Checking in to the network with Axis.
Hyatt Hotels revamps its security measures using IP cameras and accessories.
Needing to transition its 675-plus properties worldwide onto network video systems, Hyatt Hotels sought out a solution that could be replicated across its 12 unique hotel brands that vary in size and surveillance needs. The company needed a solution that remained discreet as to not distract from the welcoming environment at their properties but also one that could serve as protection to guests and hotel staff alike.
Joining forces with Axis and Milestone, Hyatt defined guidelines for each of its properties to enhance their video standards. Hyatt outlined a cohesive mix of fixed and panoramic cameras that could be brought onto a powerful video management system along with further technologies such as access control and audio equipment.
The instant results from a move to IP video were major boosts in video quality and flexibility in viewing footage from multiple access points. Hotels saw an immediate benefit with simplified distribution of video clips as necessary and ease of configuring cameras remotely. Hyatt has found the equipment to work at a high level consistently in all of the applications in which it has been involved.
We see great success with the Axis deployments at the Hyatt properties. While guest and staff safety and security will always be a primary concern, we envision expanding the use of camera imagery well beyond security. These systems will very likely become comprehensive Business Intelligence Platforms.
A premier worldwide operation
Hyatt Hotels, a global powerhouse in the hospitality industry for more than four decades, maintains over 675 properties globally across 12 unique brands. As markets grow for the company in its expansion internationally, the security team at Hyatt continues to build its groundwork for safety and security measures at each one of its roughly 300 units situated in North America.
Ranging from economical options like Hyatt Place to luxurious quarters at Hyatt Regency and Park Hyatt, the Hyatt brands diversify not only by cost but also by hotel size and amenities. Such variance has led the Hyatt corporate office to establish its foundations in video surveillance and bridging all of its properties onto network systems.
Checking in to the network
Though each of its properties ultimately controls the purchasing of security infrastructure, Hyatt has defined and continues to develop parameters and guidelines for its hotels to follow. When its migration to IP systems began a couple years back, the program upheld limited enforcement as hotels began to upgrade their technology. Now, with Milestone defined as its mandatory VMS and Axis solidified as its preferred camera manufacturer, there is a speedy growth phase across the board with more than 30,000 video channels registered and counting.
Providing webinars to its regional engineers as systems began unfolding in place, Hyatt saw all of the benefits coming true with network video. “The ability to route feeds and manage observation from a centralized system is greatly advanced with IP video,” noted Wade Pinnell, Contracted Implementation Manager for Virtual Software Equipment & Consulting. Training security personnel in less than a day on the basics of the new system layout and employing AXIS Camera Management to remotely assist in configuring the cameras and network settings gave security teams a positive first experience.
The first phase to shift its properties onto the network began with a core conversion, utilizing Axis video encoders to quickly bring existing analog systems up to speed. Single day installations first with AXIS P7216 Video Encoders easily transitioned 16-channel DVRs into the IP world. In one instance with Hyatt’s casino entity, AXIS Q7436 Video Encoder Blades were mounted on AXIS Q7920 Video Encoder Chassis to drive over 80 channels of video through one device.
Moving to network video has allowed security staffs to streamline their processes by collaborating on more efficient control rooms and accessing mobile video. Beyond the known security needs, the accessibility provides a wealth of further advantages. Managers can view camera feeds overseeing their reception areas, for example, useful for managing wait times and determining ways to raise the quality of guest relations. Engineers can take advantage of footage from different angles of the property, like parking structures to check on maintenance issues and traffic concerns.
Reviewing the bill
Depending on facility layout, location, size and an array of other factors, there is no immutable bill of materials or system design that is implemented across Hyatt’s hundreds of properties. Instead, Hyatt sees a sizable fluctuation in equipment needs across its brands. Many of the Hyatt Place locations, for instance, boosted their camera counts to about 12 with the shift to IP. On the other end of the spectrum, certain Hyatt Regency locations have seen the benefit of up to 1,250 cameras.
For wider views amid outdoor spaces, Hyatt maintains a blend of AXIS M3027-PVE and M3037-PVE Network Cameras for panoramic views. Digital PTZ is also utilized with these 360-degree views due to the 5-megapixel resolution. Hyatt relies on Axis fixed dome network cameras at most of its locations, as Pinnell described, “Their form factor is more pleasing, less susceptible to vandalism and not obvious at a glance as to where the sensor is directed at.” P33 Network Camera Series selections are a common pick while AXIS P32 Network Camera Series models are regularly chosen at economy-based brands.
Both of those lines allow Hyatt to remain focused on one HDTV-quality fixed camera selection that offers both an indoor and outdoor version. Typically, these cameras are deployed at key target locations including registration and lobby areas, employee entrances, laundry facilities and elevator landings. “We recognize the efficiency of the panoramic cameras,” Pinnell explained. “There is pretty good clarity six to eight feet out, but more importantly they provide good situational awareness. We cans observe any parking problems and also identify if people are in places where they don’t belong.”
Lastly, doorways and dock entrance points can provide harsh lighting situations with a blend of outdoor sunlight and lower brightness indoors. For these situations, Hyatt picked out the AXIS Q35 Network Camera Series, with indoor and outdoor-ready models, and AXIS P3225-LVE MkII Network Cameras for their strong WDR - Forensive Capture capabilities to portray both sides of a scene with mixed lighting. With the system diversity, Hyatt locations are able to specify the version of Milestone’s platform that best fits their needs. Small properties may be satisfied with the features of Milestone XProtect® Express while larger hotels lean on Milestone XProtect® Corporate for broader distributed operations.
Taking advantage of the amenities
Hyatt has found a positive trend when it comes to the multipurpose use of the camera systems, as multiple departments have come forward when they see the potential benefits of accessing the camera feeds. Security directors and engineers are first to use the platform but other department heads will now look at their specific areas to oversee operations. Food and beverage leaders monitor the restaurants and bars, for example. This has led to a strong realization of business value behind these systems beyond basic necessary security.
With the capability of adding analytics into the mix, marketing personnel can glean value from the use of heat mapping and traffic pattern analysis in lobbies to determine where they need to invest further. Management can use tools such as people counting to determine check-in and check-out wait times for quality assurance and to help build on guest experience.
“Analytics are the future with these systems. We’ll see in the future that analytics will exceed the regular functionality of the cameras. They will add excitement and revolutionize the process and budgeting structure for implementing these cameras. They are becoming so much more than cameras; we already see IT working with security teams now, soon it will be many other departments who will want access to data and analysis that the cameras will be able to provide.”
Going beyond the camera
In several of its designs, Hyatt takes advantage of deeper offerings from the Axis network product line to expand their total solutions to include access control and audio capabilities. For traditional access control, AXIS A1001 Network Door Controllers are mounted in back-of-house operations and integrated directly into the Milestone interface.
In many renderings, Hyatt specifies intercom systems using AXIS A8004-VE Network Video Door Stations at employee entrances and front doors, especially those of smaller hotels with less staff at night when doors may be locked. On the audio side, many properties have a potential need for projecting messages through its parking structures and outdoor premises. Hyatt is engaging with AXIS C3003-E Network Horn Speakers to slot into these situations and provide a simple tool that projects powerfully as needed.
Strength in a partnership
Transitioning from analog to network video has brought Hyatt numerous advancements, such as clearer images and a simplified distribution system to share video among its teams on a local, regional and global scale. A strong commitment from Axis on the engineering side and a powerful management platform from Milestone have left Pinnell and the Hyatt team with an ideal combination of products that blend seamlessly.
“Looking at form factor,” Pinnell elaborated, “the cameras are easy to install. We have no mounting issues. The intangibles in that process are difficult to represent but they don’t go unnoticed. It is a well-engineered product. And the open platform of Milestone is the reason we picked it – it allows us to gain the most value from the investment and look actively at using the cameras for more than just security.”
Making future reservations
Moving ahead, Hyatt continues to advance their standing in the use of network products with a focus on tying video and further technologies together throughout their properties.
“Integration with all sub-systems is at the forefront of what we’ll look at in the future,” Pinnell concluded. “Analytics will exceed the general functionality of the cameras in the next 10 years, for one. Access control is already in the works but we want to make it widespread with more of the buildings and systems. Possibly the lighting and security systems working together; even linking with HVAC systems. Then we can expand our reach into analytics and cloud storage. There is a lot of potential from a lot of different angles.”