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Emirates Palace first hotel in Middle East to deploy gigabit Wi-Fi
Aruba Networks has announced that Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi is the first hotel in the Middle East to deploy a 802.11ac wireless network allowing guests to use gigabit Wi-Fi across the sprawling property.
Commenting on his organization's decision to adopt the latest in wireless networking technologies, Mehmet Akdeniz, Director of IT and AV at Emirates Palace said, "When we noticed that guest usage of bandwidth-hungry mobile applications was becoming a norm, we committed to deploying a solution that would meet their high expectations for the next four to five years. This is why we opted for Aruba's gigabit Wi-Fi solution."
Emirates Palace deployed an Aruba 7220 series Mobility Controller and over 1000 Aruba AP-225 wireless access points across the expansive property over a two month period to avoid inconvenience to guests. The hotel also implemented Aruba's AirWave Network Management platform, which delivers visibility into all devices and connections on the wireless network thus allowing administrators to proactively plan for capacity, visualize client performance and troubleshoot application issues.
While the most noticeable benefit of the new system was the increase in capacity from 54Mbps to 1.3Gbps, the centralized nature of the solution proved to be an appealing feature for the IT team. The Aruba 7220 series Mobility Controller has completely eliminated manual configuration of individual access points and has even automated software updates of all the Aruba 225 APs. Furthermore, with solution features such as white list co-ordination, valid AP lists, control plane security (CPsec) certificates and wireless intrusion detection and coordination, Emirates Palace has now achieved the highest level of security for its wireless network.
Akdeniz believes that the Aruba solution will now allow the hotel to deliver new features and capabilities to its guests. While the wireless infrastructure is currently used to support Internet services, point of sales and digital signage, the new network can allow a complete range of cutting-edge guest services. Emirates Palace already has plans under way to offer IPTV, online gaming for children, Internet music streaming and smart device-controlled operation of in-room entertainment. All of these services will rely heavily on the abundant availability of bandwidth - something that the Aruba Networks 802.11ac solution will provide for the foreseeable future.
"In the hospitality sector today, simply providing wireless is practically a given. But not all wireless is equal and this is something that our guests will be able to recognize instantly. We now have a solution that enables us to improve their experience in ways that they have not even considered as of yet. This is the kind of service excellence that Emirates Palace is synonymous with and we are happy to say that Aruba has been an enabler of our success," concluded Akdeniz.
Tujia, China's version of Airbnb, threat to hotel operators
The global trend known as the sharing economy has come to China almost 65 years after the Communist Party took power. The short-stay model run by Beijing-based Tujia Technology (Beijing) Co., which started two years ago and now lists more than 80,000 places for rent in China and abroad, is taking advantage of idle properties held by homeowners, simultaneously helping drive sales of second homes on promises of rental income and property management services for their sometimes far-away investments.
Unlike Airbnb Inc., which in the U.S. has drawn the attention of New York enforcement agencies for not paying hotel occupancy taxes, Tujia has so far remained free of regulatory hurdles. It collects the money and pays all hotel levies as well as taxes on the rental income on behalf of property owners.
Tujia's listings on more than 3,000 properties it manages and is contracted to find renters for were occupied for more than 70 percent of the year in 2013, according to Tony Tang, Tujia's spokesman. Registered members exceed 400,000, he said, declining to disclose how many renters have booked stays.
"Tujia is not very big yet, but it will have a relatively big impact on three-star or lower hotels in tourist destinations" such as Home Inns & Hotels Management Inc. (HMIN), Owen Yang, vice president of Shenzhen-based United Hotel Consultancy Co., said in a phone interview, citing price competitiveness. "Some shrewd hotel operators have already realized the threat."
Tujia's deeper involvement in property rental and management than San Francisco-based Airbnb and other online rental sites that only provide a customer-to-customer platform helps bridge a lack of trust between Chinese property owners and renters and expedites transactions, according to Shanghai-based iResearch Consulting Group. Its focus on higher-end apartments makes Tujia's model less-risky and more-profitable, while a concentration of properties in the same complexes enables less-costly and more-efficient management.
Tujia's rental revenue exceeded 100 million yuan last year, while income from management and housekeeping services for 150,000 mostly high-end properties including those owned by Chinese who don't want overnight guests is "even bigger," according to Luo.
The company takes a 10 percent rental commission on listed Chinese properties it doesn't actively manage, as well as those posted by overseas affiliates, such as Austin, Texas-based HomeAway Inc. (AWAY), which amalgamates vacation home rentals through partners worldwide and is the main competitor of Airbnb.
Tujia has agreements with developers for about 300 projects, averaging 500 homes each, and "another 900 projects" in the pipeline, Luo said. For now, Tujia faces no real competition as it expands.
Read the full story at Bloomberg.com
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