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INSIGHTS

Hospitality: Providing five-star treatment with cloud, edge AI

Hospitality: Providing five-star treatment with cloud, edge AI
We’ve discussed access control as key to hospitality. Yet operators can also leverage other security technologies, such as cloud and edge AI, to achieve various objectives. This article looks at how.
We’ve discussed access control as key to hospitality. Yet operators can also leverage other security technologies, such as cloud and edge AI, to achieve various objectives. This article looks at how.
 
It’s safe to say that the negative impact of COVID on hospitality is largely over. As borders reopen and lockdowns are being lifted, people are starting to travel for both personal and business purposes, and hotels are faced with stronger demand. According to Allied Market Research, the global travel accommodation market was valued at US$632.9 million in 2021, and is projected to reach $2 billion by 2031, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 11.3 percent.
 
While business is picking up, hotels are also faced with various challenges. “One of the main requirements for the hospitality sector is the need to maintain a secure and safe environment for customers and workers alike, while keeping the overall cost of ownership of their security systems down,” said Uri Guterman, Head of Product and Marketing at Hanwha Techwin Europe. “As the world opens up after the pandemic and people start travelling again, we see renewed consumer interest in attending events, staying at hotels and visiting entertainment venues. But there is significant pressure on businesses in these sectors as they struggle to recruit enough staff – many have left the industry during the pandemic – to meet consumer demand. This is particularly true in tourist spots, larger cities and other places where travel is now fully open.”
 
To address these challenges, security, especially video surveillance solutions, can help. Below we take a closer look.
 

Cloud

 
One technology that has been on the rise in hospitality is cloud video. “In recent years, there has been a massive shift from on-premises security to cloud-based options as businesses in the hospitality industry began to recognize the potential of the cloud. In fact, we’ve already seen a significant switch from on-premises options to cloud-based security and we’re expecting to see further growth in the coming years as businesses in this sector experience the cost savings, long-term ROI, and value,” said Bryan Eckert, Principal, Healthcare and Life Sciences Practice Leader at Arcules.
 
According to him, cloud video can benefit hotel operators in three ways, one of them being security. “The industry as a whole has already invested a massive amount of time and effort into thwarting would-be bad actors and other safety threats to hotel security that appear on-site, and cloud video plays a major role in this process,” Eckert said. “Artificial intelligence and cloud video working in tandem can be a useful tool in identifying persons of interest in areas of higher risk if leveraged effectively, and once identified, these threats can be monitored until further action can be taken.”
 
Meanwhile, cloud video can also help operators with health/safety monitoring and operation efficiency.
 
“With cloud video, hotels can manage and track business and operational data to ensure processes regarding health and safety are followed and maintained, such as properly sanitizing lobbies and elevators Video can also be used to support contact tracing if viral infections become a risk in the area,” Eckert said. “For hotel chains with multiple sites especially, cloud-based video solutions can be an invaluable tool for operations and management purposes. Through the cloud, managerial staff can access and monitor cameras from different sites, eliminating the need to physically visit locations in order to check in on daily operations. On top of this, cloud services have the capability to integrate with IoT sensors to analyze data from multiple devices to take an active role in identifying suspicious behavior, avoiding liability cases, and tracking maintenance issues as they appear.”
 

Edge AI

 
As mentioned, challenges, such as staff shortages and more stringent security requirements, can be overcome with video analytics, some AI-based.
 
“For operators, it’s important that technology helps them ‘never miss a thing.’ Accurate object detection and classification enables operators to quickly identify people, faces, number plates, and vehicle types, including cars, trucks, buses, and bicycles. This offers more situational awareness and context to an event. Irrelevant motions such as waving trees, moving shadows and animals are ignored, all of which would usually be the cause of false alarms with standard motion detection technology,” Guterman said.
 
Putting AI on the edge, for example in the camera, can offer operators even more benefits.
 
“Here, AI is not just key in reducing false alarms; AI at the edge reduces bandwidth needs and costs as less data is transmitted back to a server. AI-based compression technology also works to apply a low compression rate to objects and people which are detected and tracked by AI, whilst applying a high compression rate to the remaining field of view — this further minimizes network bandwidth and data storage requirements,” Guterman said. “Moreover, deep learning AI analytics at the edge don’t require time-consuming set up or expertise, allowing workers to go about their jobs. And, in the event of an incident, rapid post-event investigation is possible with smart search functionality, which calls on deep learning-based analytics to make it easy to search for attributes such as items of clothing.”
 

VMS

 
The video management software (VMS) is a critical component in any video surveillance system. A good VMS solution can benefit end user entities across verticals, including hospitality.
 
“Primary business operations can be enhanced using video surveillance. Examples include optimizing personnel allocation, improving guest services, monitoring employee engagement, protecting brand integrity, and monitoring compliance. Advanced video surveillance cameras and data-driven, IT-centric VMS platforms are essential to reduce cost and increase coverage of large areas such as entryways, lounges, or elevators,” said John Rezzonico, CEO of Edge360.
 
According to Rezzonico, hotels can especially benefit from containerized VMS.
 
“It is critical that cameras and other intelligent devices are integrated to form a more comprehensive view of a hotel's overall security posture. Simple, intelligent systems that bring information to the operator are optimal, as manpower is still challenging for smaller hotels,” he said. “The biggest challenge with securing these facilities has a secure and scalable VMS system to pass the required rigorous performance testing. Containerized VMS is both but is also a hybrid solution that runs on a virtualized environment in an operating system in a single server, meaning less hardware in the overall solution. This is especially ideal for organizations looking to scale into multiple buildings or globally, like hospitality providers."


Product Adopted:
Hospitality
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