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What's required to implement IoT, big data in hotels

What's required to implement IoT, big data in hotels

Indeed, the Internet of Things and big data can bring numerous benefits to hoteliers, who can achieve further operational efficiency, save more energy and deliver a greater guest experience through more automated processes. For them, the next question would be how to implement all these technologies into their entities.

According to Mode:Green, an integrator specializing in hospitality, implementation requires meticulous design and planning. “In design, we have to predict the future of technology because it moves quickly, where construction moves slowly. Staying on top of industry trends and seeing new technology that comes out lets us see what sort of interoperability or new functionality that we can plan for in the design, and choosing technology that would be compatible or scalable,” said Bill Lally, President of Mode:Green. “For hospitality specifically we also have to design systems that are intuitive to use for the guest, as well as for management; this particularly is our specialty, where we draw on experience building these systems to design a user-friendly option.”

When it comes to implementation, the integrator should plan for logistic and technological issues by programming the technology ahead of time. “More often than not, the technology is the last piece to go into a hotel, and we have a short window of time to make hundreds of rooms all function perfectly,” Lally said. “Doing as much as we can offsite helps prevent issues right at the end of construction, and gives us more time to spend the time that we need configuring everything.”

A main challenge in adopting IoT and big data in hospitality is that these technologies are perceived as expensive or as additional month/annual overhead. “It’s a budgeting challenge to decide who pays for it, the developer, owner or operator,” Lally said, adding that education becomes key. “Getting the hotel to understand the operational advantages and the reason for IoT, big data and cloud service is how we educate hoteliers and management: If you do this, you can reduce overhead to become profitable, where making the investment upfront and reducing operational costs, utilities, and staffing, becomes a better way to profit than raising room rates.”

David Phillips, Director of Hospitality and MDU Sales at Control4, echoed those remarks. “Budget plays a big part in the ability to install automation. Smaller hotels are still adding to their systems or haven’t yet due to budget constraints, but we know that the savings from energy and operational efficiency can help pay for the system,” he said. “One hotel that we work with in Beverly Hills has told us that they save US$20,000 a month on their HVAC bill alone.”

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