What Are Pod Hotels and Can They Save You Money When You Travel? | technikovonet.ga

Pod hotels are not a new phenomenon. They have been around for many years, but most travelers have never heard of them. The concept started in Japan as “capsule hotels”, that were, and are still being used mainly by businessmen on stopovers. However these hotels are becoming more and more popular with vacation travelers as well, because they are convenient and cost a lot less than regular hotels. They can be found in the United States, Britain, Europe, and Asia, usually in, or near airports.

This hotel concept is just in its infancy in the U.S. and Europe, but is growing by leaps and bounds as more and more holiday travelers demand this unique service. Entrepreneurs are responding by creating very small, pod-like hotel rooms that are usually rented by the hour, or number of hours.

Most rooms are small, but comfortable and convenient, and they can have all the amenities of a regular hotel room at a fraction of the cost. They can be a good choice for budget-conscious business travelers and vacationers.

Some pod hotels are located at airports such as the ones at Yotel.com, situated in London’s Heathrow and Gatwick Airports.

EasyHotels.com have pod hotels in London, Zurich, Basal, and Budapest. QBICHotels.com have pod hotels located in Amsterdam and Antwerp. A New York pod hotel is the PickwickArms.com.

There is a new concept in pod hotels called Metronap Sleep Pods. These space age styled pods are springing up not only on the concourses of airports, but in strategic locations in office buildings. They are perfect for tourists and business travelers, as well as tired people and executives that just want to have a short nap. Even though these sleep pods are situated out in the open, they partially enclose for privacy, but are not claustrophobic. They are also equipped with noise canceling headphones. The rental cost is by the hour and is reasonably priced.

Can Telepresence Cure Flu-Related Travel Phobia? | technikovonet.ga

With no one certain just how bad the swine flu outbreak is going to get, and folks increasingly talking about a pandemic, the flu is landing some blows on an already unsteady economy. Service and travel industries are taking especially hard hits. Pharmaceutical stocks, however, are rising right along with fear levels since their products could be used to fight the flu.

I wonder if the telepresence market won’t see a similar boost. As I wrote back in October, business executives seemed bullish on it due to its ability to help companies cut costly business travel. Companies are still in a travel-cutting mode, evidenced by an announcement that crossed my desk this morning, that the Independent Oracle Users Group is offering virtual sessions for its annual users group conference next week in Orlando. The combination of an iffy economy and a possible pandemic may lead more companies to investigate telepresence.

They should, writes IT Business Edge blogger Rob Enderle. In a post yesterday, he encouraged companies to refresh their business continuity plans, determining how they could shift large chunks of their work forces to work-at-home schedules if necessary and canceling all non-critical business travel. As part of the latter strategy, he recommends using a Web conferencing or telepresence system if you have one, or looking into renting or sharing one if you don’t. And make it a priority in the next budget cycle, he writes, since there are almost sure to be future flu outbreaks.

The video conferencing business benefited from earlier disasters, including the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the SARS scare, says Polycom CEO Robert Hagerty in a Forbes article. The article mentions several options [http://www.forbes.com/2009/04/27/swine-flu-telepresence-technology-enterprise-swine.html], including high-end and expensive systems from Cisco and HP and less costly offerings from Polycom. Both Cisco and HP have deals to offer telepresence facilities at hotels, HP with Marriott, and Cisco with Tata Group’s Taj chain.

A March 2008 report from IDC called for the telepresence market to grow from $170 million to $1.7 billion by 2012. ABI Research VP Stan Schatt had a similarly optimistic outlook when IT Business Edge’s Carl Weinschenk interviewed him in January. Thanks to falling prices, middle managers and not just senior executives are using telepresence, he said. ABI Research believes the market will reach $2.5 billion by 2013. Even with the tough economy, said Schatt, companies that had earlier purchased telepresence gear are making incremental investments. He said:

You can buy individual systems and take advantage of the initial investments. It is one thing to pay $300,000 for a room, another to pay between $5 and $10,000 to outfit middle manager so they do not have to travel to Asia. It does not take too many trips to recoup the cost. Where we are seeing a decline is in the financial sector. They certainly were early adopters of this technology and are not in shape to buy it in 2009.

Other growth opportunities in the telepresence sector include the consumer market and the kinds of public systems offered by the likes of HP and Cisco at hotels. Another driver is the simplified technology, that makes it possible for even technology-averse users to use systems without IT’s intervention. Said Schatt:

In many cases, there is just one button to set up a call. It is handled automatically through a concierge system. It is designed for senior management without patience or technology backgrounds. People won’t use equipment if it requires IT to come in and set up and manage. They want it to be very simple. The choice today basically is to have concierge services or a Web portal to schedule calls on something that looks like an Outlook calendar.