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Technology has certainly become an intrinsic part of our day-to-day lives, from the retail industry, to food and beverage outlets, and even within the health and fitness industry. It’s all around us, in varying formats, making processes more efficient. It has refined some of our older approaches, and in the hospitality industry, this is certainly true. Technological advances are leading the way forward for the future of hotels, and with the sector now free from COVID-19 restrictions, venues are looking for ways to improve the guest experience with technology. A staggering recent statistic has suggested that 75 percent of activities in hospitality could one day become automated — so where exactly are we heading on this journey into the future of hotels? Join Cairn Collection, owner of The Stirling Highland, and explore a whole host of innovations that are changing the face of hotel management systems. The 21st-century check-in desk The breadth of technology that is slowly becoming more widely available is transforming the hospitality industry The digital age is constantly finding new ways to innovate and prove its value and worth for modern consumers, and the breadth of technology that is slowly becoming more widely available is transforming the hospitality industry. In the past, connotations of a check-in desk were long queues and excessive pieces of paper — from room service menus to a mini catalogue of highlights of the local area. Technological innovations such as face recognition are one of the major ways that this process is changing. Using artificial intelligence A handful of hotels have already trialled or introduced artificial intelligence (AI) into their daily running, and it looks set to become far more mainstream by 2025. From paying the bill by using biometrics to allowing hotel managers to handle data more efficiently, AI looks set to be welcomed with the potential for it to reduce costs by 13 percent. The entire hotel check-in process could become automated, making one of the most established parts of the hotel experience redundant — but staff could be freed up to engage with customers, allowing them to get into their rooms quicker in the meantime. Many venues have even gone fully paperless when it comes to checking in, choosing instead to upload the process to cloud computing systems where information can be stored and viewed by connected devices. Convenience is the key More hotels operate their room unlocking facilities through mobile phone-connected technology, NFC After having checked in to a hotel, guests will want to explore the room that they’ve booked. Doing so has never been easier, and the classic magstripe locks which were once the most commonly used method of accessing hotel rooms are being progressively phased out. More and more hotels now operate their room unlocking facilities through mobile phone-connected technology, near-field communication (NFC). This technology allows for data transfer at up to 424 kb per second, and it is enabled when connected devices come into contact with each other. Mobile key systems Most mobile key systems require guests to download and activate a key through the hotel’s digital app, and upon arrival, they can use the activated key to unlock the door to their hotel room. Combined with online/digital check-in services, guests can use the e-key to check in early or at a time that suits them best, knowing that they don’t have to wait around to pick up a physical key. Small touches like this build a sense of brand familiarity for customers, as well as streamline their hotel experience, and this distinguishes them from competitors. Hotel management systems Hotel management systems need to account for the experience that guests have while staying at the venue Of course, hotel management systems also need to account for the experience that guests have while staying at the venue and technology can do a lot to enhance this. Hotels have to innovate the spaces that they are presenting to their customers and technology has become a valuable asset to help enhance customer satisfaction, as the hotel room is certainly not simply a place for rest anymore. Voice-enabled devices Voice-enabled devices are becoming common features in rooms, with popular models such as Google Assistant, Apple’s Siri, and Amazon Echo providing guests with information on the local area — if you’re looking for the perfect backdrop to the business dinner you’re attending, just ask Alexa! Hotels could even record and distribute their personalised voice messaging to help reinforce the brand presence into the technology. Technology can help you attract and retain customers by offering services above and beyond what they’d usually receive A room and then some As the generational switch to millennials and Gen Z continues, the need for an experience has grown and, through a mixture of technology, hotels can cater to these revised consumer needs. From setting up messaging platforms to providing a remote control that monitors absolutely everything in the room — from atmospheric mood lighting to music streaming services and more, a hotel room can be whatever the user wants, and the experience is therefore generated by the customer. Technology doesn’t stop advancing, and there are constantly new, refined approaches to hotel management systems that have marked a stark departure from ways of the past. With guests returning after over a year of COVID-19 restrictions, competition for their business is even tougher. Technology can help you attract and retain customers by offering services above and beyond what they’d usually receive.
More and more business security practices are going digital. Mechanical keys are still the backbone of most corporate security plans, and it can be very expensive for companies to switch to electronic access control on a large scale. Therefore, enterprises need to choose the most suitable access control system. What is key management? Key management is the process of protecting, tracking, and scheduling mechanical keys. Why is this important? Because the key carries access to sensitive locations and assets within the organisation, when you increase the security of the key, you can enhance the security of these valuable resources. The key management system also controls the cost of using physical keys. The system reduces the overhead caused by key loss or security breaches. Some smaller companies may be able to adopt a paper-and-pencil key management protocol. Larger companies, or those who want to better understand and control keys, usually choose to use an electronic key management system. Key management systems can store and assign keys securely and increase the efficiency of organisation Why use a key management system? The key management system can become the cornerstone of your key control process. At the most basic level, key management systems can accomplish two things that paper and pen systems cannot: they store and assign keys securely, and they increase the efficiency of your organisation's use of keys through automation and analysis. What can key management systems do? 1) Improve access control By better protecting the keys, you can improve the access control to the spaces and devices unlocked by these keys. You can use your key management to simplify the process of providing temporary employees with one-time-key access. In addition, the system can record all their key access records, so that everyone's behavior can be traced. 2) Enhanced accountability traceability The software is a good key management system that can generate reports on key usage, user access requests, access exceptions, and loss. In addition, you can track and audit key usage in real-time. Combined with a comprehensive key control strategy, you will implement better accountability for key use to meet any industry or risk management compliance standards. 3) Reduce costs and prevent losses When an employee loses a key, you will incur direct costs for a replacement key or relocking it when it is lost When an employee loses a key, you will incur direct costs, including purchasing a replacement key or relocking it when it is lost. However, the indirect cost of key loss is usually more significant. This is because employees first spend time looking for the lost key and then process the replacement request, all of which time is not spent on production work. 4) Improve workflow As we discussed, keys are often used in important workflows. The key management system allows you to better control these workflows. A passive electronic lock system, also known as a key-centric access control system, has outstanding advantages in key management. Compared with the electronic access control system, the passive electronic lock system's "passive" characteristics have reduced the update cost for many enterprises.
If you’re a security or facilities manager, you may already be aware of the quiet revolution that’s taking place across businesses and organisations up and down the country. By the end of 2020, 20% of all ID and access control systems featured mobile capability, and this is set to increase by a further 34% over the next three years. There’s no doubt that using a smartphone or mobile device in place of traditional credential and access control is a growing trend that’s only been sped up by the pandemic. It’s true that many businesses are still very much focused on remote working, although many are now starting to implement new-and-improved strategies that are better suited to protect the workforce moving forward. Mobile ID systems As the next normal becomes clearer, businesses will be reviewing procedures such as access control, occupancy monitoring, reducing touch points and tracking visitors. Mobile ID systems are ideally suited to this task. But what are the key reasons for considering such a setup in 2021? But why is this new technology so well-suited to future-proof your physical access system, and why is it becoming so popular? Eradicating outdated legacy credentials Have you seen just how vulnerable outdated Proximity card technology can be? Low-frequency 125kHz cards can be cloned in a matter of seconds with the use of cheap, readily available tools. Despite their weaknesses, they are still used by a huge majority of businesses – big and small. All smartphones include two industry-standard features that make them perfect for operating a secure, contactless credential Replacing such a system with a mobile-enabled system is one of the best ways to increase security ten-fold. Thanks to a cloud-based infrastructure, mobile ID offers best-in-class security and cryptography. All smartphones include two industry-standard features that make them perfect for operating a secure, contactless credential. Bluetooth Smart and NFC (Near Field Communication) make them the best product to operate such a credential via a secure app. If you’re looking for best-in-class security in 2021, mobile access is most definitely the way forward. Removing touch points across the business Reducing touch points and the adoption of touchless facilities has become a key priority for businesses in the wake of COVID-19. Even as businesses start to return to the office and operate a home/office split, it will be imperative that unnecessary contact is kept to an absolute minimum between staff. The traditional issuance of identification and access control credentials can pose problems in this regard. Facility and security managers who are responsible for onboarding and processing ID have done the process face to face. Mobile access makes it possible to carry this process out without people coming into direct content. First, the security manager has access to a secure portal, allowing them to create, manage and edit credentials anywhere. They can upload and remotely transfer mobile ID and access control credentials directly to users’ smartphones over the air. Via the secure app, users can view and see their credentials and immediately begin using it for ID and access control by simply placing their smartphone over card readers. Enabling a more flexible way of working The way in which we work has changed for good. Even as people more people return to the office in 2021, a majority of businesses will be operating a home/office split indefinitely. This once again reinforces the need for a smarter, more adaptable onboarding system. Implementing mobile ID is the perfect way of doing this: over-the-air delivery of credentials and security data is now a given, helping businesses create the perfect balance between the home and the office. No longer do people have to come into the office for the onboarding process. Increasing convenience and user experience More often businesses are realising the value mobile ID can have for enhancing the work experience as well as security Ok, so mobile ID is the perfect way of increasing security and adapting workplaces to a post-COVID way of working. And we’ve not even touched on the most obvious advantage yet: Convenience. How many times have you forgotten your ID card? We’re sure it’s more times than you forget your smartphone. These powerful processors have become intertwined with the way we carry out tasks on a daily basis. They’re so vital that people will soon notice if they’ve forgotten it. From an employee’s perspective, mobile ID and access control is simple, convenient and extremely user-friendly. More and more businesses are realising the value mobile ID can have for enhancing the work experience as well as security. From the employer’s perspective, mobile ID means it’s easier for administrators to manage access and credentials. Future-proofing access control now will ensure that in the longer term, mobile ID is well worth the investment. The annual expenditure of printing ID cards and purchasing credentials can be vast, while reissuance costs can also quickly add up for larger organisations. These issues are a thing of the past for businesses using mobile ID. Mobile ID perfect tool for 2021 and beyond Until mobile ID, new and improved credentials’ main focus was on increasing security. Mobile ID not only delivers that, but it also provides a more convenient way of accessing the office in a way that’s perfectly suited to returning to the office in 2021. If there was ever a time to upgrade, now is the time. Summing up, mobile access is changing the way we access the office by: Eliminating weak links in security systems such as outdated legacy card technologies Eradicating the need for touch points across multiple areas of the workplace Enabling a smarter, more flexible approach to onboarding Increasing convenience – for both employers and employees.
Aiphone, an international manufacturer of intercom and security communication products, is announcing a touchless sensor that allows a way for visitors, vendors, and employees to initiate a contactless call with a simple gesture. Gesture activated calling Compatible with the IX Series door stations for easy installation, the sensor encourages users to “Wave Hello” to activate a call, reducing exposure to germs and the spread of bacteria in high-touch areas. This touchless solution can be easily included anywhere an IX Series door station is installed, offering a reliable method to call inside the facility to the master station without contacting the exterior intercom. Beneficial for high-volume environments This solution is valuable in high-volume environments: Educational facilities and daycare centers Condos, and other multi-tenant residential facilities Office buildings and high-rises Clinics, hospitals, and pharmacies Parking lots and garages Security communication Where security communication is required and lowering the spread of bacteria is critical, visitors or staff can request access by calling with a simple wave of the hand. From here, calls can be screened with crisp audio and clear video. This solution can also be used to greet employees who’ve lost their access control card or to facilitate contactless deliveries. Additionally, the sensor’s detection zone helps avoid unwanted activations from external sources, such as wind or outdoor debris. Its low-profile design and aesthetic look can complement any building exterior.
Ways to manage visitors and improve communications, while keeping doors to the Congregation Beth Jacob’s sanctuary and school locked. Aiphone IS Series video intercom Aiphone IS Series video intercom mounted just outside the main entry allows visitors to buzz one of four master stations. “Emergency communications and procedures are now embedded in our daily operations,” said Greg Sterling, Past President of the Congregation Beth Jacob. Enhancing safety against active shooters In recent years, houses of worship have become an all‑too‑common target for active shooters, burglars and vandals The Congregation Beth Jacob provides a house of worship, pre-school and attached K-7 religious school for the Redwood City, California’s Jewish community, in the heart of the famed Silicon Valley. In recent years, houses of worship have become an all‑too‑common target for active shooters, burglars, vandals and a host of other criminals. Founded in 1930, Congregation Beth Jacob has a rich history as the first Jewish institution built between San Francisco and San Jose. Since an earlier sanctuary was destroyed by a suspected arsonist in 1979, Congregation Beth Jacob has taken security of its members, students and employees very seriously and regularly updates its systems and procedures. Managing visitors and improving communications Congregation Beth Jacob’s security integrator, Oakland-based HighCom Security Services, was asked for ways to manage visitors and improve communications, while keeping doors to the sanctuary and school locked throughout the day. Requirements for the Congregation Beth Jacob included: Sanctuary employees had to be able to remotely see and speak with visitors before opening an exterior door. Employees needed to be able to easily communicate between the 12 classrooms and offices in the sanctuary and school. The solution had to be easy for employees, congregation members and visitors to use. “Emergency communications and procedures are now embedded in our daily operations,” said Greg Sterling, Past President of Congregation Beth Jacob. Fences and gates installed Fences and gates now guide visitors from the street to a rear parking lot and a double-door entry to the main facility. This and all other exterior doors are kept locked. An Aiphone IS Series video intercom is mounted just outside the main entry, allowing visitors to buzz one of the four master stations located on the desks of the Executive Director and Receptionists and in the common areas of the main and school offices. Colour LCD monitors on the IS Series master stations allow office staff to see and speak with visitors, before remotely unlocking the door. Keypads at the door let employees open the door by entering a code. Wall-mount audio intercoms Aiphone speakers and horns were added to share emergency messages in the school play area Wall-mount audio intercoms have been provided in each classroom. Teachers can communicate hands-free with the main or school offices, and other classrooms. They can also choose to use the intercom’s handset for more private conversations. Before the intercoms were installed, teachers had to leave the classroom and walk to the office for help. Aiphone speakers and horns were added to share emergency messages in the school play area, two patios, front entry, sanctuary, social hall and main dining room. Surveillance cameras installed Surveillance cameras set to view the parking lot, school entry and the street fronting Congregation Beth Jacob. Sanctuary staff can view live video from monitors in the facility’s main and school offices. Panic buttons were installed in each classroom, the social hall and kitchen. Pushing a button generates a code phrase intended to start an immediate facility lockdown without overly frightening the students.
The challenge was to provide a means for monorail attendants to see customers when speaking with them while simultaneously being able to communicate from the Shonan Enoshima station to the Ofuna station. The solution that recommended was to install the IX Series Peer‑to‑Peer IP Video Intercom to see customers clearly on a 7” touchscreen and reach other attendants with station‑to‑station communication. “We would like to create an environment where our customers feel safe,” says Mr. Nishino Transportation Dept. Subsection Chief, Shonan Monorail Co., Ltd. The situation Shonan Monorail opened in March of 1970 and sees more than 10 million passengers annually. The line features a pioneering suspended monorail, which connects Shonan Enoshima, a major tourist destination, to Ofuna in about 14 minutes. As a community-based transportation infrastructure, it improves convenience for residents in the area and expands tourism demand. The intercom used by customers to request assistance at unattended stations was audio‑only. If the situation had required the station attendant to view a customer, they had to go to a different location where they could see the surveillance camera. This was an inconvenience for both the staff and the customer. To communicate between the Shonan Enoshima station and the ticket office at the Ofuna station, attendants had to leave the ticket booth and use the telephone in the control centre, further hindering ticket booth operations The challenge Intercom used by customers to request assistance at unattended stations was audio-only The intercom used by customers to request assistance at unattended stations was audio-only. If the situation had required the station attendant to view a customer, they had to go to a different location where they could see the surveillance camera. This was an inconvenience for both the staff and the customer. To communicate between the Shonan Enoshima station and the ticket office at the Ofuna station, attendants had to leave the ticket booth and use the telephone in the control centre, further hindering ticket booth operations. The solution Integration of the IX Series offers audio and video communication, making it easy for employees to verify customers quickly, without leaving their booth. With the ability to call directly between IX Series video masters stations, staff at the Ofuna station can see and speak to fellow employees at the Shonan Enoshima station without leaving their ticket office. Installed Equipment: 3 IX-MV7-HB video master stations 11 IX-EA video door stations 11 third-party network cameras Remote monitoring It is essential to have an IP intercom in the railway industry, where remote support is required for customers using unattended stations. Shonan Monorail is a pioneering suspended monorail that operates two attended stations and six unattended stations. In recent years, it has not only improved customer convenience by introducing a prepaid transportation card but is actively working on social contributions, such as supporting Breast Cancer Awareness through events and car wrapping. In order to respond to customers using unattended stations, IP video intercoms have been used. Compared to conventional intercoms, IP intercoms are less susceptible to restrictions such as wiring distance, making IP intercoms popular in the railway industry, where unattended stations are increasing. Customer-centric solution For Shonan Monorail, which manages all unattended stations at the Ofuna station, the IP video intercom is an indispensable function for supporting customers in a remote location. Before upgrading the IX Series, the only way to check on customers using video was to check the display of a surveillance camera in a separate place. Station employees suggested upgrading to an IP intercom with video so that verifying customers and railway surroundings was more convenient. The IX Series centralised audio and video communications made it more convenient to assist customers and upgraded the current intercom system by using existing equipment. The IX Series provides an IP video intercom system that allows station employees to verify customers, by displaying the customer’s face and surroundings through the network camera. Easy to Use With the ability to use existing infrastructure and PoE switches, the IX Series helped reduce both installation times and cost An IX Series door station with a camera is installed at each unattended station, and inquiries from customers are handled by the IP video intercom at the Ofuna station. The attendant can talk while checking the video that captures the customer’s situation at hand. If the attendant is away from the ticket office, they can use the call transfer feature to connect customers to a station that has a staff member available. Since Shonan Monorail had been using IP audio intercoms for a long time, they were able to upgrade to the IX Series while using existing equipment, such as fibre optical cables and PoE switches, reducing the overall installation cost. Each IP intercom station is PoE and can be wired without a separate power supply. In addition, the connected network cameras share the IP network. With the introduction of the IX Series, one station employee said, “It’s easy to understand the customer’s situation and our work has become easier.” Aiphone’s IX Series contributes to improving convenience for both customers and station employees. Aiphone’s IX Series provides Shonan Monorail attendant’s clear, remote communication to assist customers. It also has the ability to: See anyone who calls with an inquiry Call with two-way video from the Shonan Enoshima station to the Ofuna station Expand the system to virtually any size, while saving on resources Add mobile apps for attendants who need to monitor stations while away The feedback Mr. Nishino and Mr. Yamabe help lead the transportation department at Shonan Monorail Co., Ltd. Their personal insight goes into great depth on how the IX Series Peer‑to‑Peer IP Video Intercom added both security AND convenience in day-to-day operations. Q: What are the immediate benefits of the IX Series after installation? A: Not only can customer identities be confirmed by the video, but attendants can verify commuter passes via the camera. The IX Series offers more features and capabilities, leading to improved response quality. A proven track record Mr. Nishino: There were comments from station employees that they wanted to see and respond to customers visiting unattended stations. We recognised there was a need to upgrade to a system that had audio and video capabilities. Regarding the selection of Aiphone’s IX Series, there were installation records from other railways that had unattended stations, and we felt confident that the product would solve this challenge. Another reason for this selection was that the IX Series was already being used by our group company. Mr. Yamabe: The ticket booth at the Ofuna station is always busy, as it’s handled by one attendant. In addition, inquiries from the six unattended stations need to be handled too. Customers frequently call in from unattended stations, and their requests vary. They range from emergency reports to transportation cards not working properly, making the IX Series a convenient necessity for station employees. Provides a wider range of support Aiphone’s IX Series offers audio and video using only a master station, making it easy to verify and respond to customers Mr. Yamabe: "The IP intercom used previously only offered an audio function, so when we would need to check video surveillance of customers, it would take time away from our other duties. Aiphone’s IX Series offers audio and video using only a master station, making it easy to verify and respond to customers." "If customers have forgotten to touch the IC commuter pass at the time of entry, an employee can verify the pass by having the customer show the ID on camera. This makes it simple to check all the detailed information through the camera of the IX Series door station, like which station the pass originated. The camera offers a clear image that shows the customer’s surroundings and it’s easy to use. Onetouch enlarges the bird’s-eye view of the camera and assists in the operation of the prepaid transportation card machine while monitoring the customer." Extension call feature Mr. Yamabe: "Apart from customer service, the “extension call feature” can be used to communicate with the Shonan Enoshima station. The monitoring center next to the ticket office is equipped with extension call equipment, but it’s more convenient to make the extension call with the IX Series master station when employees are busy at the ticket office and unable to leave. When customers come to the ticket office, the call can be disconnected and we can immediately assist the customer, so they won’t have to wait." Mr. Nishino: "We would like to create an environment where our customers feel safe. We would like Aiphone to continue enhancing the functions of the IX Series, like offering a two-way camera that would allow customers to talk and see the station employee at the same time they are communicating."
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