Room Control

Each of us at least once in his life found himself in a hotel room, in which he experienced inconvenience with the control of lighting and climate:

• We go into a dark room, in unsuccessful attempts to find the switch.
• Click on each button and try (unsuccessfully) to remember that it turns on or off.
• The light after switching on is either too bright or, conversely, twilight.
• The air in the room is stale, and the room is cold (in winter) or hot (in summer), and attempts to deal with the thermostat fail.

What do we usually do in this situation?

• We approach the window; push the curtains with our hands. If the cornice is manual, it’s fine, but if it is automatic (we haven’t figured out the buttons yet), we either tear the curtain or break the opening mechanism (recent generations of curtain drives allow manual manipulation)
• Finally, open the window.

Now you can deal with the controls, but first of all with the climate:

We set the heating convector valve or fan coil-air conditioning settings to maximum values ​​(cooling or heating), after a while, we achieve the presence of fresh air in the room at the required temperature. Needless to say, when leaving the room, we often forget to return everything to its original state, thereby throwing out the money of the hotel owner in the literal sense of the word “out the window”.

So, with the climate sorted out. Now about the switches. You had to find yourself in a situation where, in the evening, while reading your favorite book in the soft bed of the room, you understood that in order to turn off the sconce at the bed you would have to get up and go through the whole room? But all this could have been avoided! However, it’s worth starting with the basics.

When designing a hotel, its owner values ​​his future guest, for whom the hotel room becomes a home for a while. So how to make it cozy?

When setting the task for designers and engineers to develop hotel room technology, an experienced hotelier is guided by two goals:
1. Satisfying the needs of the guest in full when staying in a hotel room.
2. Achieving maximum savings in operating costs by automating numbers.
3. It is possible to achieve a certain wow-effect from hotel accommodation.
All 3 points serve the main purpose - to increase the owner’s income, since the first one forms the guest’s loyalty of the hotel network, the second - saves energy costs, and the third serves as additional value and advertising.

The satisfaction of the guest at the hotel is provided by providing him with simple and intuitive access to climate and lighting control, possibly using the Internet and other technological solutions implemented in a modern hotel room.

If we talk about our practice, we can name the following most interesting automation scenarios that any guest will appreciate, will surely tell their friends, and it is quite possible to leave an enthusiastic review on social networks or on TripAdvisor.

Guest Welcome Scenario:

• After checking in the guest in the PMS system, the TV in the room will automatically turn on with a promo video of the hotel and a welcome message to the guest with his name.
• A special lighting scenario is launched, creating a feeling of coziness and comfort; the current temperature in the room rises or falls to the comfort temperature.

Morning Awakening Scenario
• At the time set by the guest (via a TV, mobile application or a traditional call to the reception), the TV turns on with a special “morning” video, which gradually increases the volume, wishes the guest a good day (spelling his name) and the weather forecast for today.
• A soft light is turned on to make your wake up comfortable.
• In addition, curtains open to fill the room with sunlight.

Of the ongoing projects, the name, which we cannot yet disclose, I would like to note an interesting scenario that we implemented according to the special request of the customer. Pressing the doorbell in the room by the room service will activate the TV, as well as the iPad installed in the room. On the TV screen and the tablet displays the image broadcast from the camera installed in the corridor. Thus, the guest will be able to see who is in the corridor and decide whether to open the door or not. At the same time on the TV and tablet for the guest will be available two buttons “Do not disturb” and “Already go”. When you press one of them in the corridor, the corresponding indicator on the wall panel will light up.

“Time does not stand still. Requirements for room automation are also changing. If in the early 2000s we had to convince every client of the need to install electronic locks on cards, now it is almost impossible to imagine a new hotel with mechanical keys. More and more hotels are interested in “mobile key” systems, when a hotel room can be opened by telephone. This has already become the standard for many international hotel chains, and in the very near future will become the standard for independent hotels. The attitude towards hotel room automation systems is also changing,” explains Nikolai Beloshitsky, CEO of SMARTEQ.

Today, the best and most modern of the networks involve the integration of a hotel room management system (GRMS - Guest Room Management System) with a building management system (BMS - Building Management System) and with a hotel management system as a source of income (PMS - Property Management System). Such hotels provide for remote, online management of the hotel room, using special established algorithms of the controller, which manages the room.

“The attitude to hotel room automation systems is also changing. And if in many countries the installation of GRMS systems (Guest Room Management System - hotel room management systems) has already become the standard for 4 * and 5 * hotels, then in Russia not even all the "five" install these systems, but there are more and more such hotels and more. If in Western countries the installation of these systems is dictated by reasons of energy conservation and compliance with modern environmental requirements, in Russia the main motive so far is the customer’s desire to stand out in the competitive market and create a wow-effect for their guests,” says Nikolai.

What is a hotel room management system? Such a system may include:
1. Room control controller;
2. Electromechanical drives on (fan coil and / or heating convector);
3. Electric drives of blinds;
4. Devices that control the brightness of the light (dimmers);
5. Switches with pictograms or text;
6. The panel at the entrance to the room, including the indicators MUR (Make Up Room) and DND (Do Not Disturb);
7. Room control panel with built-in thermostat;
8. Presence recognition devices (sensor; card holder)
9. Magnetic contactors on the front door and opening windows.

Further, we should provide for several statuses in which the hotel room can be located and in accordance with which we will provide programming for room control.

The status is transmitted by the PMS system when the number is not suitable for settlement or is not planned for settlement for a long time. With this status, the minimum consumption of electric and thermal energy for room service is ensured. Standardly, in this status in the winter season the controller maintains the temperature in the room from 13 to 20 degrees (depending on the requirements of furniture manufacturers), in the summer it is simply turned off. All electrical circuits, with the exception of circuits that provide a safety system, are de-energized. The signal of compliance with the set temperature comes from the thermostat.

2. FREE - ECONOMY mode
The room is fully operational, but not populated, that is, from the PMS system there was no signal about the guest's check-in. In this mode, air conditioning units operate in an economical mode, maintaining the room temperature from 13 to 20 degrees, depending on the time of year. Non-disconnectable electric circuits are powered (refrigerator, minibar). Underfloor heating is off.

3. Settled - PRECOMFORT mode
By a signal from the PMS system (the guest has booked a room via the Internet or registered at the reception), the number goes into the guest standby mode. By automatically adjusting the heating convector and fan coil drives, the temperature rises to 23 degrees; the underfloor heating in the bathroom turns on and reaches the operating temperature.

4. BUSY - COMFORT mode
When the guest enters the room, the magnetic contact sensor on the room door opens, and the presence sensor detects the presence of the guest. Then the welcome script is turned on, for example, the light in the hallway and the bathroom, also all the electrical circuits of the room receive power. By controlling the drives (convector and fan coil), the room temperature is set at 25 degrees. If desired, the guest can set any temperature he needs. However, when you open the window, the fan coil will automatically turn off. In this mode, even if the guest leaves the room, but the status of the room remains the same, power is supplied to non-disconnect outlet groups. When the guest leaves the room, but has not yet moved out of it, the room goes into precomfort mode.

Thanks to the implementation of this scheme, the hotel owner is spared the need to monitor the disconnection of devices, and the guest has the opportunity to ensure a comfortable climate in the room in the shortest time.

The next point to pay attention to is the types of lighting devices and the brightness of the light. Currently, the greatest savings are the use of LED lamps. Dimming the light allows you to adjust the light in the room so that the lighting is as comfortable as possible. By the way, the standards of many hotel chains require dimming of all light sources.

A few words about equipment manufacturers and cost. The modern market of GRMS equipment offers products of Jung, Schneider, Siemens, HDL and others. From the point of view of the design of switches, sockets and the room control panel controlled by the KNX protocol through the controller, the products of Black Nova, Jung look fundamentally European. The solution described above, which includes dimming of all light groups and automatic control of blinds, ranges from 2,000 euros per standard room with an area of ​​20-40 square meters.

Summarizing all the above, we want to note that the era of mobility and the Internet of things also did not pass by GRMS. There are new opportunities for integration and management of all the benefits of automation in the room. An additional guest room control panel can be a guest’s smartphone with the hotel application installed, a tablet in the room or a TV remote control, if you go to the GRMS section of the TV’s interactive menu. With the proper level of automation in the room and integration, you can fill the bathtub with water and set a romantic lighting scenario, background music and even order drinks. All this can be done from your smartphone with the application installed, while relaxing in the lobby or driving to the hotel after a walk.

23 April 2020