Lodgian Selects PowerTerm InterConnect (Solaris edition) to Provide Access to Holiday Inn World Wide Reservation System
Customers

Lodgian Selects PowerTerm InterConnect (Solaris edition) to Provide Access to Holiday Inn World Wide Reservation System

Industry

Call Centers

Customer

Lodgian, Inc.

Host Connectivity Solution

        PowerTerm® InterConnect (Solaris edition)

Host Server

        Sun Solaris

The Challenge

        To find a terminal emulation product that would provide reliable, dependable and easy-to-use access to their hotel reservations system

The Solution

        PowerTerm InterConnect enables users to securely connect to hotel reservation system, leveraging IT systems and improving user productivity.


Benefits

  • PowerTerm InterConnect bridges the gap between legacy mainframe applications and new thin client technology.
  • Supports secure remote access to enterprise applications.
  • Works as a native client, helping to increase performance, lower communication traffic and ease remote administration.
  • Requires minimal configuration, speeding up installation time.
  • PowerTerm InterConnect is easily scalable to meet a growing company's needs.
  • Ericom's responsive Support team works with the customer from start to finish.
  • Ericom's strong business partnership with Sun builds confidence among Sun platforms users.

"We were looking for an enterprise-type product for our Sun Ray environment that would be bulletproof for our end users. It needed to be reliable, dependable, have a great user interface and would not require us to spend a lot of time supporting it. PowerTerm InterConnect fit the bill."
"Joel Tome, UNIX Systems Administrator

Background

Lodgian, Inc. is one of the largest independent owners and operators of full-service hotels throughout the USA. It is the second largest franchisee of IHG hotels, as well as one of the largest franchisees of Marriot hotels in the United States.

The Lodgian reservations center in Ohio has seats for 30 call agents. It is the responsibility of Kurt Furlong, Vice President of Revenue Management, to maximize the potential earnings to the corporation by using this in-house reservations center.

Bridging the Gap Between Legacy and Sun Ray Technology

According to Joel Tome, Senior UNIX Administrator, the company had decided to restructure and update its IT systems -- both hardware and software. "In the wake of 9/11, the hotel and tourism industry faced a new reality which required us to tighten our belts," stated Joel. "We needed to find ways to reduce our operational budgets, improve efficiencies and enhance customer service. These directives emanated from our Vice President of I.T., Charlie James, and our Director of Infrastructure, Mark Mospan. Both of our managers hold an aggressive vision of the future of Lodgian's datacenter systems and services. Charlie is focused on ORACLE, Java, and web technologies while Mark is responsible for defining and implementing Lodgian's corporate strategy for a number of emerging technology areas, including IP telephony, wireless, and thin client solutions."

"We already had another terminal emulation software in place, but it ran on a serial connection which could slow down user productivity." Joel said. He further explained, "We were changing from serial communication to TCP/IP. PowerTerm helped optimize our remote network connection and supports the corporate security policy we have in place. Additionally, we needed to bridge the gap between a legacy mainframe application and our new Sun Ray Ultra Thin Client technology."

Lodgian's call center reservation agents access Holidex, Intercontinental Hotels Group's worldwide reservation system, from their Sun Ray ultra thin clients, via PowerTerm, which is located on the Sun server. Lodgian uses Sun Fire V210 servers in failover configuration running Solaris 9 and Sunray server software 3.0. "Since PowerTerm works as a native client in a Solaris environment, it enables us to use Sun Ray's ultra thin clients rather than PCs, giving us increased performance, lowered communication traffic, easing the burden of remote administration. Instead of supporting 30 PCs with hard drives that can fail, or constantly upgrading virus protection, our reservation agents use Sun Ray ultra-thin clients connected to the network. These '1g' devices require no support because they have no moving parts and no need to upgrade memory or load virus protection software".

Easy to Install and Easy to Manage

PowerTerm was installed as part of a major restructuring project performed at Lodgian's Reservations site at the Holiday Inn Select in Ohio. "It took us about an hour to install PowerTerm. We had a couple of questions on keyboard mapping and one "special shortcut key" that was not working out of the box, but a quick call to support fixed that right away," claimed Joel. "PowerTerm worked exactly like the picture painted to us when we first looked into the software. There were no surprises and it integrated easily into our existing infrastructure," added Sherman Thompson, Senior Systems & Telecom Engineer

IT administration was also a major issue. All of the support, including hardware, software and end-user problems at the Ohio office, is now being funneled to corporate and IT headquarters in Atlanta, GA. "We have a Help Desk in Atlanta that supports several hundred PCs across 30 states so this is a whole new ethos. Support is more manageable since the Solaris desktops are immune to the most typical internet and PC-type viruses. Also, PowerTerm InterConnect has proven to be extremely reliable and functions with very little or no support, once configured. This means that instead of spinning our wheels on smaller matters, we have time to grow the corporation and systems in new ways."

Ericom and Sun Partnership Gives Customer Confidence

Joel found PowerTerm while performing a web search for a terminal emulation product for Sun Ray ultra thin clients. "We found two to three competitive products that we thought would work for us," recalled Joel. "We contacted the various companies and downloaded their evaluation software. In the beginning we experienced some issues with our own network setup, so we telephoned the companies to ask for some help. From day one, the Ericom support team was fantastic. Even when we were still in the evaluation stage, and had not yet bought the product, Ericom Support was with us every step of the way."

"Frankly, it was Ericom's support and the fact that Ericom has a business relationship with Sun that gave Ericom the leading edge," summarized Joel. "The partnership between Ericom and Sun is prominently displayed on Ericom's website. We like the idea of a partnership between Sun/Ericom and the end-user. That was a big factor in choosing Ericom."

Since implementation, PowerTerm has helped to speed up the reservation process. "All of our supervisors, as well as the site's director, have reported that the reservation process is appreciably faster," reported Joel. "We had a target of completing a reservation in about 3.5 minutes, and we hit that mark. That was one of the parameters supported by PowerTerm InterConnect."

"We were looking for an enterprise-type product for our Sun Ray environment that would be bulletproof for our end users. It needed to be reliable, dependable, have a great user interface, would not require us to spend a lot of time supporting it. PowerTerm fit the bill," Joel said.