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Thread: smart hotel building

  1. #1
    Automated Home Jr Member
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    Question smart hotel building

    Hello everyone

    I'm a student from Poland and currently I'm writing my thesis (last year of 5 year long studies). The subject of the thesis is: Smart hotel building. The first thing I need to do is write a list of what I want to have in the building, what systems to install and what hardware to use. I've decided to break the whole problem into three categories:

    - security systems (alarm systems, electronical door locks, fire/flooding protection, restricted access spaces, movement sensors and alike)

    - comforts systems (touch panels in everyroom which allow you to book restaurant tables, order food, use the internet, book sunlounger on the beach/pool and alike)

    - energy saving systems (everything that lets you cut the costs, lower energy consumption)

    Do you have any suggestions what I could add or think about in such a project? I have a list of systems that I could implement, but I'm wondering what are your ideas on this matter.

    Oh and I just wanted to say a simple Hi, as I'm new here.

    Thanks for any help,
    Cheers,
    dsc.

  2. #2
    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    Some other things you might want to think about.
    Power generation, either wind or solar. Some new builds (offices, hotels etc) in certain regions of Spain are required to generate some of their own energy.
    Automated lighting in public areas, either timed, or motion sensor or a combination of both.

    Rain water capture systems. The water could be used for watering the gardens etc. Or used to flush the toilets.
    Vacant room detection, so lighting and heating can be turned off.

    For security the staff could wear RFID tags. This would help locate members of staff if the are needed (useful in an emergency), enable restricted doors to open only by those staff with the correct tag. No pin codes to remember.

    Comfort systems. Touch screens are OK but everyone is used to a TV remote. Why utilise the TV to allow for bookings of restaurants, internet etc. I've stayed in a few hotels where this can be done. One hotel in particular in Galveston, that I stayed at, had a wireless keyboard for internet via the TV and also you could play nintendo games. All either via the TV remote or wireless keyboard.
    I have found that after a while some touch screens can loose their responsiveness, and need recalibrating more often. And in a public environment you will get people using them with sticky fingers jabbing them with a ballpoint pen etc. Remotes are cheap and all rooms will have a TV anyway.

    Automated curtain control. Open and close your curtains from your bedside. Stayed in a hotel in Mumbai that had this. You could take this fa stage further and have a system where the curtains close automatically at a certain time if the room is vacant. So when a guest returns to their room after dinner the curtains are already closed.

    Hope this gives you a few ideas

  3. #3
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    Default re

    Hello toscal

    Thanks a lot for your suggestions, they did put some ideas into my head

    As I said before I broke the problem into three groups, here's what I had in mind for each of them:

    SECURITY:

    Alarm systems, protecting valuable things, cash boxes in each room which have shock sensors, their status can be monitored in the main system (for example if they are locked). Monitoring the status of windows if a client leaves his room. Auto checking if a room is accupied or not (can be also used to clean rooms when clients are not present). Motion sensors all around the building, especially in forbiden places. RFID to access stuff-only rooms (as you said you can locate members, check who entered which room and stuff like that). Electronical locks can be closed/opened in case of an emergency. Fire/flood systems, automatic voice commands in case of a fire (different languages), autocall fire dept. Systems which help locate an emergency and get there faster. Turning off vents to lower the ammount of oxygen and stop the fire from spreading.

    COMFORT:

    Your idea of TV remote control is really cool and should be cheaper than seperate touch screens in every room (plus touch screens tend to have short life time). You can for example use the TV control system to check the room as "Do not disturb" and the cleaning lady could check your room's status on her PDA (she could also have a list of empty rooms, rooms that shouldn't be cleaned because of other reasons)
    Booking all the things that you want directly from your room. Curtains can be closed autamtically if the sun is shinning directly at the windows (this could be used in auto or in manual if you want). I also read about windows that change it's color when different current is passing through it. This can be connected to a light intensity sensor and make the windows darker when the sun is shinning and normal when there's a lot of clouds.
    Different light dimmer systems or audio systems can be added to each room.

    ENERGY SAVING:

    Smart heating/cooling systems, which for example check if the windows are opened and turn of heating. Auto ventilation from time to time. Systems which allow to open/close windows automaticaly from the main console.
    Building "going to sleep" at night, turning off most of the lights, using motion sensors to activate them. You can also turn on the light partially when guests come back at night (light turns on along the pathway from the reception to their room). Systems which allow to check the pipe pressure and can help detect leaks.
    Your idea of adding solar panels is also great, as well as gathering rain water.

    Not sure what more to add. I was thinking of interactive room keys which can help you remember that for example you have table reservations at the restaurant. You could also use it as a debit card and wouldn't have to use money in the hotel at all (a final bill would be handed to you at the checkout). I'm not sure if it's needed though.
    I also have some trouble of coming up with ideas for the comfort section.

    Cheers,
    dsc.

  4. #4
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    Hello again

    So I've read a lot about automated buildings and found out that most companies use EIB (European Instalation Bus) + BACnet, so this is what I decided to use in my thesis. Do you perhaps know any sites which sell equipment that can be used in conjunction with those technologies? It turns out that in my thesis I should actually suggest what equipment to use in all those systems I described earlier.

    Thanks for any help,
    dsc.

  5. #5
    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    Try here www.eibshop.co.uk
    and also here www.konnex.org this one is the main EIB organisation.

  6. #6
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    Hello,

    Thanks for the help toscal!

    The thing is that I'm ok with software, but not so familiar with hardware. I will need to choose some of it though, cause I have to suggest what should be used to create the whole system. Are there any online tutorial that show how a subsystem is created? For example heating, I know I will need thermostats, some electrovalves to control the hot water, maybe some actuators to close the windows and save energy.

    Also do you know if I can somehow join the Dallas iButton and EIB technology?

    Thanks for any help,
    dsc.

  7. #7
    Automated Home Legend Karam's Avatar
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    You may also find the following useful:

    www.idratek.com

    www.idratek.pl

    Regarding subsystems for doing various controls well it depends quite a bit on the infra-structure, but very loosely speaking:

    Where you want to/can control temperature/humidity independently of another area you ideally will need something to measure the controlled variable (eg. a temperature/humidity sensing module) and an actuator (eg. electro-valve on a hot water supply to that area or to dampers controlling hot/cold air flow) and also some means of controlling the centralised heating/cooling source -assuming its a centralised HVAC structure. Heating valves are typically on/off controlled by a relay or silicon switch, dampers can also be simple on/off via relay or more sophisticated might accept an analogue signal from a Digital to Analogue output unit.

    Blinds/curtains tend to come with a variety of actuator mechanisms but mostly the detail concerns whether you apply power to two different motor coils in order to change direction or whether you reverse a DC voltage across a single motor. Most will have inbuilt end stop detection and thus automatic motor shutoff and some may provide this signal as an output so that you can check that the blind did indeed reach its end stop within a certain period of time (not jammed). Again typically you'd control such blinds either using a dedicated switch/digital input module or, in the case of the more flexible IDRATEK, a general purpose relay/digital input module (with direction/power interlock programmed to suit).

    Ofcourse I haven't begun on the lighting, remote control and so on.

    To co-ordinate all these systems including the important finer details such as possible interaction of blinds/window openers with climate control and lighting you can use some basic logic typically embedded within the module structure on its own (eg. Reflex in IDRATEK system) or use some more powerful software (Cortex in IDRATEK system) which can provide much greater extent and intelligence of control as well as providing all the necessary integration logic without the need for much installer programming. Also A system applied to something like a hotel structure has different requirements to that of a home eg. you are likely to want centralised access to controls or environment data so a means of accessing all subsystems would be useful - typically this is better served by IP technology, for example the Internet Bridging features of IDRATEK Cortex would allow this to be done in a nice way, with the important parts of each room subsystem having its own representation at a central computer.

    Do you mean Dallas iButton as a security key? I don't know about EIB, but this can be connected to IDRANet via an IDRATEK GPC-001 module.


    Karam
    IDRATEK LTD

  8. #8
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    DSC, are there any commercial considerations to the Thesis?

    All the ideas sound great so far, but they also sound expensive. A hotel is a business. Having dealt with hotels and developers in the past I know that any Smart Technology ideas should have a commercial advantage to the Hotelier. They should either payback their own cost over time or help the Hotel to attract clients who value these features and are willing to pay extra for the benefits. Is it worth considering this in your Thesis and offering a cost vs. benefit justification?

    Room occupancy - This system is in place already in many hotels. The guest has a key card to open doors. The same keycard fits into a slot near the door to switch on room power and show residency.

    Auto Curtains - be careful here. Not every guest will realise that the curtains shouldn't be pulled closed/open. Broken motors and tracks are expensive to fix. Mirrored heat reflective privacy glass + manual curtains may be a better solution in ordinary rooms, or a motorized blackout rollerblind + manual curtains. In the UK we have a company called Pilkington which makes this sort of glass. Triple glazing has to be considered a must for energy efficiency.

    Following on fom the Auto Curtains idea, there is perhaps good justification for using that technology in premium quality rooms. A certain class of guest will understand the technology better and be happy to pay extra for the convenience.

    Hotel TV is the name for the TV technology that allows guests access to services and info via their TV screen. Philips and Nokia are both big players in this market. A number of UK suppliers will install the equipment for free in return for the revenue stream from the pay-per-view movie channels.

    Good luck

    Chris

  9. #9
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    Hello,

    Thanks for the help guys!

    Karam: this IDRATEK systems does indeed sound interesting. Can I PM you in case I have some questions? IP technology would indeed be quite easy to use, simply give certain IP addresses to each device and connect with them via Ethernet. You can than check their status, broadcast and stuff like that. Although this is already possible in EIB, which is also quite easy, all you need is a EIB wire and 220V in case you want to use relays on lamps and things like that.

    Chris: it is not defined whether the hotel is already built or is going to be build. I guess I can decide on my own and I would choose that this is going to be a completly new system for a building that is going to be build. Otherwise they would have a lot of cables to put in the walls and would have to make a pretty big mess

    That room occupancy system is a cool thing, never thought of that myself. And I was really thinking about how to check whether a room is occupied or not Now I know!

    Auto curtains: I was thinking of a manual/auto switch, so if you like more sunlight you can switch to manual and decided if you want to keep the curtains opened. I might also add sun curtains on the outside and manual curtains on the inside. An ON/OFF switch for the outside curtains would have to be added, so the client can use the hotel system to close them or use his inner curtains to have the right ammount of sunlight inside the room. Will have to think about that.

    I've read about windows that use current to make the glass darker. Should look and work cool.

    Hotel TV also a cool idea and will definetly look into that.

    Thanks for the advice and ideas

    Cheers,
    dsc.

  10. #10
    Automated Home Legend Karam's Avatar
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    Chris makes some very good points wrt hotel application. The benefits you might get from an integrated automation structure are likely not be as great as they are for a home. But the cost need not be very high so perhaps worth investigating for a certain level of hotel.

    On a more general note IDRANet and EIB are both bus based systems rather than ethernet/IP. This means you don't have a hub/router with wires going to all devices. Instead many devices can be connected to the same single cable. Then some form of gateway can be used to connect this subsytem to ethernet. This tends to be a more efficient and agile way of implementing low data content control structures depending on how many devices you want to have interacting with each other rather than just viewing data from them and sending the odd command.

    You (or anyone else) are welcome to PM me with any more specific questions.

    Karam

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