AWS Travel and Hospitality Partner Conversations: Rigado
Kevin Tate, Chief Marketing Officer for Rigado, joins Steven Elinson, WW Head, Restaurants and Food Service for AWS Travel and Hospitality, for a broad-ranging discussion around how AWS Partners are helping customers build resilience and prepare for what’s next in travel and hospitality. During this unprecedented time for the industry, we have been inspired by the innovations that have been born out of disruption and will impact and improve the way we fly, eat, stay, and experience our world for years to come.
Now more than ever, AWS wants to help customers succeed by connecting them to AWS Partners with deep AWS technical expertise and proven customer success to help travel and hospitality organizations build a resilient business and accelerate innovation. That’s why we’re honored to have Rigaldo as a launch member of the brand-new AWS Travel and Hospitality Partner Competency.
Steven Elinson: Describe your company, the types of travel and hospitality work you do, and key travel and hospitality clients.
Kevin Tate: Rigado provides sensor networks and edge computing for commercial spaces – enabling wireless data collection and remote automation. For hospitality companies, our sensor networks are often supporting use-cases such as occupancy and safety tracking, remote monitoring, food safety, or omnichannel guest experiences. We currently have more than 75,000 IoT gateways installed in restaurants locations around the world, with more than 5 million connected devices.
SE: Many companies across travel and hospitality have been managing through a period of unprecedented disruption. What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced during this recent period and how have you helped clients managed through them?
KT: With the new safety and compliance concerns introduced by COVID-19, managing site occupancy and tracking cleaning activity have emerged as key challenges for many of our hospitality clients and partners. Both these use cases often require the deployment of onsite sensors and systems to reliably monitor activity – such as people counting cameras, occupancy and presence sensors, employee badges, and dynamic safety displays.
Rigado’s role in helping companies respond to these pressing needs has been to offer new Safe Workplace Monitoring solutions – configurable combinations of the relevant sensors, devices, and displays – that can be quickly deployed via “peel and stick” installation.
Because our systems are pre-integrated with AWS IoT, Rigado sensor networks allow teams to start collecting critical safety metrics right away – and bring that data into new or existing enterprise applications. I believe our ability to configure these systems so that they can be quickly deployed onsite – often in less than two weeks – has been helpful to companies who are feeling a strong sense of urgency to create and demonstrate a safe workplace environment to their employees and guests.
SE: It’s been an incredibly difficult time for travel and hospitality companies, but we’ve seen many companies investing for the long run. With all the uncertainty, why has your company chosen to invest in travel and hospitality at this time?
KT: While this segment of the market is certainly under pressure right now, we don’t see hospitality “going away,” and we also believe that the level of awareness COVID-19 has created around aspects of safety and operational efficiency in commercial spaces is likely to persist longer term.
In fact, we see many teams looking at their current “safe” technology initiatives as paving the way for their longer-term “smart” infrastructure and digitalization efforts. Viewed through that lens, the sense of urgency that is driving companies to plan and deploy technology in response to COVID-19 could well speed up the broader implementation of edge connectivity and computing in these commercial spaces.
SE: In the face of the current disruption to the travel and hospitality industry, we’ve observed incredible innovations coming from across the industry. How has your company innovated through these challenging times on behalf of your customers and what are you most proud of?
KT: At Rigado, we’re proud of the speed with which we’ve helped companies respond to these new challenges – often providing them with customized, ready-to-install solutions within a couple of weeks. That’s something we’ve been able to do thanks largely to our certified solutions for AWS IoT, as well as our growing ecosystem of pre-integrated sensors and devices.
One specific example would be the way in which we’ve quickly combined people-counting cameras, occupancy sensors, and wireless displays to offer cost-effective approaches to occupancy management. We’ve been able to put those typically discrete elements together in way that addresses both the new occupancy guidelines and clear safety communication for employees and guests – in a solution that is inexpensive enough to deploy across a large set of locations.
SE: The travel and hospitality industry is incredibly resilient. As you look toward recovery, what role does technology play for your company moving forward? How do you see technology enhancing the customer experience and improving operational efficiency?
KT: There’s no question that the whole experience of the global pandemic is going to reshape how customers and guests think about their relationship to the places they visit, work, eat, and shop. The past few months have obviously seen a huge trend in customers shifting their behavior toward online ordering, curbside pickup, and remote interactions.
Even as things shift eventually back toward “normal,” we expect that customers are going to retain some of those new habits – and expectations – when it comes to efficient and convenient online, mobile, and remote interactions. Similarly, company operations teams that have been focused on more remote monitoring and automation over the past few months will likely seek to build on those operational efficiencies as business scales back up. So, overall, we see technology playing an even bigger role on both the customer experience and operations side of hospitality companies.
SE: How does building on AWS allow you to prepare for whatever the “new normal” in travel and hospitality will look like? How does the new AWS Travel and Hospitality Partner Competency help companies do the same?
KT: When planning and deploying IoT solutions in commercial spaces, managing cost and complexity can be a significant challenge. This is especially true when a team is balancing near-term urgency – such as for COVID-related solution – with long-term infrastructure and system evolution.
Being pre-integrated and certified for AWS IoT offers Rigado, our solution partners and our customers a significant advantage when it comes to managing that cost and complexity. It allows us to deploy solutions very quickly that work “out of the box,” as well as establish an extensible edge and cloud infrastructure for the longer term. By enabling that speed and extensibility across the solution provider ecosystem, the AWS Travel and Hospitality Competency program plays a critical role.
SE: What makes you excited for the future of travel and hospitality? As a traveler or guest, where are you looking forward to visiting next?
KT: Well…I realize this is a challenging perspective right now, but I personally love visiting big, crowded, bustling cities. Experiencing and exploring the vibrant energy of a New York or Berlin or Sydney is my favorite kind of travel – so I’m really looking forward to seeing our cities teeming with people and energy again. Maybe we’ll still all be wearing masks, but that’s okay.
Kevin Tate is the Chief Marketing Officer at Rigado. Kevin has more than 20 years of experience leading sales & marketing for technology companies. After successful exits in the workforce management and social media space, he most recently led sales for SurveyMonkey’s B2B team.
Learn more and team up with AWS Travel and Hospitality Competency Partners.
See more Partner Conversations and industry insights on the AWS Travel and Hospitality Blog.