InnSpire has launched InnCable, which is essentially an Android computer built into an Ethernet cable. Plug one end into an Ethernet port, the other end into a TV set, and you have a smart TV.
As the name might suggest, InnCable is aimed at hotels, where its advantages include extremely easy set-up and no need for a server room or specialized IT management. However, I suggested to InnSpire's co-founder and CEO Martin Chevalley that it had many other potential uses, "Yes exactly. It's essentially an Android box, so all kinds of uses are possible - normal home use, step-top box, telco providers, etc", he replied.
"We will start selling to hotels, but we are already talking with B2C companies about launching a version for consumers."
The current InnCable includes custom software for hotel and hospitality applications, including information services and guest sales. InnSpire would expect other providers, such as telcos, to develop applications to handle their own requirements.
InnCable works best over Ethernet, and POE (Power Over Ethernet) ports are ideal. It can also be powered by the TV set, via the HDMI port, though not all TV sets support this. If necessary, the system can work using an ordinary power supply and a Wi-Fi connection, though this isn't as neat or as reliable. (Hotel Wi-Fi systems can be overloaded.)
InnSpire says in its press release that "InnCable is based on the same groundbreaking technology that won InnSpire the HTNG [Hospitality Technology Next Generation] tech innovation award in 2014. Millions of hotel guests have since enjoyed world-class entertainment, ordered room service and controlled hotel offers using the hotel room TV and their own devices."
InnCable is another way of delivering the same InnSpire system.
The InnCable includes two USB ports and an RJ-12 serial port, InnSpire has not released details of the processor or memory, but I would assume it's much like a Roku or similar set-top box.
The device is being unveiled at this week's HITEC conference in Toronto, Canada (June 26-29). HITEC bills itself as the "world's largest hospitality technology show".