By Andrew Nusca
Posting in Design
Miami-based Linen Technology Tracking is using RFID tags to track towels, sheets and bathrobes. Why? Because cotton is expensive.
That plush white bathrobe you wore at your last hotel stay was the epitome of luxury, wasn't it? Maybe next time you'll just accidentally pack it in your suitcase and bring it home to relive the experience.
Or not. A Miami company has patented a washable radio frequency identification, or RFID, chip that's designed to track towels, robes and even bed sheets.
The system is the product of (the aptly named) Linen Technology Tracking and software specialist Fluensee. The intelligence of the product, called "Linentracker," uses LTT's SMARTtags and runs on Fluensee's supply chain management platform.
Why the Big Brother approach? Simple: in the hospitality industry, one of the largest expenses of room occupancy is the growing cost of linen supplies -- but until now, hotels are in the dark with regard to where those assets are, both when they're in the hands of customers and when they're being laundered by outside vendors.
Here's how it works: each asset is scanned and monitored to and from the laundry, in and out of linen closets, at various check-in or check-out stations, down laundry chutes and even at pool and beach kiosks. AssetTrack monitors everything in real time, then offers insights via its reporting and analytics engine.
It's not just preventing theft, either. The real-time aspect allows hotels to make their workflow more efficient, the companies say.
Benefits include, according to the companies:
- Reduction in inventory time and labor.
- More efficient management of linen purchases.
- Improved control and savings within the laundry process.
- Increased life of linens and towels.
- Improved control over check-in and check-out process.
- Reduction in linen and towel theft and shrinkage.
- Improved customer service.
So far, three hotels — in Honolulu, Miami and Manhattan — are using the chip, according to a New York Times brief on the company.
And it's real dollars we're talking about here. To wit:
The Honolulu property, which introduced the technology last summer, has reduced theft of its pool towels from 4,000 a month to just 750, saving more than $16,000 a month, Mr. Serbin said.
Apr 15, 2011
The washable towels and bathrobes are indeed a great facility provided by the luxurious hotels. http://www.motellagil.ro/hotel-aeroport-bucuresti
I also agree with this "If government and lawmakers lifted the ridiculous ban on hemp, there would be no shortage of fiber for making clothes and many other things. " and We need sustainability behaviours to be the social norms.. http://www.gmexportsindia.com/
If the hotel rooms have microwave ovens then this idea is finished before it starts. To destroy an rfid chip all you have to do is microwave it for about 2-5 seconds! which wont damage the towel. see: http://www.ssrichardmontgomery.com/rfidmoney.htm (copy & paste url into your browser)
The technology of tagging hotel linen is just no use and declaring that hotels are tagging their linen just makes it worse. Take an analogy: the old story of library books which had strips in them to prevent theft from a library. Users, once they detected the strip technique, tore off the strip and took the book out. What is to prevent a "towel-obsession" thief to just identify the RFID and take away the towel. The best method is still the good old one: check before the guest leaves. This technology is no use: at least not for theft prevention, may be it could be used for detecting where all the linen is for the hotel staff.
Both mikehattan and tracystoller make excellent points, but some how it sounds and feels like some kind of experiment where someday it would be required to be in all clothing that is sold and people can be tracked without there knowledge, maybe I'm just being paranoid this would sure be a good way of doing it.
You really can't steal the bathrobes because they just charge it to your credit card--kind of like the minibar. I guess I am not understanding how they are preventing theft by guests: Doe an alarm sound when you take a towel from the pool area, do they scan your luggage as you leave, or do they send you a letter saying, "We've caught you red-handed since our reader detects one of our washcloths at your home address". It just seems impractical.
If government and lawmakers lifted the ridiculous ban on hemp, there would be no shortage of fiber for making clothes and many other things.