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Hospitality solutions should provide comfort and save costs

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In order to meet the ever growing demands of today’s travellers, technology in abundance is what makes a hotel function in modern times, writes MIKE VAN LIER, Director of Enterprise Business Division at Samsung Electronics South Africa.

From the moment a guest checks into a hotel until the time they leave, they encounter technology on various levels. Some are plainly obvious, such as screens and PCs installed at the reception desk, but there are also the not-so-obvious technology that makes guests’ stay more pleasurable, but they are unaware of it.

Nowadays every guest expects Wi-Fi when booking into a hotel. It has become an accepted standard and something that can’t do without. However, what might not be so clear is that once guests enter the hotel’s Wi-Fi environment, their mobile phone can be converted into a seamless extension of the hotel’s internal switchboard or PABX. This renders hostel guests’ communication fast and efficient. Apart from being a useful and time-saving service to guests, this system offers the hotel management and staff benefits as well. Likewise, in the background the hotel employees are able to communicate with each other via their mobile phones, without the exorbitant costs of cellphone call fees. This can amount to huge cost savings for the hotel, considering the number of calls between staff on a daily basis. Samsung’s Fixed Mobile Convergence, PABX and Wi-Fi solutions afford hotels and the hospitality industry this functionality.

Large format display screens are becoming much more prevalent in hotels and restaurants globally. These displays offer the perfect solution to present a myriad of information, such as conferences which might be taking place at a hotel or the foreign currency rates of exchange. All of these displays care controlled from a central point within the hotel that allows for comfortable and effective content management.

In addition, some hotels that have adopted Samsung’s Large Format Displays have used these to function as digital wall paper that can be changed to reflect any mood, season or event taking place in their lobbies, such as the Metropolitan hotel in Las Vegas.

The TV is another discreet technology that can be found within hotel rooms. Once guests enter their bedroom they expect a television set. Samsung’s unique range of Hotel TVs not only allow guests to watch normal programming and movies, but also to wirelessly connect their IOS and Android smart devices to play back their own music and videos on the TV ― known as BYOD (bring your own device). Through this solution guests are given more freedom and control over what content they want to consume and when they wish to consume it. In addition the hotel TVs can display the hotel’s entire directory of services that can easily be navigated by guests using the remote control. The traditional Guest Service Booklet in the hotel room can now be trashed and recycled in favour of a more current, eco-friendly and effective Samsung hotel TV solution.

Comfort is important within the hospitality industry and air-conditioning is most often overlooked in this instance. Air-conditioning consume huge amounts of energy leading to increased costs for a hotel. Samsung’s air-conditioning system however, provides an excellent energy efficient way of heating or cooling. Room air-conditioning settings as well as settings for public spaces in the hotel can be changed from a central point, either from within the hotel or from another location off-site.

Hotels are notoriously high paper usage environments with masses of staff carrying clip boards with endless check lists and reports. The large paper consumption should be a concern, as consumers are becoming more eco-friendly and actively seeking service providers who share the same belief. System printing solutions aimed at decreasing paper wastage and reducing printing costs is therefore a good investment. Samsung’s cloud and Tap & Print technology, using near field communications (NFC) not only benefits employees and the hotel, but also allows guests to securely print their documents at the hotel’s business center.

The hotel business has definitely expanded from its earlier sole provision of accommodation. There is now much more to consider in running such an enterprise effectively. Technology, visible or hidden, can play a big role in making the venture a success.

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Bring your network with you

At last week’s Critical Communications World, Motorola unveiled the LXN 500 LTE Ultra Portable Network Infrastructure. It allows rescue personal to set up dedicated LTE networks for communication in an emergency, writes SEAN BACHER.

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In the event of an emergency, communications are absolutely critical, but the availability of public phone networks are limited due to weather conditions or congestion.

Motorola realised that this caused a problem when trying to get rescue personnel to those in need and so developed its LXN 500 LTE Ultra Portable Network Infrastructure. The product is the smallest and lightest full powered broadband network to date and allows the first person on the scene to set up an LTE network in a matter of minutes, allowing other rescue team members to communicate with each other.

“The LXN 500 weighs six kilograms and comes in a backpack with two batteries. It offers a range of 1km and allows up to 100 connections at the same time. However, in many situations the disaster area may span more than 1km which is why they can be connected to each other in a mesh formation,” says Tunde Williams, Head of Field and Solutions Marketing EMEA, Motorola Solutions.

The LXN 500 solution offers communication through two-way radios, and includes mapping, messaging, push-to-talk, video and imaging features onboard, thus eliminating the need for any additional hardware.

Data collected on the device can then be sent through to a central control room where an operator can deploy additional rescue personnel where needed. Once video is streamed into the control room, realtime analytics and augmented reality can be applied to it to help predict where future problem points may arise. Video images and other multimedia can also be made available for rescuers on the ground.

“Although the LXN 500 was designed for the seamless communications between on ground rescue teams and their respective control rooms, it has made its way into the police force and in places where there is little or no cellular signal such as oil rigs,” says Williams.

He gave a hostage scenario: “In the event of a hostage situation, it is important for the police to relay information in realtime to ensure no one is hurt. However the perpetrators often use their mobile phones to try and foil any rescue attempts. Should the police have the correct partnerships in place they are able to disable cellular towers in the vicinity, preventing any in or outgoing calls on a public network and allowing the police get their job done quickly and more effectively.”

By disabling any public networks in the area, police are also able to eliminate any cellular detonated bombs from going off but still stay in touch with each other he says.

The LXN 500 offers a wide range of mission critical cases and is sure to transform communications and improve safety for first responders and the people they are trying to protect.

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Kaspersky moves to Switzerland

As part of its Global Transparency Initiative, Kaspersky Lab is adapting its infrastructure to move a number of core processes from Russia to Switzerland.

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This includes customer data storage and processing for most regions, as well as software assembly, including threat detection updates. To ensure full transparency and integrity, Kaspersky Lab is arranging for this activity to be supervised by an independent third party, also based in Switzerland.

Global transparency and collaboration for an ultra-connected world

The Global Transparency Initiative, announced in October 2017, reflects Kaspersky Lab’s ongoing commitment to assuring the integrity and trustworthiness of its products. The new measures are the next steps in the development of the initiative, but they also reflect the company’s commitment to working with others to address the growing challenges of industry fragmentation and a breakdown of trust. Trust is essential in cybersecurity, and Kaspersky Lab understands that trust is not a given; it must be repeatedly earned through transparency and accountability.

The new measures comprise the move of data storage and processing for a number of regions, the relocation of software assembly and the opening of the first Transparency Center.

Relocation of customer data storage and processing

By the end of 2019, Kaspersky Lab will have established a data center in Zurich and in this facility, will store and process all information for users in Europe, North America, Singapore, Australia, Japan and South Korea, with more countries to follow. This information is shared voluntarily by users with the Kaspersky Security Network (KSN) an advanced, cloud-based system that automatically processes cyberthreat-related data.

Relocation of software assembly

Kaspersky Lab will relocate to Zurich its ‘software build conveyer’ — a set of programming tools used to assemble ready to use software out of source code. Before the end of 2018, Kaspersky Lab products and threat detection rule databases (AV databases) will start to be assembled and signed with a digital signature in Switzerland, before being distributed to the endpoints of customers worldwide. The relocation will ensure that all newly assembled software can be verified by an independent organisation and show that software builds and updates received by customers match the source code provided for audit.

Establishment of the first Transparency Center

The source code of Kaspersky Lab products and software updates will be available for review by responsible stakeholders in a dedicated Transparency Center that will also be hosted in Switzerland and is expected to open this year. This approach will further show that generation after generation of Kaspersky Lab products were built and used for one purpose only: protecting the company’s customers from cyberthreats.

Independent supervision and review

Kaspersky Lab is arranging for the data storage and processing, software assembly, and source code to be independently supervised by a third party qualified to conduct technical software reviews. Since transparency and trust are becoming universal requirements across the cybersecurity industry, Kaspersky Lab supports the creation of a new, non-profit organisation to take on this responsibility, not just for the company, but for other partners and members who wish to join.

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