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Hyatt To Offer XM; Military, XM In Talks

Chicago and Washington — Chicago-based Hyatt Hotels and XM announced that Hyatt will provide XM service free of charge to its hotel guests starting this fall.

Hyatt is the first hotel to offer free satellite radio service.

The multiyear agreement will bring XM to more than 50,000 guest rooms in the United States, it said.

In separate news, XM and Waltham, Mass.-based Raytheon Co. recently demonstrated a communications system that uses XM’ s satellites to relay information to soldiers and emergency response teams during a crisis.

According to XM, the U.S. military has asked for proposals for an alternative communications system for the Mobile Enhanced Situational Awareness Network (MESA). In response, XM and Raytheon have been developing an emergency communications system for the past year and have applied for the contract along with other satellite companies such as Boeing, said an XM spokesman.

The system will include a dedicated channel on XM service that is accessible only on special devices given to emergency personnel. The receivers are similar to the consumer portables, with slight modifications to make them more rugged.

The spokesman said, “It’s too early to tell what it would mean [to XM] in terms of revenue. This would be driven by the number of users,” which could include police as well as emergency management personnel and the military.

XM said MESA will soon enter a review period to examine the various technologies for the emergency communications system.