Posted April 2018 – Late last year we were very pleased to be given the go-ahead to install a new Mitel 3300 Telephony Solution into Ashorne Hill, in Warwickshire.
A brief extract from the Ashorne Hill website gives an idea as to the aims and stature of the property:
‘Ashorne Hill – the place to learn, the people to inspire’
Ashorne Hill is a dedicated conference centre and learning solutions provider, located just outside Leamington Spa and set within 35 acres of stunning Warwickshire countryside. It has 17 main training or conference rooms, 23 syndicate rooms, 113 ensuite bedrooms, plus sports and leisure facilities.
The main intricacies of this Project were in evaluating how best to provide a telecoms solution that would suit both a Hotel environment and a working Commercial element that exists within the Property. Working closely with Tom Dorman-Mathews (IT Officer) we were able to get a complete understanding of their requirements and provide the perfect solution for their needs.
Integrating the renowned Hospitality features and capabilities of a Mitel 3300 (for the ease of reusing their legacy analogue bedroom handsets running over a CW1308 copper backbone) we were seamlessly able to incorporate an IP handset deployment over their Commercial and Administration Depts, utilising their CAT5e network. The result was that we were able to reuse their mixed infrastructure enabling Ashorne Hill to save significant monies by not having to re-cable the outlying Hospitality buildings that cover a large footprint.
By using an IP handsets, they could redesign how their Administration Staff worked with a far more effective call distribution and call handling package to improve a clients’ stay, as well as improve their Sales team’s ability to take bookings far more efficiently via a much more flexible Call Centre solution. In addition, we upgraded their older Tiger Call Management / Wakeup / Voicemail solution to the latest “Connected Guest” PRO Software to enable full call analytics for their Sales and Commercial Teams as well as the standard call billing for Guests.
The Property is currently also trialling a small number of Mitel MiCollab Mobile phone app licences in the hope that they will improve their internal communications to staff who have need to be “mobile” around the site.
Posted April 2018 – Following on from our installation at Crowne Plaza Kensington, we were asked to assist the 204-room hotel with understanding and then extricating itself from a long-term telephone system rental contract, a rental agreement that was costing the hotel far too much and yet was almost impossible for a “layperson” to understand what was being billed each quarter. Just working out what was being billed turned out to be a full day’s work. Even for someone who understood the terminology. The project can be split into:
- Working on some new installation standards documents with IHG in Denham
- Installing new Mitel3300 on-premise system (overall circumstances did not suit the Mitel MiCloud offering)
- Setting up a large quantity of MiCollab users with Samsung Smartphonedevices to provide building-wide VoWIFI Mobile telephony solution for staff
- Installing a BlueSky Fire Alarm solution to provide alarm notifications to MiCollab users
- Installing a new Connected Guests Call Management / Wake-Up / Voicemail solution
- Supplying and installing new Vtech Guest Room phones
- Working with Paul Watson (GM) and his team on trialling a world-first Mitel application to provide far more information on FOH telephone screens than has been available before.
Once all the above is live, we hope to persuade IHG, Paul Watson and his team to listen to all the work we have been doing to integrate IoT solutions into MiCollab and the Bluesky solutions…all in the name of improving communications between staff. Given the fact that Brexit is around the corner, we are being asked to look at all options to maximise the effectiveness of staff. And the “Internet of Things (IoT)” does help to do just that.
Posted Feb 2018 - Since our last news article back in 2017, Jurys Inn Group decided to work with us, in a true collaborative way, to look at the right WiFi hardware partner for rolling out a new WiFi platform that would comfortably span the next 5 years and provide the group with confidence to say that all Jurys Inn properties have “class-leading WiFi”. Given that technology moves so fast, a 5-year view makes perfect sense. A joint effort was made to look at all the leading manufacturers of WiFi hardware, looking at all the various issues, including Cloud Managed vs On-Site Controllers, issues such as the aesthetics of the Access Points, the ease of installation, the effectiveness of the ceiling brackets, let alone subjects such as the ease of programming and the level of analytics available for day-to-day support or via an API to integrate into the unique htm Client Dashboard. It goes without saying that the analysis covered all hardware and on-going support pricing as well as real-life tests in a Jurys Inn Hotel. As companies like Hotel Technology Management have to adapt to a changing world, our role is very clearly moving to one of managed service provider. Given that intelligent hotel groups are looking to find IT companies that provide a far more integrated support, as opposed to continually splitting IT into different “silos”, which doesn’t really allow hotels to benefit from effective IT support, it was a pleasure to be involved in the whole evaluation process.
After 3 months of collaboration, we emerged with an outcome, with Cisco Meraki having met the highest score across the various elements that were being considered. As of the end of April 2018, we will bewell over half way through the roll-out, with Cisco Meraki Routers, Switches and Wireless Access Points handling hundreds of thousands of unique devices per month. If anyone wishes to talk about our experiences with Meraki in more detail then we would be only too happy to discuss.
POSTED MAY 2017:
A cutting-edge addition to Sanguine Hospitality’s Development Portfolio, Hotel Indigo in Cardiff gives a glimpse of a modern hotel sited in this newly refurbished property in the very heart of Cardiff city centre. Combining stunning guest bedrooms with superb facilities and fine dining, this new Property brings an exciting new offering to those looking to stay in the Welsh Capital.
Jon Biles has worked with Sanguine on many properties in the past and his experience and knowledge was again requested by Sanguine to provide a Telephone System Solution that would assist in the successful running of the Hotel
With the offering of a Mitel 3300 IP based solution with a mixture of IP and analogue voice connectivity devices htm were able to design the right solution for the Hotel with the inclusion of “Retro” style handsets to the bedrooms to make the rooms a little quirkier.
With WiFi-linked VoIP cordless devices also being installed the ability for Staff to provide a quick and efficient service to Guests will now be available.
HTM will provide an ongoing 24/7/365 support program covering all technologies, backed-up by our unique client dashboard.
Jon Biles: “it has been great to work with Sanguine again after many years of continued partnership and trust in the abilities of what I can bring to them, I look forward to working with them again on future Projects”
POSTED JAN 2017:
Mitel Upgrades to a number of former Hotel Collection and Thistle Hotels, now rebranded Jurys Inn plus the last remaining SX2000 Upgrades for Hand Picked Hotels. Plus Mitel MiCollab installations in Jurys Inn Hotels.
A decision was made to upgrade all remaining SX2000 systems to become Mitel 3300 systems, across 11 sites, cleaning up the various comms rooms as part of the work. This not only extends the serviceable life for at least another 5 years without any fear of hardware becoming redundant, but allows the roll-out of IP networking for Hand Picked Hotels, for example, which gives the ability to route (and control) all calls between hotels and the CRO seamlessly at no cost to the group, with the aim of maximising the use of the CRO and minimising lost calls.
As part of the upgrade plan for Jurys, we are implementing Mitel’s MiCollab Smartphone solution, allowing staff mobiles to use the WiFi network when walking around the hotels. This will also have an interface to fire alarm panels, effectively replacing old paging installations and combining the benefits of DECT and paging into one new smartphone solution. Any money now not spent on DECT or Paging can be spent on maintaining an effective WiFi solution, which is the only intelligent way forward.
As with any tech refresh, new UPS’s are installed and all comms rooms tidied up. If you don’t tackle these points at such a time, when do you ever get around to it?
POSTED DEC 2016:
Courthouse Shoreditch – London. Complete Samsung WiFi, Telephony and Mobile Solution
Htm Ltd was delighted to be awarded the contract to install all Telephony and WiFi requirements into Mastcraft’s most recent hotel, fabulous Courthouse Shoreditch hotel, which we completed in the second half of 2016.
The building has 4 basement floors, an old section (at the front) and a new section at the back. Right in the middle are the old courthouse cells, now part of the elegant bar area.
We worked closely with Vaarun Malik of Mastcraft to install a 100% IP Telephony solution, with Samsung IP Featurephones throughout admin areas, Samsung Galaxy series Smartphones (with the Samsung WeVoip application used as the core mobile platform), VTech SIP Cordless phones in guest bedrooms and a Samsung AC-specification WiFi solution across the entire building, even outside on the outside bar on the 5th floor. Staff now have excellent voice VoWiFi coverage for the Samsung Galaxy smartphones (calls are not lost as they go in and out of the lifts, up and down the staircases) and guests benefit from above-average coverage and speeds throughout the building.
Vaarun was kind enough to say the following of htm, once the installation had finished:
“I would like to thank you and your team for the outstanding level of professionalism and service. I think it was the personal touch that made a very complicated installation, hassle free. Looking back I don’t think I could have done this so effortlessly with another team”
Image below shows bar at the recently opened Courthouse Shoreditch:
Hyatt Birmingham – replacing Mitel SX2000 phone system after 27 years of service
The Mitel SX2000 telephone system that served Hyatt Birmingham since the late 1980’s, with its 319 Guest Rooms and Suites, has finally been replaced by a new Mitel 3300 solution, completed by htm Ltd in 2016, proving that an investment in a Mitel Telephone System has really been the best choice for any hotelier. We think that it amounted to 27 years of service, with only a few changes in-between and some of the old Digital phones were still be used up until the day we removed them. How many other IT investments have provided 27 years of service?! Cloud solutions for voice have their place but, for many hoteliers, there may not be enough of an advantage to a Cloud solution to warrant the far higher overall costs to the business? Having replaced all the core hardware, htm Ltd set about assisting the Financial Director with a plan to reassess and reduce all telephone lines and install Mitel’s MiCollab solution to allow corporate smart devices or mobiles to use the WiFi network as a DECT alternative, which, in our opinion, is the right choice to make.
We are delighted to have appointed Jon last October. He has an excellent track record in the industry and will be working on growing the number of technologies we support as well as creating new major accounts within the UK and Irish hotel market. Jon’s words, upon joining htm last year were as follows:
“In 1994, with the invention of Goldstar and Panasonic key systems, I began cutting my teeth in the world of Telecommunication Sales, going door to door on Trading Estates doing the hard sell. A lot has obviously changed since then!!! As with many Salespeople back in those days, I worked my way around the leading companies looking for the best compensation package and began to gain experience and knowledge in leading brands of Telecom Hardware. 11 years’ ago the world of Hospitality was opened up to me and I haven’t looked back. During those 11 years, I honed my skills of providing Turn Key Comms/IT/WiFi Solutions to new build Projects and Refurbishments. I have great knowledge of all Brand Standards and can apply those to “Boutique Hotel” environments for those requiring a more bespoke guest offering. I have successfully consulted, sold and implemented to the likes of core-brand Hiltons, Double Tree and Hampton hotels, along with IHG Crown Plaza, Indigo, Holiday Inn and HIExpress, having recently worked directly with IHG and a Franchisee to develop and open the first Generation 3 Express in the UK. Taking this Brand knowledge and applying it to a more Boutique environment I have successfully provided Comms and Data solutions to properties such as Cliveden House, Chewton Glen and The Lygon Arms along with providing full consultancy and Project Management to the award-winning Ampersand Hotel. I have now a full skill set to offer Consultancy, Design, Sale, Implementation, Project Management and ongoing Support with good knowledge of Mitel, TigerTMS, Ruckus and Cisco. I have known Simon and HTM for many years and we have shared a mutual friendship with regards to both our Industry and our shared passion for motorsport / cars. It became apparent to me that I needed a new challenge in life and HTM seemed the perfect venue in which to pick up this mantel and move forward. htm are a renowned and respected Company within our Industry and I want to bring my skills and knowledge to them to bring to the market a strong offering for potential clients looking for voice and data solutions I very much look forward to the future and know we will be successful in our venture.”
As a recent addition to the Hand Picked Hotels portfolio, htm was asked to look at the existing WiFi installation at The Grand Jersey with a view to making improvements and bringing it into line with other Hand Picked Hotels’ recent installations.
Having found a range of set-up errors (multiple single radio Access Points set up on the same channel, channels 12 and 13 were being used – a problem for most American guests, poor choice of locations for the Access Points), htm installed a new professional-grade ANTlabs E Series Server, new PoE Switches, new Ruckus Controller with the latest Dual Radio Access Points and set up the entire network correctly. Given the high profile (and high tech) nature of the corporate guests that stay at the Jersey Grand Hotel, the hotel now has a WiFi solution that is effective and up-to-date.
htm ltd was asked to provide a solution to replacing an ageing Philips Sopho telephone system with its separate DECT-based cordless telephone system for staff, using WiFi as the medium to replace the old DECT technology.
In choosing Samsung as the technology solution, Crowne Plaza Kensington is the first hotel in the UK to fully embrace Samsung’s integrated Telephony and WiFi solution that uses the Samsung Galaxy Smartphones and Samsung’s new Dual Radio WiFi Access Points as a core of the new solution. 25 staff now have Samsung smartphones as a mobile device that allows them to have one number for their IP Deskphone and their Galaxy Smartphone. Key staff now have fire alarm notifications directly to their Smartphones and also benefit by having the Samsung Xchange “presence” feature, allowing them to see who is talking to who, within the building, or even outside the building.
Crowne Plaza Kensington agreed with htm that the right investment decision is to make WiFi available across the building, including the terrace at the back and all administration areas, rather than consider any DECT-based replacement technology. Samsung makes this decision easy for hoteliers by building- in clever software into its WiFi Access Points and Galaxy range of mobiles / Smartphones whereby the Smartphones are constantly looking for the best signal. This means that staff can communicate with confidence and it maximises the value of the investment in new WiFi Access Points.
As part of the installation, htm replaced the entire guest WiFi solution that was in place with the latest Samsung Dual Radio Access Points, along with a new ANTlabs E Series Guest Internet Server, set up to deliver class leading HSIA solution for all guests.
The smartphone now has a place in the workplace as a genuine business tool. So much so that whenever we look at new installations, we now ask whether each member of staff actually needs a desk-phone at all.