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Marriott-MIT Partnership Redefines Social Networking


Boston Marriott Cambridge is connecting business travelers through an MIT-designed social networking app, interactive digital screen and LED table in its lobby.

Marriott Hotels, in conjunction with students at the MIT Mobile Experience Lab, has introduced a new social networking app called Six Degrees. Six Degrees connects business travelers based on shared backgrounds and interests, aided by use of an interactive screen and LED table.

Here’s how it works: Upon first log-in, Six Degrees connects with LinkedIn to populate a profile including professional background and personal interests. The app then scans profiles of guests staying in the same hotel, analyzing their information and making matches based on these similarities. Users can message one another through the app and decide if they’d like to meet.

Marriott is doing its part to make the networking process easier. Through Six Degrees, the hotel staff receives the matched guests’ information and uses it to plan appropriate activities. Events are displayed within the app itself and guests can RSVP with a single click. The events are also advertised on an interactive digital screen in the lobby. An activity feed is also featured on the screen, as well as user information broken down into groups (for instance, people interested in jogging, or people who lived in Chicago) so guests can see how they jive with others using the service.

The experience is capped by an LED table in the lobby. When a guest places their phone or key card on one of 10 hotspots, the table’s surface will light up to indicate a connection with someone else using the table at the same time.

The service is currently only available at Boston Marriott Cambridge, but it is expected to eventually roll out to all Marriott properties.

[Photo: MIT Mobile Experience Laboratory]

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