Wednesday, June 23, 2021

DC luxury hotel managers optimistic about post-pandemic future

Luxury hotel managers in the nation’s capital are optimistic that the hospitality industry here will rebound quickly as restrictions put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19 are lifted.

Right now, most businesses in D.C. are no longer operating under any constraints, a welcome change for hotels that saw occupancy levels — and revenues — drop by as much as 80% in 2020. And then there are the 27 hotels that closed for a portion of last year and the nine that closed permanently, according to Destination DC, the District’s official tourism marketing organization. That included some big names such as the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel.

Two main themes emerged as managers discussed plans for making a comeback. One is innovation and the other is improving the leisure experience.

See more at

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Pandemic response surfaces security gaps

The changes to government security practices wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic are unlikely to dissipate when the virus does, current and former government officials said during a recent webinar.

“Public safety and in particular the intelligence community has access to more data … than they ever had,” former FBI Assistant Director Kevin Brock said. “The question becomes should they collect it and can they collect it constitutionally.”

See more at

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Smart tourism sets the bar for cities' tech future

Tourism is a major revenue source for many cities, whether they attract visitors because of theme parks, historic or natural sites, or sporting events. Recently, something else has been drawing tourists to some places: technology.

Home to Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and SeaWorld, Orlando, Fla., has little trouble bringing in visitors -- a record 75 million of them in 2018, to be exact -- but Mayor Buddy Dyer wants to make sure their experience in the city, not just the parks, is top-notch.

See more at

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Chatbots vs. RPA vs. Virtual Assistants

Improving customer service is an imperative for governments at all levels as evidenced by the goals of the President’s Management Agenda and the National Association of State Chief Information Officer’s top 10 priorities list for 2019. To do it, more agencies are turning to emerging tools such as chatbots, virtual assistants and robotic process automation (RPA).

So what's the difference and how are agencies using the new technologies?

See more at

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Hot wheels: Today’s adult tricycles are low, sleek, speedy, and finding a larger fan base

With sweat beading on a hot August morning, Howard Quinn of Catonsville paced the pavement at Mt. Airy Bicycles in Carroll County, Md., studying recumbent tricycles that he and his grandson, Freddy, could share. After neck surgery, Quinn tires quickly on a bike, and the boy has trouble balancing on a two-wheeler.

“It’s in first gear,” Tom Hill told Freddy, situating him on a seven-gear Delta model priced at $1,399. “Here’s your hand brake.” He sounded like a salesman, but Hill, 61, of Damascus in Montgomery County, doesn’t work at the shop. He’s a customer — a frequent customer, having bought three trikes in nine years after undergoing back surgery.

See more at

Patients facing serious illnesses, chronic diseases find benefit in working out together

The group of about 10 women kept inching toward the door, but then the topic would change, and they’d pause to hash it out. The Life with Cancer circuit training class at the Life with Cancer Family Center in Fairfax, in which they’d squatted, curled and stretched had ended 15 minutes ago, but the socializing afterward seemed just as essential to their well-being.

“I call it parking lot counseling,” said Debra Banning, an Annandale resident who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015.” We would walk out together, and we’d share our stories and help each other and talk it out. I wasn’t one to go in and have talking groups, so this is like an oasis.”

See more at

How data centers power Virginia's Loudoun County

With 70 percent of the world’s internet traffic passing through the 10 million square feet of data centers situated in Loudoun County, it’s tempting to say that they put the Northern Virginia district on the map. But Buddy Rizer, executive director of the county’s Economic Development Department, might give AOL credit for that.

See more at