“We wanted a global standard – a security system we could eventually deploy in all Hyatt properties. We also wanted something that could adapt to a diverse, rapidly expanding enterprise. Milestone VMS made the most sense on both fronts,” said Mark Sanna, Corporate Vice President and Head of Global Security, Hyatt Hotels.
"I travelled around the world and there was no rhyme or reason to the number of cameras our properties had. Even more disconcerting was the fact that at least a few cameras were usually out of operation at each property, some for a considerable period of time, and if the one person tasked with security monitoring was not around, there often was no one else who knew the system – user training was a big issue," says Sanna.
A major turning point was an international terrorism act at a Marriott hotel in 2009. The event alerted Hyatt to the fact that video storage for Hyatt properties was exclusively onsite.
“The first thing police did was they came in, captured all the video imagery and confiscated it,” Sanna says. “The police began releasing video clips in the public domain in an effort to explain to the citizens what had happened. So we knew we needed to start thinking about remote storage and the ability to get access to video if an incident occurred.”
A standard solution worldwide
Sanna felt it was important for Hyatt to have a standardised security platform across its brands. He wanted one that would allow for integrated security and risk management, centralised support and training, and remote storage and incidence management.
In December 2012 Sanna commissioned Hyatt’s global security standards project. He reached out to Wade Pinnell, owner of Virtual Software Equipment & Consulting (VSEC) Services, to assist in choosing Hyatt’s new platform and implementing the rollout.
Pinnell says Hyatt presented
In addition to Milestone VMS, Hyatt chose Axis Communications as its preferred camera provider, Anixter as the preferred distributor and HP/BCDVideo as the preferred server.
Pinnell says Hyatt presented unique challenges because it manages, rather than owns, the majority of its properties, which means working out agreements on security deployments with other stakeholders. “This is going to be a long and complex process because each Hyatt property is unique. But what’s great is that at the core, tying everything together, is the Milestone VMS.”
Expanding hotel locations
Hyatt Hotels includes 10 distinct brands and more than 600 properties worldwide, with almost $4.5 billion in revenue in 2014. In that year alone, Hyatt experienced rapid growth by adding nearly 100 properties.
Hyatt offers a number of sub-brands to address the needs of a broad customer base, from business travellers to family vacationers to others looking for a high-end hotel experience. Hyatt’s newest brand, Hyatt Centric, launched in April 2015 to serve guests as a “super concierge”, offering recommendations on things like wine tastings and beach activities that place visitors right in the centre of the action.
Open platform architecture
Pinnell says that one of his first requirements was that the platform be built on open architecture. “When we started looking into Milestone and other competitors, we found Milestone easier to use and a lot more open. If you dig deep into the software’s architecture, there is a pretty big difference there.”
Hyatt’s security system is
Sanna says that Hyatt’s security system is also integrated into specialised city security systems in the US, like Project Shield in Chicago. Hyatt is already a partner with municipal police departments in cities like London, Chicago and San Diego for the purposes of sharing video to assist in the protection of public venues.
As VSEC Services and Hyatt were deciding on a VMS several years ago, Milestone released two product features that proved very timely: The Customer Dashboard and Milestone Interconnect.
The Customer Dashboard lets us monitor our installations in real time. We can see that all our sites are up and working, and if something does happen in that process, we get an alert so we can immediately respond to the problem. – Wade Pinnell, VSEC Services
In addition to the stand-alone systems at each property, Hyatt uses Milestone Interconnect, which allows Pinnell to monitor all the Milestone deployments from one central location. This gives Hyatt the tools and options to prevent situations like those seen in Jakarta. Milestone Interconnect also gives Pinnell a one-button click access into the VMS installed at a property level. He can log in, add and modify users and passwords, and do remote configuration – all from his office in Michigan.
“Hyatt has over 600 properties, so we had to have that ability to know when things were working and when they weren’t on a case-by-case basis,” Pinnell says. “We wanted a tool that would allow us to manage the health and functionality of our servers and to make sure that the standards we wrote were being deployed properly. Milestone Interconnect was a perfect fit for these needs.”