The South African hospitality industry must meet international expectations (05/02/10)
While the world waits on tenterhooks for 2010 World Cup kick-off, the South African hotel, hospitality and tourism industry is accelerating its efforts to meet the needs of the guests who will shortly be winging their way here from all corners of the world. These visitors will expect the same levels of hospitality and the same features and benefits that are available internationally.
They will certainly expect hotels and resorts to adhere to green principles, a move that for some time now has been rapidly gathering momentum the world over. For this, intelligent automation is necessary.
“Intelligent automation is an essential element for hotels, resorts and hospitality concerns to be in line with the global emphasis on green issues, as it enables them to analyze and manage their energy consumption, and in so doing reduce their energy use,” says Bradley Hemphill, Managing Director of Electrical Engineering Solutions (EES), a leader in project managing the provision of Information Technology (IT) solutions to the built environment.
“It is the hotels and hospitality businesses which understand and have implemented intelligent automation, making them intelligent infrastructures, which will be the leaders in meeting the expectations of the international market come June.”
In order to optimize energy efficiency, energy use needs to be analyzed and reliable data is needed for this analysis. “To obtain reliable data it is necessary for a good quality meter to be installed on the hotel’s incoming load and at least some of its core distribution loads. Analysis is then done, the outcome of which is intelligent automation, which links all the energy source systems together to reduce energy consumption.”
Energy needed for the day-to-day running and services of a hotel or hospitality concern, such as air conditioning, hot water, room lighting, television and video etc, is mostly derived from cooling systems, boilers and directly from electricity distribution.
Hemphill explains that when it comes to cooling, the key card contactor is not necessarily the answer. Alternative, more sophisticated intelligent automation solutions which really remove the human factor, reduce energy consumption and help hotels to go green, are now available and should be considered.
Boilers too can be effectively automated by means of a backend occupancy data base, which ensures that the number of boilers that are switched on is always in line with the number of guests staying at the hotel.
With regard to lighting, energy reduction in common areas should be addressed first, and automated so that lights come on only when there are people in the particular common area. Back of house is another opportunity for energy efficiency.
To address energy efficiency in multimedia systems, technology, such as High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI), should be used. This allows the operator to switch devices on and off either remotely or manually. It also enables remote control of multiple devices making it easy to switch off all devices with one button.
Hemphill however raises the concern that there are currently still some obstacles to achieving intelligent automation in the hotel and hospitality industry.
“Not all stakeholders are being engaged, resulting in a silo approach, in which the major players are not talking to each other and often have conflicting business drivers. The result is a difficult and sometimes impossible task of achieving meaningful integration.” Hemphill stresses that experts should co-operate and make use of their own particular strengths to deliver a complete solution.
Another obstacle, for example, is that Building Automation Systems (BAS) and IT do not always understand each other. They have a different approach to issues and the industries need to work together and encourage ongoing communication between the stakeholders.
Hemphill reiterates that hotels and hospitality businesses which see the benefits of modern technology and put it into practice, will be those that meet the expectations of visitors come the June influx. “It will be those businesses which have implemented intelligent automation, that will meet their green obligations as well as the expectations of the international market, and will be in line with players throughout the hotel and hospitality industries the world over.”
New intelligent building procurement model in SA financial services sector (01/03/13)
Corporate South Africa is seeing a move to a new engagement/procurement model around the role of IT and facilities in real estate developments, according to Bradley Hemphill, Director of EES, an ISO 9000 professional engineering and management company.
“Our work with the financial services sector in particular indicates that provision for intelligent infrastructure is increasingly being made right from the word go during the design phases of the new headquarters of some of South Africa’s leading financial institutions,” says Hemphill.
Data traffic optimization and the Sandton business hub (22/04/13)
Rapid infrastructural development and expansion in the Sandton Central Business District (CBD) has resulted in a crucial need to enhance data accessibility. Just as the Gautrain has brought thousands of commuters to the Sandton CBD daily, so a sophisticated telecommunication network is required to provide faster connectivity speeds. Integral to achieving this is the optimisation of data traffic across the wide area network within the business hub.