After a long flight, you arrive extremely tired at your hotel to find a line of people queued up at the front desk. Then you remember that you are an NFC user … you bypass the front desk and go straight to your room because you already know your room number and the key … in your cell phone.

This is already a reality – at least in pilot-form – in select European hotels and it's going to be introduced to American audiences soon. The solution is one more exciting capability of Near Field Communications (NFC) ... in this iteration an NFC-enabled phone communicates with contactless door locks that are NFC-compatible.

If you don't have an NFC-capable phone, you can still take advantage of the contactless portion of the system using a contactless key card to open your hotel room door by just holding the card near the lock. But you lose the convenience of bypassing the front desk because you still have to pick up the key card.

The pilot of this new solution is made possible by ASSA ABLOY Hospitality, parent company of the technology's creator, VingCard. Other participants in the project include NXP (formerly Philips Semiconductors), and IBM.

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