ISJ Exclusive: Five star solutions for enhancing hospitality security

Five star solutions for enhancing hospitality security Maxxess

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ISJ – April Edition Exclusive

Lee Copland, Managing Director, Maxxess EMEA explains how integrated technologies in the hotel sector are delivering more than just increased security.

Whether it’s a short stay lodge or a luxury boutique hotel, safety and security are often key selection factors for guests – particularly VIP customers and corporate travellers – when choosing where to stay. Guests want to be safe and feel safe and they want to be confident that their personal property will be protected.

A lot of factors contribute to how safe and secure a hotel feels. It’s not just about direct security measures, such as the quality of access control on guest rooms or discrete but efficient use of CCTV in public areas – but, more general considerations including the visibility and alertness of staff, maintenance and cleanliness standards and the overall efficiency of operations.

In all of these areas, we are seeing a new generation of integrated systems, tying together front of house and back of house operations, playing an increasingly important role. Hotel operators recognise the importance of investing in robust security and the added value they can get from solutions that allow their staff to be more responsive and that enable increased efficiency of operations, from front desk and housekeeping to property maintenance.

At a time of labour shortages particularly affecting the hospitality sector, being able to do more with less is an attractive proposition. It is also a way to drive competitiveness in a challenging but exciting market, ensuring better guest experiences by leveraging better systems to control and manage services.

Security and support

The hotel sector is particularly diverse, ranging from full service hotels and multiple branded and franchised chains to independent and family-run hotels, spas and wellness retreats. The key decision makers that we work with vary a lot too and include property developers, brand owners, construction companies and facilities and security directors.

Some of the best qualified security directors today can be found working in the global hotels business and they are at the vanguard of deploying technology in ways that push beyond the sector’s traditional boundaries.

In part, this is because their roles are much wider than they used to be. In many countries and cities, hotels are viewed as vital infrastructure. Today, hotels also house upscale restaurants and play host to VIP events including major corporate meetings, weddings and award dinners often involving hundreds of attendees. This increases their duty of care responsibilities and, in some cases, additional compliance requirements to meet national and local regulations. 

In addition, their focus is not just on safety and preventing property damage, theft and fraud, but on supporting wider business objectives: Planning for threats that range from cybersecurity breaches to major disruption from terrorism, civil unrest, supply chain pressures, acute staff acquisition and retention issues and extreme weather events.

We are working with a growing number of hotels globally, helping them to meet these challenges, and supporting them in developing more advanced, integrated systems and infrastructure. They want to stay ahead of international competitors when it comes to guest experiences and they want to embed more efficient operations, both back-of-house and front-of-house.

Solutions in some cases encompass multiple guest doors – rooms and penthouses – and external access for private villas, staff entrances, gatehouses, car parks and goods-in areas.

And, we are increasingly integrating with leading technologies such as ASSA ABLOY Hospitality, which benefits guests with the latest contactless digital key functionality, allowing them to use traditional credentials or personal smartphones to access hotel rooms and safety deposit boxes.

Hotels are also sometimes linked with the wider developments going on around them, such as the five-star luxury Pan Pacific hotel, located within Bishopsgate Plaza, a new multi-use development in the heart of the City of London; two other examples of how advanced solutions are transforming the sector are the 750-room all-inclusive Hotel RIU and the Jumeirah Marsa Al Arab – both in Dubai.

Hotel RIU

Hotel Riu is the newest addition to the international RIU Hotels and Resorts family and one of the first facilities to open on Dubai Islands in Deira, a landmark development that will cover 17sqkm across five isles.

The islands already feature one of the city’s hottest shopping destinations, the Souk Al Marfa, an indoor Arabian bazaar that’s home to over four hundred stores and waterfront restaurants. Maxxess is providing the integrated security and safety backbone across the development.

The hotel, set among upscale beachfront real estate, is at the heart of a busy visitor destination and that makes efficient, smooth but secure access control a must-have. Dubai developer Nakheel wanted a flexible technology that would combine secure access control with unified site management of the entire development. They also needed to ensure that front and back of house hotel operations ran smoothly, with a fully integrated solution.

Contractor Telematics, a specialist in major ICT projects, recommended Maxxess eFusion technology to deliver on multiple requirements, including: Integration of front of house and back of house functions; integrated control of all access, room management, surveillance, fire detection and building control functions; HVAC integration to ensure optimised energy consumption; system flexibility, with ease of use for busy staff and a unified platform enabling a single situational view.

The eFusion solution implemented by Telematics enables this seamless integration of security and building systems, plus front of house services. The access control software enables efficient operation of all the hotel’s systems, including video surveillance, fire, intruder and other security, safety and site specific applications and hardware.

Streamlining door access at Hotel RIU, eFusion uses over twenty Mercury door controllers to integrate with ASSA ABLOY Hospitality electronic locks and readers, blending with the location’s aesthetics – this gives guests the option to use traditional RFID key cards or their personal cell phones for access to rooms and safety deposit boxes. Guests using mobile access not only benefit from smoother check-in and greater convenience but also reduced exposure to hygiene risks from touching surfaces.

Key management is also optimised and guests benefit from more efficient housekeeping. From the eFusion interface, operators can see the real time status of each door as well as the occupancy status of each room; if a guest room door goes offline or a battery needs replacing, maintenance is provided more promptly.

Five workstations are integrated, with more than 32 back of house readers and a Diester Key Management system, allowing staff to work more securely and efficiently. Integration of Hanwha Wisenet VMS into eFusion integrates nearly three hundred cameras to give visibility of the hotel’s interior and external areas including a private beach, five swimming pools and the Splash Water World park and slides.

And, with this access control platform, building services and environmental systems are also integrated using the BACnet protocol. This allows operators to respond to alerts and control the heating, ventilation, air conditioning and lighting according to occupancy levels and building usage.

eFusion access control software handles alarms and notifications to provide a security backbone, driving service efficiency by removing the need for operators to continually switch between systems. For example, whenever an access event occurs, such as a forced door or a door left ajar, eFusion brings up the nearest high definition camera view, allowing a response with minimal delay.

Through off-the-shelf integration, eFusion also cost effectively streamlines and connects front of house and back of house services, allowing staff to be directed from a single, easy to use interface. Guest services and housekeeping can be delivered more efficiently as a result.

Looking ahead, eFusion’s modular approach will allow new facilities and new tenants to be accommodated. With access control as the foundation, flexible and scalable deployment options will extend to the entire development.

Jumeirah Marsa Al Arab

And Jumeirah Marsa Al Arab, the Dubai resort from Jumeirah Group, is also using Maxxess eFusion technology to provide enterprise-class access control and enable seamless integration of third party security, safety and back and front of house systems. The luxury five star development, opening this year, will include 408 rooms, four super penthouses, a premium yacht club and marina with 128 berths, nine high end villas and an extensive resort landscaped with infinity pools.

The integrated Maxxess solution encompasses 256 controllers to manage guest doors in the hotel and penthouses and external access for the private villas, staff entrances, gatehouses, car parks and goods-in areas. Integration with ASSA ABLOY Hospitality allows guests to use traditional credentials or personal smartphones to access hotel rooms, safety deposit boxes and secure closets.

The surveillance system, comprised of over seven hundred Hanwha cameras, ensures guest and staff safety, provides a full audit trail of room access and allows services such as room cleaning to be delivered efficiently with minimal disruption. Integration of Hanwha’s Wisenet VMS ensures uninterrupted coverage of the hotel’s interior and exterior areas.

Seamless integration with the Zenitel IP video intercom system, and the resort’s fire system, ensures efficient management through eFusion’s single user interface. This removes reliance on siloed systems, eliminating control room inefficiencies and gaps in security.

At each of these locations – and at a growing number of other developments – integrated systems are not only enhancing safety and security but providing guests with a more impressive visitor experience.

Maxxess EMEA

Maxxess Systems EMEA is a globally renowned software vendor, specialising in access control and integrated security and safety solutions. The company was founded over 20 years ago to bring new thinking to the physical security industry through innovative, flexible, scalable future-proofed open platform and mobile applications.

This article was originally published in the April edition of ISJ. To read your free digital edition, click here.

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