HOUSTON—HITEC, the lodging industry’s leading technology trade show, was held at the LEED Silver George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston June 18 to 21. Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP) just announced that the event broke barriers as the highest attended event in the association’s history with over 6,650 attendees. There were approximately 400 exhibitors, many of whom displayed their latest innovations to help reduce energy consumption in the guestroom. Other exhibitors concentrated on other aspects of sustainability—indoor air quality, for example.
The following is a summary of the HITEC announcements having some type of “green” connection:
Honeywell launched the INNCOM INNcontrol 5 energy management and guestroom automation control system. The cloud-based and on-premise system monitors real-time guestroom data from intelligent INNCOM devices, such as its e7 Thermostat, to improve a hotel’s energy savings, increase operational efficiency, and enhance the guest experience. The INNcontrol 5 system is easily installed as an upgrade to the INNCOM INNcontrol3 system.
INNControl 5 also provides a completely new, enterprise level executive dashboard that displays property and portfolio operational status. The executive dashboard gives asset managers, REIT operators, and hotel portfolio directors information on property conditions for informed decisions based on timely data. INNcontrol 5 expands the capabilities of Honeywell’s INNcontrol 3 Energy Management System.
INNcontrol 5 gives hotel operators better insight on how to optimize energy use by generating historical trend reports on room usage, seasonal fluctuations and other factors. System data may be customized for particular staff positions and easily accessed to make it actionable. User group data is viewable in reports or read instantly on INNcontrol 5’s data dashboard. The data is valuable for identifying engineering tasks, notifying security of guestroom issues, and for use by other departments to optimize staffing levels.
Entry Point for Alexa Voice Control
The INNcontrol 5 system provides the open data exchange platform for Internet of Things (IoT) integration with centralized electronic locks, property management systems, in-room entertainment and other systems. INNcontrol 5 is also an entry point for consolidated Alexa voice control of compatible HVAC lighting, drapery and, amenity controls.
Honeywell also debuted and demonstrated its new Spectre guestroom solution that merges smart thermostat technology with guestroom lighting controls. Spectre combines Honeywell’s e7 occupancy-detection wireless thermostat with intelligent, programmable wall outlets and lights to extend energy savings to guestroom lighting. The thermostat senses when guests enter the room and instantly communicates with lighting controls via a 2.4GHz RF to activate a “welcome” environment. When the room is unoccupied, the lights and outlets are turned off within a 30-minute time period to save energy. Spectre meets Title 24 Guest Room Occupancy Controls requirements for installations to support property compliance. Spectre will be available in 3Q 2018.
INNcontrol 5 uses Honeywell Sentience—the company’s Internet of Things (IoT) and Data Analytics platform, which is an optional addition to Spectre. For hotel owners, the data and analytics supported by Honeywell Sentience and displayed in INNcontrol 5 helps make properties more energy efficient. For operators, artificial intelligence enabled by Honeywell Sentience can predict heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning problems before they occur.
Telkonet’s Symphony Commercial IoT Platform
Telkonet, Inc., creator of the EcoSmart platform of intelligent automation solutions, announced the release of its Symphony commercial IoT platform. Some of the key highlights of Symphony’s capabilities include the ability to see all room devices, including door locks, lighting,
mini bars, shades, etc. Symphony delivers an all-inclusive dashboard for all devices. The power to see a lock status, light levels, Do-Not-Disturb or request for housekeeping service, and panic alerts, are examples of visibility and control of third party device integration. When combined with the traditional energy management and automation attributes including temperature, set point, fan speeds, HVAC alerts, seasonal profiles, and PMS integration through one platform, Symphony delivers a fully scalable solution.
Through the use of a dedicated commissioning and reporting tool, Symphony now provides the ability to easily deploy IoT devices through a WYSIWYG graphical editor and template driven integration process. Within minutes of installation, all devices in the room are connected, communicating and reporting. The tool also executes a final test and report that confirms all features of the system are functioning, including the equipment that the devices are connected to. This final report provides operators confidence that a system is 100 percent functioning upon deployment while also learning of any preexisting conditions based on the report’s findings.
Just prior to HITEC, SONIFI Solutions announced a collaboration with Telkonet, Inc. to make hotel rooms smarter and more connected, by combining energy management solutions with in-room guest entertainment systems. Guests have the ability to change in-room environmental settings via SONIFI’s STAY Interactive Television interface.
Telkonet also announced it has teamed with Volara, a voice-based hotel guest engagement solution that turns voice into a hospitality business tool. Together, they now offer a hospitality environment in which guests can use voice commands to control intelligent in-room devices and platforms to set scenes within their own hotel rooms. These scenes are able to incorporate one device or many different devices to create the exact environment that a guest requests. Examples include changing temperatures, adjusting shades, dimming lights, adjusting the Do-Not-Disturb and Make-Up-Room signage and more.
Evolve’s New Evolve Guest Interface
Wireless, cloud-based in-room control and management solutions provider, Evolve Controls, announced the launch of Evolve Guest Interface (eGI), a multi-protocol gateway built into a touch-screen interface device. The eGI device will interface with Z-Wave, Zigbee, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. By addressing the need for multiple protocols, Evolve offers hotels greater flexibility and compatibility for integrations with existing technologies.
The 8″ Windows/Intel-based gateway is a simple, yet powerful device that enables guests to control in-room climate, lighting, shading and drapery, as well as other functions to increase efficiencies for both guests and staff. eGI is built upon Evolve’s cloud-based Room Operations Control (RoC) platform. This means that:
- Turn down, butler or housekeeping services are accomplished with a touch of a button.
- The digital clock automatically syncs, eliminating the manual process of updating clocks.
- It is compatible with Evolve’s existing portfolio of in-room devices.
- The solution does not require expensive on-site servers to maintain, or costly home-run wiring.
- Each room can stand alone and operate independent of Internet access.
The eGI consolidates devices such as the guest-controlled thermostat, special devices for lighting and shading control, IoT gateway, USB charger, alarm clock, and platform for Guest Services applications—all within the device.
Cloud5 & the Hospitality Dashboard Experience
Cloud5 introduced a new concept that will provide the industry with access to real-time predictive insights by expanding the traditional dashboard to include all networked systems that affect the guest experience. Members of its now-forming HDX Advisory Board will have exclusive access to the first-in-market strategy as well as the opportunity to participate in the evolution of the HDX solution. The Hospitality Dashboard Experience (HDX) is built on Cloud5’s open and unified voice and data platform and will merge standard network metrics with data analytics to streamline staff workflows and optimize the guest experience.
By leveraging vast sources of device-based data, including inputs across the Internet of Things (IoT), the Cloud5 HDX will monitor and analyze performance, take proactive corrective actions based on network events and present opportunities to enhance guest service and operational efficiency. An open platform for data consolidation and integration across the property, HDX will empower managers, staff, and front desk employees by providing access to up-to-the-minute snapshots of every room and a new way to interact with the hotel’s systems in real time, directly impacting guest satisfaction scores. Management companies and corporate offices will be able to access a global picture of their properties in order to take action on important relational or brand group data.
CIRQ+ & Its ‘Smart Room for Smart Guests’
CIRQ+ featured its Platform as a Service (PaaS) solution. The company’s unified technology consolidates multiple in-room services into a single modern device: wireless control of temperature; smart LED light; instant-on alarm clock; Wi-Fi (ZigBee, Zwave); thermal occupancy sensor; Bluetooth speaker and Hi-Fi audio; 120 V AC and USB 2.1A charging plugs with optional (Qi) wireless charging; hotel services; and more.
CIRQ+ offers in-room energy IoT controls for properties to remotely monitor and intelligently adjust room temperatures, lighting, and outlets based on guest occupancy.
Verdant EI Energy Management
Verdant featured its VX-Series smart thermostats and EI cloud-based software. The system continuously analyzes changing conditions in each room—occupancy, temperature, humidity, weather, etc. and adapts in real time. Verdant EI, the company’s energy management service, monitors and controls each VX-Series thermostat without any involvement from staff.
When hoteliers subscribe to Verdant EI, a dedicated energy management expert is assigned to the property with a simple goal in mind: monitor the Verdant system 24/7 and maximize energy savings. Experts use proprietary machine learning algorithms to optimize system settings based on historical performance data, generating the best energy savings possible at the property. Verdant EI includes a suite of mobile and web apps to help monitor energy savings in real time, change settings on the fly, or even monitor room occupancy.
Onity Features SensorStat Systems
Onity, which has a strategic business relationship with Telkonet, featured the SensorStat Wireless Thermostat, SensorStat Controller, and SensorStat Control Software. The Thermostat communicates wirelessly or is hardwired to the Controller using low voltage wiring. It includes an on-board occupancy sensor. In addition to communicating with the Thermostat, the Controller communicates directly with the Control Software. The Control Software offers features including granual device control, cloud-based data backup, and the ability to process raw data into 25 usable, actionable reports. The Control Software can identify HVAC units that may be malfunctioning and can communicate with Property Management Systems and Building Management Systems.
Much More Than a PTAC EMS
Amana expanded on its guestroom energy management system with its new DigiWatt system that can control virtually any electrical circuit in a hotel room. Using a DigiSmart occupancy sensor to determine if a room is unoccupied, the system can shut off power to virtually any 115 volt non-critical electrical circuit(s) that are predetermined during design and construction. Amana already had its DigiSmart Wireless Remote Thermostat, DigiSmart Occupancy Sensor and Door Switch Combo Device, and DigiSmart Wireless Antenna that installs inside a PTAC. Using the DigiSmart Controller, all PTACs in a building can be managed through a single interface on a PC.
INTEREL’S Guest Room Management Solutions
INTEREL launched a re-tooled product platform for North America, available for both retrofit and new construction hotels. INTEREL’s Guest Room Management Solutions include energy management, door lock and lighting controls for occupancy-based lighting controls (meets Marriott CFST requirements and CA Title 24 compliance), and the hospitality industry’s first water management solution. The Water Management System delivers precise digital water controls and enables the property or brand to set water flow and temperature policies. Guests can control multiple water outlets through one touch panel. Light and water parameters can be controlled at the same time if connected to the INTEREL GRMS.
By utilizing the wireless connectivity in INTEREL’s thermostats, signals from a variety of devices in the guestroom can be streamlined, such as with door locks. Partnering with companies such as Hafele, Saflok, Salto and VingCard, these wireless door locks use INTEREL’s infrastructure to go online, removing the need for duplicate networks and cable runs, and reducing the cost of infrastructure for the hotelier.
INTEREL products, including thermostats and light switch panels, include Bluetooth radios to make sure the guestroom is ready for supporting these emerging solutions. Whether it is supporting staff panic alerts or asset tracking for an improved guest experience, INTEREL says it is working to ensure the guestroom is “future ready” for the next wave of technology.
Cloud-Based Building Management Platform
Site 1001 featured its cloud-based building management platform that helps building owners, operators and facilities managers improve building performance by delivering operations and maintenance information on a variety of levels. This ranges from building components for major mechanical and electrical systems to detailed information on wall and floor finishes. Site 1001’s software uses core building information, live data from building systems and sensors and operations and maintenance records in combination with artificial intelligence. It creates a building profile that can be used to improve performance and identify potential problems before they occur.
Because most building operators are mobile, the system is designed to work with smartphones and tablets, as well as desktop computers. It can even retrieve building information based on where the operator is standing.
Site 1001 leverages information compiled during the design and construction phases of a building. The company says that its software helps building operators save money, improve building performance and extend building and asset life by delivering critical facilities information to the right person in the right place at the right time.
One of Site 1001’s key applications in the hospitality market is the software’s ability to collect and report information about almost any detail of a building’s operations. It allows for every occupant of the building to be a sensor. The system allows for all of its occupants, including customers, to report issues by e-mail or text.
In addition, Site 1001 can monitor a building’s water supply system and warn when it detects a leak or conditions favorable to bacterial, viral or parasitic agents.
Mode:Green & AspirEnergy
Also in attendance at HITEC was Mode:Green, a company focused on hospitality, specializing in technologies, including: HVAC, lighting, video surveillance systems, television, audio and voice on demand, motorized shading, Wi-Fi and networking, door locks, and more.
Similarly, AspirEnergy, an energy solutions company, was on hand to help commercial properties increase long-term value by reducing operating costs through sustainable solutions. AspirEnergy offers many services—ranging from lighting retrofits to energy management systems to assistance with renewable energy systems and energy procurement.
Panic Button Capability
Vocera Communications, Inc. introduced its discreet, wearable, and hands-free communication device called the Vocera Badge. It allows staff to communicate directly instantly inside or outside the hotel property. In an emergency, it is a panic button that is always with them. The Vocera Communication System can interface with existing telephony, property management, workflow tracking, and rapid-response software systems.
Air & Water Filtration Innovations
Coway USA, Inc. its Airmega and Aquamega air and water filtration systems. The Airmega includes a pollution sensor to show the air quality in real time. The brightly colored LED ring indicates if air is fresh or unhealthy, every minute of the day. Airmega also indicates when it is time to change the filter. In Smart Mode, Airmega adapts to its surroundings. Fan speeds automatically adjust based on the room’s air quality and even its lighting conditions. When the air quality in the room remains good for 10 minutes or more in Smart Mode, Airmega conserves energy by shutting down the fan.
The Aquamega 100 model is a portable countertop water purifier that reduces lead, aesthetic chlorine, chloramine, turbidity, VOCs, and more. It includes a sediment filter and carbon block filter. The Aquamega 100 provides instant heating and thermoelectric cooling of the water.
Two Different Sound Masking Systems
Two companies have recently introduced portable sound masking systems to the lodging industry—Nightingale Smart Solutions Inc. and K.R. Moeller Associates Ltd.—and both were at HITEC. The aim of each company is to help hotel guests fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. While doing that, hotels can benefit from fewer noise complaints, reduce reimbursement charges and beef up wellness programs.
The solution currently offered by Nightingale Smart Solutions is a plug-in system the size of an outlet plate. It replaces the outlet plate. Each unit has two micro speakers that fill the guestroom with comfortable sounds scientifically engineered to mask disrupting noises. Nightingale can be personalized to the room’s acoustics and sleeping conditions. Nightingale uses proprietary sound curves to blanket a hotel room in soothing ambient sound, called sound blankets, optimized for the room’s acoustics. The Nightingale comes with a nightlight that can provide many different colors. It also comes with an anti-theft locking plate. A key advantage of Nightingale for hotels is its ability to be controlled from the front desk or integrated into current AV and IT systems. It can also be controlled via an app on an in-room tablet or mobile device. It can also be accessed using a personal computer. Nightingale works on Wi-Fi with a frequency of 2.4 GHz.
K.R. Moeller Associates’ MODIO by LogiSon system is typically mounted to the back of any flat screen TV, furniture or the wall. Its goal is to raise the guestroom’s background sound level to cover or mask intruding noises. Using a knob, guests can control MODIO’s ambience the same way they control temperature and lighting. The sound is like soft airflow.
Closed Loop Shower System
Orbital Systems showed its closed loop shower system that uses Certified Space Technology to analyze water quality, recirculate and purify shower water. The Oas Shower is an award winning Scandinavian design that provides guests with a spa-like shower experience, while reducing water waste and energy use up to 90 percent and 80 percent respectively. Without compromising on comfort, the Oas uses roughly 2.6 gallons for the entire duration of the shower. The smart shower tracks usage data and savings and is available for new builds and retrofits.
Glenn Hasek can be reached at email@example.com.