Four Winds’ interactive GoBoards now in 400-plus Marriotts

November 8, 2011 by Dave Haynes

Denver’s Four Winds Interactive has quietly built up a nice business with Courtyard by Marriott for the big GoBoard interactive displays you’ll find in the hotel chain’s lobbies.

There are now GoBoards in almost 400 U.S. locations, and the latest version of the software driving the screens, announced today, adds some interesting new wrinkles.

The 4.0 version uses Microsoft Tags, colorful 2D bar codes that are very similar to QR codes, but different in a few ways (such as QRs being open source). The tags are attached to all local information options on the GoBoard, allowing hotel guests to send directions for things like area restaurants and local malls directly to their smart phones.

“We are thrilled to present this new technology to our guests,” says Janis Milham, vice president and global brand manager for Courtyard by Marriott. “The new GoBoard®  4.0 features allow travelers to access information easily and to maximize the use of the GoBoard’s offerings. This development helps us deliver on our brand promise of giving our customers more options to empower them while on the road.”

The new GoBoard software also rolls in FIDS arrivals and departure information for local airports and walking directions to destinations. The new version is also ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) friendly.

Four Winds has also got GoBoards running in 25 Marriotts in other countries, including the big growth markets of China and India.

Anyone who reads my blabber knows how little enthusiasm I have for busy, multi-zoned screens, but it’s a different dynamic in a hotel – with people actually going to the screen and using touch to drill down for the information they want. It’s very different from trying to get this same volume of information in front of people as they are moving through public spaces or doing other things.

I still think the design could be calmed down, but Marriott has invested big in these things – and you even see them in Marriott TV spots – so the feedback is presumably very favorable.

  1. Dave, I think of this design as an informational dashboard for the visitor. The Voyager console for the Road Warrior.

    The GOBOARD, as I had the chance to see at 4Wi offices last week, is a pedestal-mounted informational fixture, designed to viewed 1:1 and a source of multiple types of local, weather, flight and POI information. The interface is actually surprisingly clean when viewed on a large screen.

    The other option would be to hide all features except the current active display under tabs and employ an iOS-type look – and i’m equally tired of that design also. Plus considering that no-one reads these days, the multiple features hidden in tabs would likely be underutilized. (For instance the weather feature offers local as well as city of destination weather (great for travelers) and that would be hard to convey in a tab icon)

    Great informational and system design overall and congratulations to 4Wi for the consistent growth trough the current less than stellar economic climate.

  2. Dave Haynes says:

    Thanks for the comment, Dmitry.

    I’ve seen the unit up close while on the road and still find it a little busy, but I’m a cranky old fart.

    I hear FWi has some very nice new digs. so I am jealous you have had a chance to visit. I don’t think all that many people in this space realize, as you note, how well that company has been doing. There are very few companies in digital signage with 150-plus people and steady sales growth.

Leave a comment