Sleep Well And Safe: Hotel Security Solutions 2020
A Special Focus in our December Issue
Being in principle a place with unhindered access for the general public, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) applies to the hostelry environment in Europe to its fullest extent. This means that, while cameras are of course allowed to watch over activity in and around the public areas of the building, the data that they produce must be recorded and protected against theft, misuse and unauthorized access. And if the data goes off site, it must be encrypted before transmission.
AV Costar (formerly known as Arecont Vision) have four IP camera ranges with ONVIF compliant models specially designed for specific locations and applications, most of which can be found in and around hotels. Their product range also includes the corresponding video management software and recorder/servers. For hotel chains with multiple properties that want to centralize their video security operations, Eagle Eye Networks provide remotely operated systems with secure video encryption and a powerful management interface.
The day/night cameras that generate today’s HD images come in all shapes and sizes, matched to the environment in which they will be operating. Axis Communications range includes many different internal and external camera types, including infra-red cameras that still deliver important details under difficult lighting conditions, for example around goods entrances or car parks. Cameras are also becoming ever more clever in themselves, with onboard functionality ‘at the edge’ that was once only found in the central equipment. Mobotix include video analysis functions directly into the firmware of their discreet cameras in the form of specialized apps. This decentralized approach saves bandwidth on the data transport network but has effectively the same functionality as ‘traditional’ systems. Recordings can be investigated after the event or even live using the clear video streams.
Digital video recorders have long become part of a hotel’s IT systems through ever closer integration and must be considered as vulnerable to external attack as any computer in the system. The products from Intransa can provide a powerful and legally watertight solution here for the potentially very large amount of critical data to be stored and correctly maintained.
Entrances and Access Control
Let’s be realistic: if you were asked to make a building secure, would you leave the front door open and mostly unattended twenty-four hours a day? It gets worse: would you then also give people keys to rooms where they can lock themselves in and others out? And have dozens of completely unknown people walking in to hold their meetings behind closed doors? Maybe they parked their car in your underground garage too… These and other (let’s call them) ‘weak spots’ are the daily concerns of the hotel security team, so a comprehensive strategy to cover ‘normal’ operation, as well as every conceivable problem, is essential. We’re talking here about planned and opportunist theft, vandalism, unruly behavior such as drunkenness or drug-induced actions, personal attacks, and the worst-case scenario of terrorism.
So while the main door to the street is unlocked, other ways in and out of the hotel must be secured and monitored. While the video solutions mentioned above take care of the monitoring, the locking and status checking can be done, among others, by electronic locks from SimonsVoss. Their electronic cylinders offer a range of door status monitoring and logging functions not available from mechanical locks. Installation is quick and easy and the door furniture looks attractive too. Whether you already have legacy electronic lock systems or not, Genetec’s Synergis Security Center provides you with an efficient management tool to administer both their own and third-party access control systems, no matter how complex. It aggregates diverse systems to provide one convenient operator interface.
Personnel On Duty
Access control can conveniently be integrated with a time and attendance system, or vice versa. This will handle the comings and goings of both domestic and institutional housekeeping staff as well as catering for suppliers and contractors working on site. DormaKaba, for example, have systems that combine the functions of time and attendance recording with the flexible and secure access control that hotel operators require. This convenient solution reduces system administration and makes it simple for staff to move around the premises and do their job efficiently. Salto Systems provide tailored systems to various hotel chains that provide sophisticated yet simple access control for staff and guests alike. TBS also offer a combined access control and time and attendance solution for hotels. It provides automated access control, including user verification by fingerprint scanning to avoid schedule cheating.
Integration is the key word for the seamless functioning of formerly disparate systems. Gone are the days of the security team surrounded by a dozen blurred monitors, red and green lights, knobs and buttons for separate systems. Modern technology assists the security team and other staff with a continuous flow of information, filtered according to relevance and priority, and presented in an easily and, above all, quickly comprehensible way. Combining intruder alarms, heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), fire alarms, video surveillance, elevators, lighting, and access control into one sensible human interface not only saves effort but also ensures that staff quickly understand exactly what is going on in the case of an emergency of some sort. The BMS (building management system) will automatically take control of various sub-systems, issue the correct commands to them and inform operators when something is out of the ordinary.
Johnson Controls offers the Metasys BMS that does all of these jobs and they have sales representatives worldwide. In Europe and the USA, Bosch Building Solutions provide bundling solutions that automate the control of major systems and take the load off staff. They can also incorporate the company’s own public address and personal security systems as well as integrate those of third-party suppliers. The Desigo CC solution to integrate all disciplines on a single platform is fully modular, scalable and extendable and comes from Siemens, who also provide a ‘compact’ version for smaller properties.
So the systems are in place and now it’s only down to that final security risk factor, the staff. In an emergency situation there is no time to discuss what to do – staff must know their responsibilities and the immediate actions to be taken. Training can be carried out by the hotel’s own security personnel, but they are not normally trainers themselves. Excel Security Training offer bespoke courses worldwide to match the specific needs of each client that, amongst other important topics, cover environment awareness, kidnapping, boutique security and female traveler awareness. And although the Sky Touch offices are in Brisbane, their online hotel security awareness course is available worldwide and in over 100 languages. They also offer some very useful tips on dealing with the Covid-19 threat.
The wide-open hotel environment does not have to be an easy target for criminals. As the examples above show, there are many simple and sophisticated systems available to prevent both opportunist and planned crime. These together with the awareness of trained staff and a dose of common sense can make the successful mix to ensure a good night’s sleep.
AV Costar - www.arecontvision.com
Axis - www.axis.com
Bosch Building Solutions - www.boschbuildingsolutions.com
DormaKaba - www.dormakaba.com
Eagle Eye Networks - www.een.com
Excel Security Training - www.excelsecuritytraining.ch
Genetec - www.genetec.com
Intransa - www.intransa.com
Mobotix - www.mobotix.com
Salto Systems - www.saltosystems.com
Siemens - www.siemens.com
SimonsVoss - www.simons-voss.com
Sky Touch - www.hotelsecuritydesign.com
TBS - www.tbs-biometrics.com