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INSIGHTS

Challenges hurting hotel security implementation in India now

Challenges hurting hotel security implementation in India now
Indian hotel security challenges stem from a combination of lack of clarity and the nature of the business. But COVID-19 has heightened the importance of dealing with hotel security requirements.
Indian hotels are slowly reopening as the tourism industry looks to put COVID-19 fears behind and drive businesses forward. Hotel security requirements are higher than ever before as the pandemic forces them to follow strict hygiene protocols without compromising on steps to protect customers and property from the usual threats. This means that hotels require not just conventional security solutions but also devices like thermal cameras.

Security threats plaguing the Indian hotel industry

hikvision on india hotel security
Ashish Dhakan
CEO
Prama Hikvision India
Ashish Dhakan, CEO of Prama Hikvision India, points out that the main security concerns in the Indian hospitality sector have remained consistent over the years. That the guests should have a safe stay, that all their hospitality requirements should be met, that they should return home delighted – this is the prime goal of any hospitality unit.

"The hospitality industry has remained a soft target for terrorists, extremists, and crime syndicates due to its close proximity to foreigners, celebrity guests, and high net worth individuals for maximum impact," Dhakan added. "The incidents of physical crimes, identity theft, and credit card frauds are some of the key concerns. The ongoing pandemic situation has further added a critical health and safety dimension to the hospitality ecosystem. The persistent threat of pandemic spread has given rise to the COVID-19 Compliant Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), Guidelines and Contactless Operations in all possible functions of the hospitality sector."

The hospitality sector thrives on public perception and brand image. Even the slightest lapse in security can ruin the entire brand, not just one particular unit.

5 challenges in implementing security in hotels

Several difficulties continue to impact the implementation of security solutions in Indian hotels. Among them, the following five need special attention because they are not often discussed.

1. Security without causing fear

Security solutions shouldn't cause discomfort to the customers at a hotel. One of the primary goals of the hotel business is to provide a pleasurable experience to customers. If you place too many CCTV cameras, there are chances that the customer would feel their privacy is violated.  

"While implementing a hotel security project, a challenge is to create a balance between the need to enhance security and the requirements of the hotel as a commercial and private environment," Dhakan explained. "Too much security can also be an anathema to the guests sometimes."

 2. Lack of budget for maintenance 

tony alex, cctv installer for hotels
Tony Alex
Co-Founder
Trident Automation Systems
Many of the hotel security implementation challenges stem from the industry's nature. For instance, the installation process of devices shouldn't hurt the customer experience. But there are more pressing concerns related to the budget. Tony Alex, Co-Founder of Trident Automation Systems, a systems integrator (SI) that has worked extensively with several leading hospitality chains in India, explains that many hotel managements allocate funds for installation alone and not for annual maintenance.

"This means that solutions may be installed, but there wouldn't be a system in place for preventive maintenance," Alex explained. "This problem is seen even in some high-end hotel chains."

3. Lack of written rules on camera locations

Alex points out that although most SIs and hotel owners know where to install the cameras without privacy violations, there are often no prescribed rules. This means that SIs uses their discretion when it comes to deciding the camera placement location. While this may be fine for an experienced SI, lack of recorded rules leaves room for ambiguity, which is unacceptable in security.

4. Legacy systems

New hotel projects use IP cameras, but several large hotels have not yet upgraded from analog CCTV systems. This becomes a challenge for SIs as sometimes the management expects the quality of modern cameras from their old cameras. Alex says there have been instances where he had to spend considerable effort and time to increase the video clarity of legacy cameras that just weren't meant for high-end applications.

5. Lack of clarity on the retention period

Recently updated regulations ask hotels to retain CCTV footage for 90 days, but Alex points out that many hotel managements are not sure if this is merely a guideline or mandate. Hence many haven't upgraded their policies to retain the footage for 90 days. Such a lack of clarity in the rules makes the work even more difficult for SIs.

3 solutions trending in hotel security  

The Indian hospitality sector has seen large-scale adoption of advanced transformative technologies, like AI, IoT, and facial recognition, during the pandemic phase. Dhakan pointed out that solutions in demand are related to core security technology solutions. He listed the following solutions that are now trending in the hospitality sector.

1. Smart health and safety

Solutions for temperature screening, crowd flow, and social distancing are in demand now. These intelligent health safety solutions help the safe reopening of hospitality units across India, enabling compliance with government guidelines.

2. Integrated security solutions

The rise in the proliferation of IP cameras has supported integrated security solutions. Integrated security bolsters hospitality security management through innovative solutions and applications, including advanced systems in video surveillance, access control, intrusion alarm, and perimeter security segments. When these solutions are integrated with the command and control center, they provide better proactive security management outcomes.

3. IoT security solutions

The internet of things (IoT) is enabling smart security trends in the hospitality sector while driving service efficiency for guests and profitability for the key stakeholders.

Conclusion

Hotel security solution providers and SIs in India have to deal with two types of challenges. First, the nature of the hospitality business requires installations that cause minimum discomfort to guests. Second, there is still a lack of importance given to ensuring proper maintenance, retention of video, and privacy management. On the bright side, hotels are adopting new technology like AI-enabled systems. As the industry opens up after COVID-19, many of these solutions would be invaluable.


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