R&M’s global headquarters in Binzstrasse, Switzerland

REICHLE & De-Massari (R&M) AG, developer and manufacturer of passive cabling solutions for communication networks, says quality cabling infrastructure in a hospitality property is the “technological foundation” of excellent service.

“The benefits of a solid structured cabling backbone extend well beyond providing just fast and reliable internet access. It opens up the possibility to incorporate new bandwidth hungry technologies such as IP-based phones, digital entertainment and on-demand services and even backend facility management and building management systems,” says R&M’s office in this region.

“These applications require large amounts of bandwidth to be made available at all locations of the hotel over a very reliable connection. With confidence in the system’s ability to scale and accommodate rapid changes and requirements, the hotel can quickly differentiate itself as an early adopter of world-class technologies.”

Reports such as Google’s annual Mobile Planet smartphone study show that the Middle East leads the world in terms of smartphone penetration and usage, which is why it comes as little surprise that providing a high-speed internet service is an essential pre-requisite to customer satisfaction, the company says.

“Social media is now as much a part of the vacation experience as a sightseeing tour or an authentic local meal. Holiday makers are eager to share real-time updates of their vacation with their near and dear ones. So much so that the SpringHill Suites Annual Travel Survey revealed that an astonishing 57 per cent of guests would not give up social media on vacation in exchange for a 25 per cent hotel discount.”

R&M recently implemented its first CAT6A UTP ISO integrated solution in the Middle East, Turkey and Africa at the Millennium Hotel in Amman, Jordan. The end-to-end cabling provided by the company is a high-performance, high-security solution which meets all the connectivity requirements of the hotel. R&M even customised its products as per design specifications of the Italian standard faceplates put forth by the hotel designer.

In addition to hospitality, R&M’s extensive portfolio of over 5000 customisable fibre optic and copper products sees application in a wide range of vertical markets including residential, office cabling, education, transportation, utilities, telecom, city development, industrial, petrochemical, energy, healthcare, and defence.

Vahid: change in mindset

The Middle East, Turkey and Africa area is one of the fastest growing regions for R&M. The company has established a local presence in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, Oman, Iraq, Egypt and, most recently, Turkey.

Shibu Vahid, head of technical operations at R&M Middle East, Turkey and Africa, says that in a world of increasingly tech-savvy consumers, high-speed internet connectivity becomes the link to information that is demanded at a moment’s notice. The technology that supports this is now as much a part of the service equation as a well-trained housekeeping staff. Building the backbone that will not only support the current demands but also generate new opportunities to deliver differentiating services is therefore a must. Once this is understood, the role of structured cabling in the hospitality sector becomes evident.

“A sturdy cabling backbone can facilitate the uptake of a number of user-friendly applications. It can pave the way for media-rich entertainment services such as IPTV. Property owners can create entirely new ways to engage with customers through social media channels. Meeting rooms can be revamped with state-of-the-art global conferencing facilities and digital signage,” says Vahid.

“Today, guests are well versed with interactive interfaces having utilised mobile applications to meet a number of their daily requirements. Structured cabling can help extend upon this behaviour, allowing property owners to install self-service kiosks which not only appeal to guests but also reduce the strain on staff during peak operating periods. The latest security and surveillance technologies incumbent on high-speed networks can also be easily integrated to reduce the risk of both theft and loss.

“Up until high-speed internet services became so widely demanded, cabling in hotels was installed to meet the needs of each individual facility with seldom a thought given to the ‘bigger picture’. These cabling components were often selected solely on price with little consideration for the long term utility of the network. The result has been crisscrossing cabling, retrofit technology and layouts which give network planners sleepless nights.

“Fortunately, this mentality is changing and structured cabling is now considered as vital to a building as any other utility system such as electrical or water supply.”

The official commented that structured cabling acts as the information transport backbone for all low voltage systems and can address the current and future requirements from numerous end devices. These include communications, entertainment appliances, monitoring and surveillance systems, access control, signage, electronic central clock systems, environmental monitoring and even building management systems.

“Unlike office buildings and commercial properties, changes to layout and design in hotels can seldom be performed without a significant impact on the aesthetic appeal and comfort of guests. This makes the process of structured cabling planning and design for this industry a formidable challenge.”