship between the initiative, key business process,
work process, application/document, and feature for this opportunity.
Figure 5-2 Hospitality Business Opportunity
Up to this point, all these have been considered ﬁxed and necessary costs for
the breakfast room service. The question is, can IP telephony, or more speciﬁcally,
IP telephony applications, impact this process? Can any costs from this process be
reduced through convergence? The answer is yes.
Figure 5-3 depicts a typical application being deployed in hotel rooms
because of IP telephony. This type of application is currently provided by
applications development organizations, such as Calence, Percipia, and Norstan.
This hospitality application is designed for IP phones in hotel rooms. It
presents a myriad of opportunities for customer service, revenue generation, and
employee productivity for hotel staff. It is made possible by placing a more
intelligent device in hotel rooms.
Figure 5-3 Room Service as an Application for Hospitality
in Room Service