IN THE FIELD WITH DAVID ESSERYK -Part 2 / Room Automation

Increasing Efficiencies and Optimising Guest Comfort

David Esseryk, the Accor Group’s vice president of consumer technologies, is in charge of guest-facing technologies for all brands. In his second regular “spot” in our SMARTreports, David shares his thought leadership in the area of room automation.

Both wired and wireless energy management systems—such as those powered by ZigBee or Wi-Fi—are making inroads in the hospitality industry, controlling equipment that contributes to high energy use in a hotel operation. Automation adoption has been fuelling competitive advantage for business and reportedly the return on investment is coming within reach for many resorts and hotels.

The major barrier is lack of information about the new technology. As end-users become more knowledgeable about how to automate their facilities and reduce energy consumption, some contractors with an interest in low-voltage systems and the advantages of wireless connectivity are placing themselves in key positions to benefit.

Energy management – on the radar for building managers: The first reason is the importance the end-user puts on hotels controlling energy usage and waste. For hotels, taking a proactive approach to energy efficiency is important in order to stay competitive in the current hospitality environment. The second reason is that costs for energy are one of the largest budget items for hotels, and swings in utility rates can substantially affect the bottom line.

Vendors are selling a broad selection of options to address the needs of hotel energy management, and many of the solutions are wireless, offering an opportunity to integrated systems contractors to provide installation and maintenance to systems during new constructions or renovations.

One example is Legrand’s energy management products line. Wireless and hardwired versions make it easy for both new construction and retrofitting existing hotels. The intelligent thermostats can communicate over a ZigBee wireless network, giving the hotel’s engineering team full control – enabling the monitoring of every room in the hotel.

In 2012, Schneider Electric launched its Cassia energy management system (EMS), an intuitive in-room energy solution for hotels and other multiunit facilities that maximises operating efficiencies. The system uses room automation and energy monitoring software to increase efficiencies in a hotel’s greatest areas of consumption: heating, cooling and lighting.

One of the major changes to automation technology is the ease of installation.

One of the major changes to automation technology is the ease of installation. The older systems were more complex, and with ZigBee wireless mesh technology, setting up these new networks is quite simple. The simplicity has led to more self-installation and more technicians getting into the business.

I believe the transition is underway, not just for energy efficiency but convenience and greater guest comfort as well. For example, some systems replace the digital clock in most rooms with an 8-inch colour touch-screen display that sends messages, accesses the Internet and plays music. Other companies provide similar smart bedside consoles that help guests manage their experience in the room and access information outside of it. The future is now!