Starwood to debut Microsoft Surface

31st May 2007

Starwood will be the first in the hospitality industry to debut Microsoft Surface, Microsoft’s surface computing product.Starwood will initially launch Surface at Sheraton Hotels & Resorts, Starwood’s largest and most global brand, where it will help bring interaction, connectivity and play to the Sheraton brand’s new lobby experience, currently rolling out in key cities nationwide. With Surface’s ability to provide guests with greater service, unique experiences and new forms of entertainment, Sheraton views it as a key component of its lobby transformation.

After unveiling Surface—the first in a new category of surface computing products from Microsoft—on May 30, a live demonstration of the table-top unit will occur in the lobby of Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers on June 9 from 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. For one day only, guests and the general public will have one of the first opportunities to experience the unique capabilities of this new interactive surface. The demonstration will showcase recognition of natural gestures, touch and physical objects for hands-on, direct control of content like photos, music and maps. In the future, this revolutionary, new product will offer Sheraton guests an array of capabilities, both entertaining and functional, to enhance their stay, including browsing and listening to music, creating play lists, sending photos home, downloading books, and even ordering food and drinks, all with the drop of a credit card or their Starwood Preferred Guest loyalty card. Sheraton will begin rolling out Surface in key hotels within the United States by the end of the year.

“Through Microsoft Surface, Sheraton will offer new and engaging ways for our guests to connect with their passions while away from home,” said Hoyt H. Harper II, Senior Vice President for Sheraton. “Surface puts us on the forefront of technology and allows guests to interact with each other and our hotel in a revolutionary way, enhancing their overall experience.”

Microsoft Surface is a 30-inch display in a table-like form factor that several guests can use simultaneously. The intuitive user interface works without a traditional mouse or keyboard, allowing people to interact with content and information by using their hands and natural movements. Surface also features the ability to recognize physical objects that have identification tags similar to bar codes. By simply setting a “tagged” wine glass on the surface of the table, a Sheraton bar or restaurant could provide guests and customers with information on the wine, pictures of the vineyard it came from and suggested food pairings tailored to the offered menu.

“Microsoft was looking for a select number of initial customers to help bring Microsoft Surface to life in the hospitality and retail space, and we are proud to announce our partnership with Starwood Hotels & Resorts given their strong portfolio of brands and emphasis on great customer experiences,” said Pete Thompson, general manager Surface Computing. “Surface will enable Sheraton Hotels & Resorts to raise the guest experience to a new level by making everyday tasks - such as interacting with photos, music and maps—more entertaining, enjoyable and efficient.”



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