The Platform vs. the Point Solution

The hospitality industry is facing a legislative tidal wave.  Over the past five years, more cities have passed legislation requiring hotel brands to use technology to ensure workers’ safety.  This new “Panic Button” legislation centers on implementing technology on hotel grounds that ensures that the management is notified immediately when staff members face a safety issue.  

In the past, a ‘Panic Button’ was typically a simple noise-making device that would emit a loud sound that would alert people within earshot of the alerting device.  Such a device would not be compliant with the new legislative requirements.  Specifically, today’s legislation requires hospitality brands to install panic button systems that can advise management of the exact floor and room where the staff member is located when they are in need.  This requirement is shaking up the industry because it can no longer pay lip service to its staff’s safety needs by offering simple noise makers as ‘panic buttons’.  Gone are the days when participating in the safety pledge around workers’ safety did not require sophisticated technology to address an ever-broadening issue.  

No one would argue that keeping workers safe is not critical.  Implementing solutions that can accurately and precisely locate team members in need can be a game changer for attracting and keeping talent on your property.  But in a world where profitability in the hotel industry is razor thin and hotel managers charged with maintaining a profitable balance sheet are constantly looking for ways to reduce costs, installing a panic button system seems like a non-productive way to use up valuable dollars. This tension between legislative imperatives and the pressure to stay profitable is driving several establishments to resort to ‘point’ solutions – systems that narrowly address the letter of the panic button legislation but do little else. Such solutions, while compliant, are not always the most cost-effective tradeoff.  

IoT panic button systems were meant for bigger things

When the IoT revolution began, its promise was massive.  The innovators dreamed of us living in a world where all the devices around us would become “smart”, capturing behaviors of those using them, warning us when they were about to have issues, or even capturing information critical to helping companies save money.  And today, much of this is a reality and IoT has changed how we interact with the devices around us.  So how did the hotel industry get stuck with a solution so primitive – either an old-fashioned noise-making device or a panic button good for only one thing?  Well, in some ways the industry panicked in reacting to the time constraints introduced around a need that governments and workers agree is important – their safety.  As an industry, there is a need to align with the legislation being implemented from city to city, but the question each property member should ask themselves is can I get more bang for my buck from IoT?

Enter the IoT platform

IoT devices are only as good as the brain they are connected to.  If the IoT brain is capable of connecting to many instruments that do a wide number of things, then you can design a more robust offering for the hotel community.  Imagine what other problems could be solved if you could have a “panic button” for other key parts of your property.  What else could you dream about?  Below are some other ideas that could help increase the ROI of installing a panic button system, if it did more.  

  1. Panic Buttons – To warn you where and when staff needs you.
  2. Water Leak Detection – Learning where a leak is precise to avoid damage to your property. 
  3. Hand Sanitizing Dispensers – Know when they need to be refilled to ensure your guests are safe from germs.
  4. Air Quality Alerts – Know where and when air quality changes warrant attention.
  5. Waste Can Monitors – Know when trash cans need attention out of normal rotations.
  6. Anti-Theft Devices – Get notified when valued items leave a room in order to reduce loss.
  7. Contextual Video – Automatically switch to the video feed that is most relevant to a safety alert

A platform approach to protecting your property will go a long way to making your panic button investment more fruitful and valuable.  The hotel industry can be innovative in how it brings its properties into legislative compliance.  There is no need to be reactive by investing in a point solution that only solves a mandatory need when you can be strategic by thinking about how to get the most bang for your buck.  The safety of your staff is critical but expanding that imperative to your building, guests, and property will make your investment even smarter in the long run.

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