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ELEVATING GUEST SERVICE AT ORLANDO’S PREMIER MEETING HOTEL

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The hotel of choice for professional meeting planners across the country, The Peabody Orlando is celebrated for its contemporary elegance, luxurious accommodations and award-winning service. With over 300,000 square feet of flexible function space – including the pillar-free 55,000-square-foot Peabody Grand Ballroom and 105 deluxe breakout rooms – this premier property is a dream destination for corporate and convention planners alike.

Whether conventioneer, tourist or business traveler, guests anticipate a high level of responsiveness and the hotel staff work diligently to exceed expectations. From handling international exhibitions to hosting the crowd-pleasing daily “March of the

Peabody Ducks,” The Peabody Orlando stands out from the flock of first-class resorts.

As The Peabody Orlando added a new 32-story tower, revamped pool complex and expansive spa and fitness center, it gained a new communication challenge. How could it equip employees with the tools to provide seamless guest service – with twice the number of rooms and five times the meeting space?

MAJOR EXPANSION CREATES ROOM FOR CHANGE

Energized by an enterprising $450 million dollar investment, The Peabody Orlando spread its wings and soared to towering success. Two years, a new tower and a massive renovation later, it is one of the largest non-gaming hotels in the nation.

Brian Seays, Regional IT Director for The Peabody Group, describes the necessity of mobilizing staff to handle guest requests across the vast 52 acre property. “One of the biggest challenges I had was the expansion of our hotel. We started out with 891 rooms and 60,000 square feet of meeting space. We’ve now grown to 1,641 rooms, over 300,000 square feet of meeting space and 1,700 employees. Most of them are using their radios on a daily basis, from engineers to security to guest services, banquet, beverage, catering, sales and convention services staff.”

“We have a very large footprint now,” adds Margie Sanchez, Assistant Director of Conference Management, “and to get our guests from the main lobby to one of our ballrooms requires a lot of

finesse and being able to give directions very clearly. Our associates are used to walking our guests to certain areas, so the familiarity of that space is very, very important not only to our associates, but to communicate that to our guests.”

The increased footprint presented unique communications challenges. The Peabody Orlando’s existing five channel analog trunked system was now insufficient to provide adequate coverage with the addition of the larger building. One of the alternatives hotel management had explored was cellular because of the small, lightweight devices, but spotty coverage that caused dead spots in the back hallways and in the elevators, the long-term monthly $50 per unit fee, and operating on an unreliable public network ultimately made that technology unattractive.

When management were introduced to MOTOTRBO SL Series digital two-way radio technology, they realized they could still get devices that replicated the slim, discreet form factor of a mobile phone, without having to pay recurring costs or operate on a public

network, which provided more reliability since the hotel sits in a hurricane zone. Even more, they could enjoy the robust benefits of two-way radio communication that would continue to run their HotSOS applications and provide crystal clear voice transmission.

MOTOTRBO SL SERIES: SMARTPHONE SLEEK. TWO-WAY RADIO ROBUST.
Ultra-thin, ultra-light and loaded with hospitality features, the innovative design and features of the MOTOTRBO SL Series enhance the level of

professionalism and discretion so users can provide superior customer service and faster response times. “I think the form factor is key,” said Seays. “As management, you’re going in and out of meetings and your wardrobe really doesn’t lend itself to carry a five-

pound device hanging from your belt loop. The SL Series is no different than carrying my cell phone.”

Over in Conference Management, Margie Sanchez agrees with how slim, lightweight and discreet the SL Series is. “The flexibility that the new radio has, in its size, in the earpiece, makes it almost like it’s not really there. So it is quite convenient in communication to our other associates while we assist our guests.”

INSTANT DATA AND IMPROVED DECISION-MAKING

Whether it’s discreet text messaging or easy-to-read work order tickets, the SL Series improves the way the staff at The Peabody Orlando interacts and reacts. With integrated Bluetooth® in the radio, they can use wireless accessories to move freely without the hassle

of wires, and share real time information and streamline their response. Hotel security, for example, relies on text messaging for rapid, unobtrusive communication that is covert and doesn’t distract employees or guests.

From management to maintenance, employees are also enthusiastic about the 2-inch, full color, five line

screen that reduces HotSOS work order steps, improves readability and increases their efficiency. “We’ve

been very big fans of the HotSOS application,” Seays explains. Rather than scrolling through multiple screens to view a work order, “With the SL Series screen you get a lot of that message on your first glance, which is very good. It allows us to respond to our guests quickly and effectively.”

HEAR CLEARLY OVER CLATTER AND CHATTER

According to Sanchez, the SL Series offers excellent voice clarity, even in the commotion of a crowded event. Its Intelligent Audio automatically adjusts radio volume to compensate for background noise, so she won’t miss a call in a loud ballroom or disturb guests when she steps back into a hushed hallway.

“The Intelligent Audio feature was a great benefit for us,” she says, “especially when you’re dealing with an event that might have 1,200 people. The radio took out all that background noise and what was being communicated amongst our staff was very, very clear. That is key, because when you have a lot of different events and chatter on the radio, you want to be able to pick up exactly what is being said, so you can respond to it as quickly as possible.”

BE DISCREET WITHOUT DISTURBING GUESTS

Covert and comfortable Bluetooth wireless accessories are the perfect fit for discreet communication throughout the hotel. “I’ve been using the Bluetooth and I’m ecstatic about it,” says Jon Vereen in Security Training. “I can still hear the sounds that are around me, and the radio comes in crisp and clear. I don’t have to unplug it to talk to a guest.”

“The headset makes it seamless,” adds Sanchez.

“It makes getting answers so much faster, and it gives a certain confidence to our guests when they ask questions, that we are able to readily give the response they’re looking for. There’s no delay.”

MAKE SEAMLESS SERVICE SEEM EFFORTLESS

With its sleek shape, easy-to-use interface, exceptional audio and integrated data applications, the SL Series digital radios have improved The Peabody Orlando’s ability to respond to its clientele. “Guest experience has been out of this world with the transition,” says Seays.

“When we were using the analog system, it would take several minutes to get a clear radio to speak from. If there was a guest or a group who needed assistance, you could be waiting three minutes. The MOTOTRBO digital system has given us the ability to have thousands of channels to use, and we don’t have those kinds of delays.”

“To maintain a rating as a Forbes Four-Star, AAA Four Diamond hotel, it really requires us to be able to quickly mobilize and act on behalf of our guests,” Seays points out. As The Peabody Orlando showcases its capabilities to the convention industry and beyond, the SL Series is helping them project an image of elegant professionalism and provide a level of impeccable guest service.

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Top gaming headsets

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Gaming headsets are a necessary tool in the toolset of any gamer. A gaming headset can save you a lot of trouble, heartache, quarrels and embarrassment. Except you are living alone or you are otherwise playing your games in a sound-proof room, you will definitely experience challenges whenever you try to play your games after sunset. Your only option is to get a gaming headset, and the sooner you do this, the better off you will be. As an added benefit, you also get to immerse yourself more in your games; you will now be able to hear people trying to sneak up on you in an FPS game, you will also hear subtle sounds you never got to hear on your normal speakers, and you will also experience the joys of positional audio, just to name a few.
There is a large variety of gaming headsets in the market, but I would like to group them into three categories for the purpose of this article, namely; budget, mid-range, and high-end. Budget headsets should go for less than $60, mid-range headsets will go for between $60 and $200, while high-end headsets will cost more than $200. Without further ado let us sample the various gaming headsets on offer.
See all 6 photos Earforce X12 Turtle Beach Ear Force X12 Gaming Headset and Amplified Stereo SoundAmazon Price: $46.26
List Price: $59.99Budget (Less than $60) Are you on a tight budget? These headsets will make you smile.
Ear Force X12 Amplified Stereo Headset with chat The Turtle Beach Earforce X12 is an update to the extremely popular X11. The X12 is sturdy and feels strong enough to withstand some abuse and it has big, comfortable ear cups. The microphone is good and has an appreciable level of sensitivity although it uses a 3.5mm connector, and there is a microphone monitoring feature which enables you to hear what you say into the microphone. There is an inline amplifier which sports controls for; chat volume, game volume, bass boost and microphone mute. Audio output is also top notch for this price, making this headset a fantastic update to the X11.
What’s hot:

Microphone monitoring

Variable Bass control

Sensitive microphone

Inline amplifier
What’s bad:

Only 3.5mm microphone connector
See all 6 photos Creative Sound Blaster Tactic 3D Sigma Creative Sound Blaster Tactic3D Rage USB Gaming HeadsetAmazon Price: Too low to display
List Price: $79.99Creative Soundblaster Tactic 3D Sigma USB Gaming Headset Creative are well known for their stellar sound blaster cards so it is no wonder that they also have some nice headsets. The 3D sigma headset has a good build; it has a steel core headband, swivel ear cups, and unlike many other headsets it has a ribbon cord (which easily prevents knotting). The microphone is of the noise-cancelling variety, is detachable, and is quite good for this price point. Connectivity is achieved either through the 3.5mm connectors or through the included USB adapter. The 3D sigma outputs high quality, 3D audio which even rivals the surround sound output from more expensive headsets. The headset is also comfortable and has inline volume and microphone controls, the only let down is some slight issues with some versions of Windows 7.
What’s hot:

3D audio

Ribbon cord

Option of USB or analog connectors

Detachable noise cancelling microphone

Swivel ear cups

Voice morphing application
What’s bad:

Might have issues with some versions of Windows 7
See all 6 photos Logitech G35 Logitech G35 7.1-Channel Surround Sound HeadsetAmazon Price: $91.70
List Price: $129.99Mid-range (between $60 and $200) If you want to up the ante but have a budget ceiling of $200, then this is your spot.
Logitech G35 7.1-Channel Surround Sound Headset The G35 is a surround sound headset from Logitech, the popular accessory manufacturer. It is well built, although I have to admit it does look a wee bit geeky and futuristic. All the headset’s controls are conveniently located on the ear cups; microphone mute, volume controls, surround sound adjustment, and three programmable G keys. Ear cups are of the ear enclosing variety and are comfortable, you also get three changeable headband pads for added customization. The microphone is a noise-cancelling type and can be muted by raising the boom arm, the tip of the boom arm also has a mute indicator to let you know when you have muted the microphone. Audio output is 7.1 channel, Dolby powered, surround sound and is of a very high quality. Topping off the design is a 10ft braided cable and a USB connector.
What’ hot:

Dolby powered 7.1 ch surround sound

Three changeable headband pads

Audio controls on ear cup

Noise cancelling microphone

Braided cable

Microphone Mute light

Voice morphing software
What’s bad:

No equalizer
See all 6 photos Tritton TRIAX-720 AX 720 Mad Catz AX 720 7.1 Surround Sound Gaming HeadsetAmazon Price: $119.99
List Price: $129.99Tritton TRIAX-720 AX 720 Dolby Digital Surround Sound The Tritton AX 720 is a mid-range gaming headset that retails for just over $100. For this price you get a headset with a decent build, and replaceable ear pads. There is dolby digital 5.1 audio, although it is emulated 5.1 channel surround sound it does a good emulation in both games and movies. There is an inline controller and it has a master volume control, master volume control mute, chat volume control, and microphone mute switch. The inline controller is also detachable. The microphone is decent enough and is detachable. Apart from the inline controller there is also a digital audio control box which has a host of ports (like optical input) for devices like your PS3 and Xbox360. All in all a decent mid-range gaming headset.
What’s hot:

Removeable microphone

Dolby powered 5.1 ch surround sound (simulated)

Separate game and chat volume controls

Optical connecion available

Also compatible with PS3 and Xbox360
What’s bad:

Not optimal for music

So many cables
See all 6 photos Beyerdynamic MMX 300 Beyerdynamic 715565 PC Gaming Premium Digital Headset with MicrophoneAmazon Price: $397.79
List Price: $459.00High-end (above $200) For professional gamers only. Spending more than $200 on a gaming headset is no mean feat, and It is for this reason that I have listed the following headsets; get one of these and you will be satisfied.
Beyerdynamic MMX 300 PC Gaming Premium Digital Headset with Microphone
The Beyerdynamic MMX 300 is a top notch gaming headset and it is my top pick. The MMX 300 is based on Beyerdynamic’s HS 300 aviation headset and it provides excellent sound isolation. The headband is flexible and feels comfortable on the head while the ear pads completely cover your ears. The attached microphone is adjustable and also very sensitive, you might need to reduce the sensitivity a bit. The two connectors on the headset are the standard 3.5mm connectors, but Beyerdynamic have thoughtfully included a USB converter for those who would rather connect through their USB ports. To top it off there is a mute button, a volume control, and it comes with a carrying bag.
What’s hot:

Nice sound isolation

Quality sound output

Sensitive microphone

Comfortable

Choice of analog or USB connectors
What’s bad:

Might require a headphone amplifier

See all 6 photos Sennheiser PC 360 Sennheiser PC 360 Headset for Pro GamingAmazon Price: $166.60
List Price: $249.95Sennheiser PC 360 Headset for Pro Gaming
My second choice is the Sennheiser PC 360, a decent alternative to the the Beyerdynamic. The PC 360 has a good build with velvet ear pads and a cushioned headband, the volume control is ingeniously located on the the ear cup for easy access. The microphone is an adjustable, noise cancelling microphone and it is quite good, even reportedly better than the one on the beyerdynamic; in a touch of brilliance, raising the microphone boom all the way up will mute the microphone. There is no sound isolation as this headset is of the open air variety, although this will prevent you from having sweaty ears when you go on marathon gaming sessions.
What’s hot:

Noise cancelling microphone with boom arm acting as mute switch

Accessible volume control on ear cup

Quality sound output

Very comfortable

Open air design
What’s bad:

No sound isolation

Might need a headphone amplifier
Summary You can not go wrong with any of the headsets I have highlighted above because they are some of the best headsets in their class, and there are also numerous customer reviews attesting to their quality. Most users have also reported improvements in their gaming sessions because of the new range of sounds they can now hear, if you want to hone your gaming skills and you also want to engage in extended gaming sessions; I would seriously consider getting one of these headsets.

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