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BarTech: Hi-Tech MiniBars

We just got here at Singapore for tomorrow’s Nokia Connection 2011 and Communicasia on Wednesday and we’re staying at the newly-constructed Marina Bay Sands.

And it’s in our room where I encountered this BarTech Automatic Minibars. Form the outside, it just looks like any ordinary mini-ref you find in hotel rooms.

The BarTech detects any items removed in the minibar and automatically charges your tab when you checked-out. It’s like saying — you touch it, you bought it.

This probably minimizes the check-out process of the hotel and eliminates the need to do manual inventory. There’s also the usual item replacements M.O. a lot hotel guests frequently do — consume an item in the minibar and buys a similar item outside to replace the item in the minibar.

BarTech uses relatively several simple technology to power the minibar — a micro-switch the detects if an item has been lifted from its slot, a magnetic sensor that detects changes in magnetism of items laid out on a tray (like wines and bottled drinks), and an infra-red sensor that detects if an item has been removed from its line-of-sight.

The BarTech is then connected to the network via LAN cable or WiFi. The system is then managed by a web-based system that tracks and collates all activities of the minibars.

Pretty neat and expensive solution for a seemingly simple problem.

Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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8 Responses

  1. Andre says:

    Ya these are common in Las Vegas hotels and most hotels in the US.

    Some are weight based.

  2. Earl says:

    Hi Abe,
    the “expensive” solution, is not so expensive in countries like SG, since the cost of headcount to manually check consumed items, is higher than the one time installation of these automated refrigerators. The salary structure of those working in SG is relatively higher than that of the Phils.
    And a major plus also is the ability of the hotel to let a guest check out immediately once the guest goes to the lobby, without having someone to check the mini bar before letting the guest leave. This ease of checking out for busy business travelers is one that is hard to quantify, but it shows in the improvement of customer loyalty.

  3. nwel says:

    naks, yabang talaga ni sir abe =)
    minsan, sama mo naman ako.


  4. Glenn Ong says:

    Given the price a guest pays to check in to Marina Bay Sands hotel, and the size of the hotel, this solution has surely given them more productivity and efficiency.

  5. razorous says:


  6. razorous says:

    Update on Nokia Connection 2011 pala??? Its getting hot in here: http://bit.ly/kiMXua

  7. myke says:

    guilty as charged,
    I always buy canned/bottled drinks before checking-in into a hotel

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