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iOpen Innovations: winning over ‘technophobes’ by respecting their time


iOpen Innovations Background

Hospitality can be hectic. Whether running a restaurant or operating a hotel, people in the industry need to be ready for surprises: from spills, to spoiled produce, to double bookings. A Property Management System (PMS) might help managers keep track, but it can’t respond to events in real-time – it can’t stop those surprises – and that can be a problem.

That’s why iOpen Innovations created SafeStay365, a unified platform that combines real-time data from sensors, so that operators can see the state of their hotel or restaurant at a glance. 

The platform is made up of three distinct products. Room Awareness monitors temperature, humidity, and current room occupancy, to help housekeeping work efficiently, avoid double bookings, and keep rooms comfortable. Using TruAssist365, an integrated alert system, staff can draw attention to leaks, fires, or intruders, mark the location with live GPS, withdraw to a safe space and communicate with their team. And TruVue365 monitors the state of cold storage facilities, with live data on temperature fluctuations linked to intelligent alerts.

“When a freezer fails at an upscale hotel, like a Ritz Carlton, the loss can be in the neighborhood of $100,000 in inventory before they even realise,” says Don Bahlman, CEO & Co-Founder of iOpen Innovations. “We saw this a lot coming out of COVID-19. Our technology is like a kind of insurance – it alerts you to be proactive, before something becomes an expense. We’ve saved one client with a five-star restaurant four times this year. Another client, a small sandwich shop, had a freezer break down in the height of the Texas summer: thanks to a notification from our system, they saved their produce in time.”

The system is autonomous, with no app to download, no burden to existing Wi-Fi infrastructure; it’s a breakthrough in hospitality management, one that earned iOpen Innovations the title Allied Partner of the Year 2022 from the Hotel Association of North Texas. 

“This industry has busy, busy people doing three, four things at one time, on the way to do something else. And so a very quick log in, a four-digit PIN and you’re in – to have that ease plus that level of security – that’s a game changer for these folks.”

Don Bahlman, CEO & Co-Founder, iOpen Innovations

Drawing users in

However sophisticated a tool or platform, it only has value if people can actually use it. That’s something that the team at iOpen Innovation know well: in the hospitality sector, too often, tech is a turn-off. 

“The majority of hoteliers are not just non-technical, they’re technophobic,” says Don. “Housekeepers, housekeeper managers, supervisors – just to set up the login with their phone, they request a 40-minute training class. So when I say, ‘Really, the set up takes two minutes, let me walk you through it,’ you can see the relief right away. ‘Oh, wow, I’m in! I get it.’”

Don Bahlman, CEO & Co-Founder, iOpen Innovations

In the first iteration of StaySafe365, users would log in with a username and password. But the team quickly recognised that this was unpopular with users, in a workplace where busy staff are wary of taking on extra administrative tasks, such as remembering or resetting passwords. The team looked instead for a login more in keeping with the clear guiding principles behind the platform: safety, speed, flexibility, simple admin, zero overheads and minimal barriers to entry. 

MIRACL aligns with those principles. Because it is a SaaS solution requiring no installation, users can securely interact with the platform using their own phones, with access controlled by a PIN of their choosing.

“Choosing their own PIN is a real bonus,” says Jessica Bahlman, CMO & Co-Founder. “People forget passwords all the time, but they never forget their PIN. People love that feature.”

That simplicity does not come at the cost of decreased security, because the MIRACL PIN only works when it is entered on the user’s device. And with simple admin tools, managers can add and remove users in a matter of seconds, without the need for IT support.

“The service industries are about winning trust and competing on social media, so there’s nowhere to hide: you really have to be confident in your security. We demonstrate that confidence with MIRACL. When we approach new clients, a number one selling point is the login. MIRACL makes us unique.”

Don Bahlman, CEO & Co-Founder, iOpen Innovations

Winning over guests

Now the iOpen Innovations team are extending the user base for the platform, to develop a holistic, unified system for hotels – a single point of reference for housekeeping, maintenance, and general managers, as well as back-office staff, such as finance. One that gives corporate oversight the ability to review dozens of locations in real-time.

And the team are targeting a new set of users: hotel guests.

“In the next phase, we need to convince and attract temporary users,” says Jessica. “Easy enrolment is an essential part of that, and with MIRACL we can set them up with an account in seconds, instead of minutes.”

Guests will receive alerts if their room door is open, for example, as well as notifications if anybody is in their room, or if housekeeping has been through. Data designed to give people the sense of safety, security and predictability that helps them relax into a hotel stay.

“I was at HITEC 2021, the largest hotel technology show in the world, and all the buzz was about cloud-based technology – no apps, no passwords. Nobody wants to fool around with passwords. I think MIRACL is right in the flow of what’s coming next.”

Don Bahlman, CEO & Co-Founder, iOpen Innovations

See how MIRACL can help improve your customer experience and security while reducing support costs, time wasted on password resets, schedule a demo here.

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