Safeguarding Hotels through System Coordination

Safeguarding Hotels through System Coordination

Hoteliers around the globe are taking advantage of technologies that provide security, comfort and operational efficiency across systems.

IndigoVision Sscures Qatar Hotel
IndigoVision's IP video technology is providing an integrated solution for the new Movenpick Tower and Suites Hotel in Doha, Qatar. Located at the booming trade district, the five-star, 350-room, 26-floor hotel is housed in a futuristic building at the entrance to the prestigious West Bay area.

The 116-camera system, installed by IndigoVision's local partner Capital Technology, is integrated with a GE access control system and IndigoVision's enterprise IP video and alarm management software. Through IP, four workstations, with management software installed, are used to monitor live and recorded video from the cameras and to manage alarms from the surveillance and access control systems.

The tight integration of video surveillance and access control brings many benefits to the hotel, helping improve the overall efficiency of the monitoring operation and speed up incident response. Through the management software, the access system can drive the surveillance system using events and alarms. For example, if the system detects an attempted intrusion, the management platform will display the relevant camera footage for the alarmed area automatically, bookmarking the recorded video and initiating a full alarm management procedure. Similarly, it is possible to lock a door remotely with a click of a mouse from a command and control center.

IndigoVision's compression technology enables high-resolution video to be delivered with full frame rate over the IP network with reduced bandwidth, allowing the sharing of the network with other services such as IP TV, IP telephony and guest Internet.

Video images are recorded continuously on three IndigoVision NVRs for 30 days. The management software allows recorded video to be searched and identified quickly. Quality video clips of an incident can be excerpted for evidentiary use by the police if required.

The IP video management software is the obvious place to consolidate alarms from various systems, as video surveillance is the most often used interface. IndigoVision has developed integration modules for widely used access control, intrusion detection and building management systems around the world, making the company's IP video system an open-architecture solution that provides integration. The enterprise IP video and alarm management software is licensed on a per-seat basis, allowing workstations to be deployed anywhere on the network at no more than the cost of an entry-level PC.

Schneider Makes Hilton More Energy-efficient
The US$285-million, 24-story Hilton Americas-Houston hotel offers 1,200 guest rooms and 8,450 square meters of meeting space. TAC, a Schneider Electric company, and its local partner, Enco Systems, teamed up to provide a building management system that features a unique, energy-saving guest room control.

Enco proposed a building management system (BMS) that utilizes a special three-mode operation sequence for guest room fan coil units (FCUs) and a customized smart sensor in each room. Together, they provide the Hilton with a unique approach to hotel room control. The BMS was also interfaced with several other subsystems in the hotel. "The system's ability to communicate to third-party manufacturers and the programmability of all levels of its controllers allowed it to meet the Hilton's interoperability requirements," said Dan Travis, Enco's Account Manager.

The three modes are unrented, rented but unoccupied, and rented and occupied; room temperature, outside air (OA) intake and bathroom exhaust air dampers are tailored to a room's conditions.

An BMS terminal controller controls FCU operation. It modulates an OA damper to release 50 cubic feet of pretreated OA per minute to each room. Typically, hotels use individual window units, each of which takes in untreated OA or hallway air, cools or heats it, and then circulates it around the room. The Hilton, on the other hand, uses four OA-handling units (OAHUs) to pretreat the OA required for its 1,200 guest rooms. The OAHUs take the major load off of the individual FCUs, which are concealed behind the wall in each guest room. OA is precooled to 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees Celsius) during warmer, more humid days, and preheated to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 degrees Celsius) on colder days using an OA reset schedule.

In addition to reducing the hotel's overall OA usage, the use of centralized OA units ensures the correct amount of fresh air for each room. It also controls the variable speed fan on the FCU, reducing energy consumption by matching the fan speed to the room's needs.

A small smart sensor is mounted on the wall near the door, allowing guests to increase or decrease the temperature in their room by 3 degrees from the set point. The entire hotel is centrally controlled and monitored by a front-end workstation located in the hotel's operations office.

The BMS also interfaces to several other subsystems in the hotel, including switchgear, chillers, variable fan drives (air-handling units, cooling towers, and pumps), fire alarm systems and backup generators. In addition, the operations staff uses the system to control and monitor the HVAC and lighting systems in the hotel's public areas and meeting rooms.

Milestone Systems Upgrades Saxon Hotel and SPA
The Saxon was originally converted from the luxurious home of Douw Steyn to a five-star boutique hotel in the 1990s, with the spa added in 2006. It is currently expanding into more property next door. By April 2010, there will be another 29 suites for a total of 53. The Saxon Hotel has only suites, with the smallest being 85 square meters.

The hotel needs to ensure the security and privacy of its important clientele. Valuable artwork must also be protected. Constant overview of all the staff shifts and activities ensures smooth operations. Camsecure adopted Milestone's IP video software with an upgrade to the enterprise suite, managing almost 80 network cameras from Axis Communications. The open platform functions as a central management tool, replacing the previous mix of six different analog video surveillance systems around the property.

The IP-based system is scalable as the business grows. The Milestone software gives flexible access to various managers to respond quickly and be proactive. For example, the front office manager can be sitting in his office, yet be alerted to the arrival of a VIP outside for personal greetings. The video allows other managers to see if the kitchen and restaurants are having any delays, and react immediately to improve matters. "Basically, it's a management tool for ensuring the best for our customers," said George Cohen, MD of the Saxon Boutique Hotel and Spa. Senior managers can also track employees' progress and monitor the effectiveness of staff interactions with the guests to further ensure the standards of service.

"Because of the high-profile nature of our clientele, it's very important that the security is discreet and nonintrusive. It must be that no one feels they are being watched, yet they know they are secure and safe," said Cohen. System cables, cameras and upgrades have been done in the least obtrusive way, and there was no disruption or damage to the building whatsoever.

"It's imperative that everything works 24/7. If something does go wrong, it gets fixed right away. Likewise, whenever we discover any weakness in our security coverage, we are able to upgrade the installation to address it immediately," said Cohen.

The Saxon Hotel has been using the Milestone-Axis surveillance solution from Camsecure since 2006 with ongoing expansions as the facility has grown. "The open-platform network video approach allows the expansions over time to cover new property, but also to use new types of cameras that become available," said Francois Malan, Technical Director at Camsecure.

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