JW Marriott Marquis Miami and Hotel Beaux Arts Miami offer pervasive video and wireless for business and leisure guests.
Opened in November 2010, JW Marriott Marquis Miami is the first hotel to combine the JW and Marquis brand of Marriott hotels, which represents a new benchmark for luxury and technology. The 313-room hotel includes another embedded hotel on the 39th floor, the Hotel Beaux Arts Miami. "Our goal for the JW Marriott Marquis Miami and Hotel Beaux Arts Miami is to create hotels for the 21st century, giving guests the benefit of advanced technology in a luxury setting, in an urban environment," says Florencia Tabeni, general manager of JW Marriott Marquis Miami. "We wanted to provide every technology amenity available to travelers, whether they joined us for business or pleasure."
The hotels' target market consists of highly accomplished, technology-savvy guests who expect the world's best business tools, room amenities, and business services. To appeal to these discriminating travelers, the property developers, MDM Development Group and MetLife, wanted to transform hotel service delivery. They envisioned using advanced video, collaboration, and networking technologies to create a unique and exciting experience throughout the property, delighting leisure travelers and providing world-class collaboration capabilities for business travelers. In the vision, business guests would be able to interact with coworkers, customers, or hotel concierges in other locations with ultra-high-quality video and audio rivaling the in-person experience. Visitors to the 10,000-square-foot NBA-approved basketball arena, convertible to a tennis court or ballroom, could augment their enjoyment of the live event with dynamic video content displayed on a gigantic video wall. Even the mundane aspects of hotel stays, such as arrival and wakeup calls, would be delivered in memorable and exciting ways.
"Using video to this extent had never been done in the hospitality industry," says Nicolas Corrochano, vice president of IT for MDM Group. "We needed to find the right technology and the right partners to pioneer a new type of hotel experience." The venture would require exquisitely coordinated interactions between high-bandwidth wired and wireless networks, multiple business video and collaboration applications, and endpoints such as video displays and IP phones. And yet, the hotel's technology had to be easy to manage so that the small IT staff could focus on guest needs.
The property developers engaged Modcomp, a Cisco Certified Silver Partner, to plan, design, and implement the technology to make the guest stay luxurious, exciting, and unique. Modcomp achieved the goal using the Cisco® Connected Hotels framework, making JW Marriott Marquis Miami and Hotel Beaux Arts the first organization of any type to combine a dozen Cisco technologies for business video, unified communications and collaboration, physical security, and data center under one roof. "In Cisco we found a single, trusted vendor for all of our video and collaboration needs: for business, entertainment, and physical safety," says Corrochano. "The result is a stay that's memorable for all guests and highly productive for business guests."
The distinctive JW Marriott Marquis Miami experience begins the moment that a guest enters the property. In the lobby, a concierge greets guests from a video Virtual Concierge unit, based on a Cisco TelePresence™ system that provides in-person-quality video and audio. "Guests love talking with the virtual concierge about the hotel, and this initial unusual encounter sets the expectation that the experience at the JW Marriott Marquis Miami will be out of the ordinary," says Paul Pebley, director of sales and marketing for the hotel.
During their stay, business guests can enjoy a myriad of video and collaboration tools to make their conferences productive and exciting:
• Virtual Meetings by Marriott: JW Marriott Marquis Miami has joined other Marriott hotels worldwide in offering the Virtual Meetings by Marriott service, based on Public Cisco TelePresence technology. Up to six people in a room can interact face-to-face with coworkers or customers in other participating Marriott locations worldwide, or in any privately owned Cisco TelePresence room. Joining a scheduled meeting is as simple as pressing a button on the room's Cisco Unified IP Phone.
• Mobile Video Concierge: Meeting planners can request a mobile Video Concierge unit. Attendees who need reservations or other services can interact with a concierge face to face from the meeting area, without having to go to the lobby.
• World's largest video wall powered by Cisco: In the arena, one wall is dominated by a 450-square-foot video wall built from 52-inch Cisco LCD Professional Series displays powered by Cisco Digital Media Players. The wall can display 25 separate images, one colossal image, or anything in between. Sports teams can display their logos and player action shots, and wedding guests using Cisco Flip Video™ Camcorders or other devices can capture video that is streamed live or shown later.
• Digital signage: Cisco Digital Signs on each of the five public floors provide eye-catching, up-to-the-minute information about meeting locations, hotel attractions, and special offers. Staff can easily upload and schedule content using a cloud service from Industry Weapon, a Cisco Developer Network partner. The system is integrated with the hotel reservation system, so that meeting room information automatically appears on the signs, with no effort from staff.
• Wireless IP phones for guest use: In guest suites, two Cisco Unified IP Phones 7975G provide high-fidelity audio and a large touchscreen color display. Guests can simply touch the screen to order room service, check the weather, browse special offers, and more, a capability of VIP/Suite software from Nevotek, a member of the Cisco Developer Network Program. "A guest who uses the phone to request an automated wake-up call is invited to order breakfast by touching an interactive menu on the phone," Pebley says. Guests who prefer to talk to an associate just press a button, and Cisco Unified Contact Center Express routes the call to the first available associate. Each room also has a Cisco Unified Wireless 7921G IP Phone that guests can bring with them to use anywhere on the property.
One-of-a-Kind Guest Experience, Transforming the Hotel Industry
Pervasive video and wireless differentiate the hotel for even the most seasoned global travelers, enabling the transformation of a hotel experience that has until now changed only incrementally. "Technology enhances the experience at the JW Marriott Marquis Miami, and the goal is that guests will return often and tell their friends," Pebley says. "Business guests can collaborate in new ways, and leisure guests can have more fun." Even before opening, the hotel began receiving inquiries from conference planners interested in streaming live video into conference rooms, for surgical conventions, for example.
Exciting, Effective Marketing of Hotel Services
Hotel restaurants, retail stores, and spas advertise their services in an attention-getting format, using Cisco Digital Signs. "Guests appreciate finding out about hotel offers, and the hotel maximizes revenue potential from its services," says Pebley. Modcomp integrated Cisco Digital Signs with other hotel systems to automatically display special offers based on specified conditions. A spa discount is advertised when a certain number of appointments are available, for example, and is automatically removed from the content playlist when the appointments are filled.
Collaborating with a single vendor for the underlying media-optimized network (medianet), telepresence, digital signage, video wall, video surveillance, and voice and voicemail is very convenient, according to Corrochano. "We need far less staff time to manage a converged network than hotels with multiple networks," he says. "That gives our IT team more time for guests who need assistance with their own technology." Support is simplified, as well, because the hotel does not have to wait while multiple vendors determine whose technology is the source of the issue.
JW Marriott Marquis Miami also offers its guests the latest in physical security technology, using Cisco IP Video Surveillance and Cisco Physical Access Control. Approximately 70 Cisco IP Video Surveillance cameras are deployed throughout the property's public areas and valet parking lot, managed centrally with Cisco Video Surveillance Manager software. And if a guest has a health emergency and calls 9-1-1, Cisco Emergency Responder simultaneously notifies designated hotel personnel so they are prepared to respond appropriately.
With the Cisco network in place, the hotel has the foundation to add future video and collaboration tools, remaining at the vanguard of the hospitality industry. One plan is to provide Cisco TelePresence 500 systems in certain suites, enabling executives to meet face to face with coworkers and customers without leaving the property.
The MDM Development Group also expects to increase return on investment by delivering the Virtual Concierge and IP video surveillance services over the WAN to other Marriott hotels in the area. The other hotels would only need to invest in the Cisco TelePresence displays or IP video surveillance cameras, not the underlying applications.
The unique JW Marriott Marquis Miami experience begins with the network. At the core of their data center, a Cisco Nexus® 7000 Switch provides 10 Gigabit Ethernet connectivity throughout the entire property to support high-bandwidth video traffic. Each group of three floors has a Cisco Catalyst® 4510R-E Switch that connects to the core over dual 10 Gigabit Ethernet links and delivers Gigabit Ethernet to each guest room. Each room has six Ethernet connections, for three Cisco Unified IP phones, an IP-enabled television, a thin client device for Internet access, and a minibar that senses when guests remove food and beverage items and centrally records the information.
Guests and staff can also connect wirelessly from their laptop, Apple iPad, smartphone, and Cisco Unified Wireless IP Phone from anywhere on the property, thanks to a Cisco Unified Wireless Network based on Cisco Aironet® 1200 Series Access Points.
In the hotel data center, a Cisco Unified Computing System™ (UCS) C-Series 200 hosts all the applications that the hotel uses for collaboration, business video, physical safety and security, and network management. "Cisco UCS Extended Memory Technology will allow the hotel to host more applications in the same space, scaling cost-effectively and without increasing energy consumption," says Carlos Marchini, director of advanced technologies for Modcomp.
Applications housed on the Cisco UCS include Cisco Unified Communications Manager, Cisco Unity® voicemail, Cisco Unified Contact Center, Cisco TelePresence software, Cisco Digital Media Manager, Cisco Video Surveillance, Cisco Physical Access Control, Cisco Data Center Network Manager, and Cisco Wireless Control System. Third-party applications include Microsoft Exchange, terminal services for the in-room thin clients, the Nevotek V/IP Suite application that delivers services to the Cisco Unified IP phone in guest rooms, and push-to-talk software from Singlewire that makes Cisco Unified Wireless IP phones act like walkie-talkies for the housekeeping, janitorial, and engineering staff. "Altogether, we incorporated 12 advanced technologies, all of them from Cisco, greatly reducing the complexity and cost of this ambitious project both before and after the hotel opens," says Tony Silva, senior vice president of strategy for Modcomp.