SoftBank invests in 'handy Japan' hotel technology service

TOKYO — Japanese technology conglomerate SoftBank is investing in a mobile device service for hotel guests, called handy Japan, offering tourist spot information and internet access.

Terms of the deal, announced Monday, were not disclosed.

Handy, developed by Hong Kong-based Tink Labs, is available in 650,000 rooms in 4,000 hotels in 82 countries.

It rolled out in Japan last July and has been adopted by 1,700 hotels and 240,000 rooms, about a third of the nation's hotels, both sides said.

Handy works as a complimentary smartphone rental service. The device can access a hotel concierge, connect to the internet and make local and international calls. It also provides multilingual city guides.

"With SoftBanks' support, the goal is to go beyond that. It's more than just hotels," Terence Kwok, founder and CEO of Tink Labs told reporters at a Tokyo hotel.

"It's really helping us become the single ecosystem for all of travel, encompassing the entire journey of the traveler from end to end," Kwok said.

SoftBank's investment will go toward developing "Internet of Things" or IoT services for handy devices, including keyless room entry, automated checkout and smart in-room controls.

Through the collaboration, handy Japan devices will also feature a virtual reality media platform and travel features like taxi call services and disaster warning notifications.

Hiro Katsusue, CEO of handy Japan said the device can help streamline hospitality services amid a tourism boom as the 2020 Olympics approach.

___

Follow Nicola Shannon on Twitter at https://twitter.com/nicolavshannon

Her work can be found at https://www.apnews.com/search/Nicola%20Shannon

Related News

United passenger's removal sparks outrage in China

Apr 11, 2017

Images of a bloodied passenger being forcibly removed from a United Airlines flight drew widespread...

Climbing Mount Tai: 6,000 steps up China's sacred...

May 9, 2017

Taishan, or Mount Tai, is China's most sacred mountain

4 tons of garbage collected in China's Everest...

May 11, 2017

Chinese state media say volunteers have cleared four tons of garbage from the Chinese north side of...

China moves to expand DNA testing in Muslim region

May 16, 2017

A rights group and independent observers say China appears to be laying the groundwork for the mass...

China rappers to Seoul: 'Big brother' opposes...

May 17, 2017

A rap group backed by China's government is warning South Korea in a video that "you're going too...

China conducts demolitions at Tibetan Buddhist...

May 19, 2017

Chinese authorities in southwestern Sichuan province have evicted followers and razed scores of...