Megapixel cameras enable hotel to provide relaxing, secure experience
World-class service, sublime surroundings and luxury within reach are all things you’ll find at Davenport Hotels in downtown Spokane, Wash. The four-hotel collection runs the gamut from classic to contemporary, full-size to boutique, and historic to modern. Guests can enjoy luxurious spa, wedding, and business facilities, as well as some of the best dining in Spokane.
Opened in June 2015, the new 716 room Davenport Grand Hotel offers a unique alternative for travelers who seek a reprieve from the traditional, uninspiring hotel experience. The Davenport Grand provides a lifestyle hotel experience in a highly social atmosphere rich in cutting-edge design, energy and comfort. Crafted to appeal to both business and leisure travelers, the Davenport Grand combines the dynamic qualities of urban living with best-in-industry services and amenities in a unique setting. The Davenport Grand embraces the glorious past of the Davenport Hotel with a bold, modern spirit and joins the historic Davenport Hotel, Davenport Tower and Davenport Lusso family.
REPLACING THE ANALOG
Davenport Hotels has relied on an analog video surveillance system for the existing hotel facilities and structures. For the new Davenport Grand Hotel, hotel management wanted to ensure the safety and security of its guests, employees, and visitors while helping to prevent theft and other loss.
It was important to be able to capture images of the vehicles that come and go from the public garage used by hotel guests to better deal with potential vehicle damage claims, which is a common issue in the hospitality industry.
Each of the Davenport Grand’s planned camera applications requires highly-detailed video, and the management team knew from the start that an analog surveillance system would not be sufficient.
“We have other hotels that have analog cameras installed, so getting a more current system with clarity was a priority. We decided we’re not going to invest in an older system,” said Kevin Miller, corporate director of security for the Davenport Collection of Properties.
Instead, an IP megapixel surveillance camera solution was required.
LEVERAGING MEGAPIXEL TECHNOLOGY
Working with Spokane-based security firm A-TEC, the hotel narrowed its potential choices down to three camera vendors, each of which submitted a bid for the video surveillance system project. After evaluating all of the products included in the bids, the hotel chose IP megapixel cameras from Arecont Vision, primarily based on image quality. Exacq was chosen as the video management software.
“If we’re going to build a new surveillance system, we need to make sure that if we have an incident, we can actually see who was involved,” Miller said. “We wanted an innately high-quality, flexible solution.”
Hotel management had a system design in mind, which Kevin Jetton, A-TEC’s president, was able to refine based on what he saw after touring the facility. According to Jetton, the changes were largely based on the ability to cut the hotel’s costs without sacrificing camera coverage.
“We pride ourselves on determining what the areas of concern are, how we are going to address them, and what cameras will do the best job,” Jetton said. “We realized we could incorporate SurroundVideo Omni and other megapixel cameras to lower the camera count and increase overall views.”
Before moving forward with the modified design, A-TEC set up a software solution in conjunction with demo cameras provided by Kyle Kayler of Arecont Vision. These were used for test shots to provide to hotel management the types of views they would be able to get with the cameras Jetton recommended.
“Once we were able to get it all set up and show them what they were going to get with the reduced camera counts and increased camera views, they were definitely on board,” Jetton said. “I knew what solution needed to be proposed. My partnership with Arecont Vision is unprecedented, and I knew that presenting the Davenport with this solution was going to be a success because we were all working together.”
THE INDIVIDUAL CAMERA
The overall installation included nearly 70 cameras, all of which were deployed to suit the individual areas in which they were to be used. The installed cameras come from several Arecont Vision family models, including the MicroDome, MegaBall, SurroundVideo and MegaDome.
Throughout the installation, Jetton remained in close contact with Miller and hotel management to ensure that they knew the details of the project’s progress and to demonstrate the evolving system as cameras were deployed. Stuart Wells of A-TEC led the onsite installation and integration of the system, working with the Davenport team.
“A-TEC actually did test shots for us before the hotel was even finished so we could see the exact depth, range, and view that we were going to get with each camera,” Miller said.
Davenport Hotels had a number of safety and security goals for its new surveillance system in the Davenport Grand. Hotel management wanted to ensure that the cameras wouldn’t be the first thing guests noticed. With their high quality and their sleek, unobtrusive design, the cameras have met those needs.
“We certainly didn’t want to give people the feeling that they’re being watched throughout the hotel,” Miller said. “We really like how the low profile of the cameras and the multi-sensor capabilities enabled us to use just one camera opposed to four separate ones.”
Shortly after the installation was completed, Jetton conducted a test to see just how unobtrusive the surveillance system was.
“I took two visitors with me to do a walk-through of the hotel when the installation was first completed and I challenged them to find the cameras. On many different occasions they didn’t even notice that they were in the camera views,” he said. “People are there to relax and enjoy their time away; they don’t want to feel like they are being watched by cameras.”
The cameras have allowed the Davenport Grand to take a more proactive and preventative approach to security, something that would have been missing from an analog surveillance system.
“We can see activity and hopefully stop and report behavior to prevent things from happening,” Miller said. In terms of return on investment, the ability to avoid claims for which the hotel isn’t responsible has been a major benefit of the new system in the Davenport Grand. This has been particularly the case with the vehicle valet service.
“With the valet service, customers will come in and claim that marks on their vehicle weren’t there when they arrived, and quite honestly, they may believe that’s true. We’re able to look at the video and say with confidence whether the mark was there when he or she arrived at the hotel,” Miller said.
The cameras have helped with a number of instances of items disappearing from the exterior of the hotel. In one example, the Davenport Grand was able to provide the local police department with video which led to the items being returned and the thieves apprehended.
In addition to the Davenport Grand’s potential cost reduction from a lower camera count, savings were realized in other areas as a result of the new surveillance system which is monitored on the premises.
“What’s really nice is there are certain employees who can actually view the cameras from several different locations in real time or in playback,” Miller said. “These cameras help reduce our on-floor manpower and increase our effectiveness because there can be one person on the floor and another person who is watching the cameras, who can cover 10 times more area than one person can on foot.”