Honeywell and Shangri La on the early integration of smart technology
Honeywell Building Solutions commenced servicing of the Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi in early 2008, with the intention of setting-up and operating a totally integrated system, an operation which took up to three years to execute.
The $300m Al Jaber development demanded a solution which involved speed of implementation, demonstrated a significant cost reduction and would extend the lifetime efficiency gains of the building. Smart building, was the answer.
“As a hotelier, our goal is to focus on delivering the highest standards of service to our guests,” starts Christian Tjenderasa, chief engineer, Shangri-La Hotel, Abu Dhabi.
“Without this sort of system, we would face a real challenge delivering that level of service to the guest. We would have much more to think about including attending to thousands of units, ensuring they are properly maintained; essentially what a smart system can do without us having to intervene. Smart technologies are instrumental in delivering the big benefits we want to see.”
Honeywell Building Solutions was engaged during the concept stages of the project, where it became the main extra low voltage (ELV) supplier. Its scope of work spans integrated building management and security systems – CCTV, digital video management, access control and photo ID, along with guest room management, a background music system, audio visual and main antenna television all running on a structured cabling system.
Internet protocol is adapted as the common standard, enabling the different systems -that is Honeywell and other third party systems – to be delivered as a joined up offering.
“From an energy savings perspective, we notice that the facility is not so old. Since we had so many Honeywell systems integrated on one platform, in one place, it meant we had a lot of data to establish a benchmark and baseline to understand how the hotel was performing,” explains Kalpana Jadhav, manager – Energy Solutions, Honeywell Building Solutions.
“We carried out an extensive survey on the building and the equipment with the support of Chris’s team. We then came up with a formula for Chris which highlighted where energy consumption was higher and what we could monitor or meter, helping to make the building a lot more intelligent than it was at that moment,” she adds.
Tjenderasa adds that this early input was essential in setting the standards for the hotel to follow in future.
“It became much more convenient for everybody. Honeywell enforced its practices from the beginning. Undoubtedly, this will benefit the lifecycle of the building as it allows us to monitor everything according to established standards,” he says.
Integration of all the systems on one platform allows the operator to be able to control everything from one office. Sensors allow AC to be adjusted and the detection and adjustment of controls in an unoccupied guest room, resulting in huge efficiencies in terms of energy.
“Smart does not only entail the use of the latest technologies,” says Jadhav. It’s also about optimising the building to its maximum efficiency; using the technology already in place by integrating it in various forms.
In the guest rooms we actually integrate it with an access control system. Many times the access control system is integrated to a CCTV system so if there is a theft, the access control talks to the CCTV, an alarm is raised, the security guard elsewhere in the facility can view it from his camera, the alarm is raised in the BMS control room, and the guard alerts a colleague elsewhere.”
The BMS control room is not necessarily manned at all times as multiple workstations allow the facility to be monitored from different locations. In addition, there are workstations at two points manned 24/7.
“When we say “smart” it’s mainly about integrating technology, making the building more efficient and putting people more at ease by letting technology sit above and do all the work,” says Jadhav.
“If the logic is programmed right and the building is functioning the way it should be, the BMS should be able to drive the functionality on its own. You don’t need 20 people to do the same thing a single BMS system can do.”
Hotels are smart leaders
“When we talk about the actual property itself as a whole, we’re not just talking about the hotel,” explains Roopesh Kotecha, service sales account manager, Honeywell Building Solutions.
“We start with the trader’s hotel, then apartments which cover six blocks. You then have the souk, spa and the hotel and villas. The overall ground area is around 72,000m2. The built up area is around 600,000m2 including the floor by floor layouts.
“The systems we have put in place have been implemented on a wide range of the overall facility in a phase of almost 2.5 years of phase-wide execution. This includes adding up the systems; making the changes and corrective actions. That’s how the entire system has evolved,” adds Kotecha.
Karim Boutaour, ME regional strategic and marketing leader, Honeywell Building Solutions, adds hotels are setting the standards when it comes to “smart” and demanding the evolution of technologies.
“Hotels are very dynamic. You’ll find they change constantly and have evolving elements such as room rates, occupancy rates, event dates – it’s a living building. Having the ability to scale it and see how you can minimise costs from this perspective is when you see the value of having an integrated solution.
In the UAE, we built at an increased speed and overlooked the aspect of lifecycle management and how we could take a building through the next 15 years. Now you see a change in this area, and hotels in particular are leading the way.
“There are 512 hotels in Dubai and 216 in Abu Dhabi and they are almost setting the examples to the rest. In places like Qatar and Saudi, you see them looking at how to move to the next level of integrated solutions to save costs.”
Boutaour predicts that though smart is still in its infancy as a concept, there will be a huge uptake over the next few years.
“During the 70s and 80s, smart would not have been as successful as a concept. Energy was cheap, as was labour. Now we see a shift in hotels and in government based buildings. Cost of labour will increase as will energy costs.
People will invest more in keeping these costs down and the one thing that contributes to that is effective maintenance. Places like Australia have implemented programmes with star ratings. The higher the star, the higher the level of integration and so it will attract more tenants.
“There is much talk surrounding how energy costs need to rise to make people aware of conservation. We’ve seen rises in the last few years, maybe not as high as in other countries, but enough to get people thinking about it. So far, I see hotels leading the way in making changes ethically and having an environmental impact in the region,” says Boutaour.
But one thing that will drive the uptake of smart technologies is education. In an area where understanding of these new technologies is poor, driving efficiencies through CSR programmes and setting KPIs within organisations is still crucial.
“Having smart systems is great in terms of convenience,” says Tjenderasa. “One of the challenges we face is people don’t understand it – particularly colleagues in the rest of the buildings who don’t necessarily share the technical know-how. If the AC is blowing cold air and they need it adjusting, we will manage it from our workstation.
Yet they continue to call through to say nobody has rectified the problem, not understanding it has been done remotely.”
“Education surrounding how to help maintain the building’s lifecycle is essential. Smart technology is a complement. With or without the technology, we have our own programme in the Shangri La chain which works toward a green environment; it focuses on what energy is and how to save it.
We carry out extensive training about the environment; water; and AC. This training, we believe, can contribute a lot to our environment and meet Honeywell’s mission of making a building more smart and intelligent,” adds Tjenderasa.
The hotel noted that the integrated solutions translated into lower installation costs, a better rental return and an improved performance with lower operating costs.
Going forward, the relationship between the two is expected to go from strength to strength. Honeywell has just launched the Attune Advisory Service which it is in talks with Shangri-La to incorporate within its operations. This will maximise on the use of data surrounding energy consumption to achieve maximum benefits, and will involve analysing the data and setting up a complete building optimisation plan.
“From Honeywell’s side, the benefit of this partnership has been the ability to maintain a relationship with the hotel, enabling us to easily approach and implement further initiatives. As mentioned earlier, there are challenges of retrofitting, but when the backbone, network and interface have been delivered by us, they become less of a challenge,” says Kotecha.
One of the advantages of the hotel operating a full Honeywell system is that it makes it easier to understand and analyse the benefits that can be made compared to if it was dealing with numerous brands.
“It is the ability to pinpoint the low hanging fruits where we can drive energy benefits. The next level is to give them a report not only mentioning the benefits but also the ROI they can make over different periods of time, based on the drivers and KPIs they have in place,” adds Boutaour.
Scalability is also a big area of focus and a facility’s plans for future expansion have to be considered carefully.
“Things are slightly different from 10-15 years ago, in terms of how systems are coupled and have a dedicated network and the ability to pair up and scale this in the future when additional premises are added, for example. This is also a big advantage of smart building. It’s not just about efficiency, but looking forward and seeing how we can make it bigger as well as more efficient,” says Boutaour.
But, stresses Jadhav, people are still central to driving a building towards maximum efficiency alongside any system.
“Success does not depend on Shangri La or Honeywell alone when it comes to energy savings. When we go ahead and implement the solution and bring together the analysis and the reports, we sit with the entire team and identify where the problems were and how we plan to rectify them. We do this monthly. It is down to both teams to achieve the savings.
“It is not a robotic thing where you put in something and one year down the line you get an energy saving. It is a very slow process and requires manual intervention. There’s no one fix,” she concludes.