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citizenM outsources complete IT managed services to Swisscom

by david.nunes

The pioneering use of IP networking technology is one of the most striking innovations of the new citizenM Glasgow. A true first in the history of hospitality, Swisscom has combined all of the hotel and guest applications into one IP convergent network infrastructure: The RFID cards that guests use to access their rooms, pay and check out; the mood pads that control the TV and entertainment system, window shades, room ambiance and temperature; the hotel’s wireless IP phone system and  CCTV system. Swisscom moreover enables citizenM to make use of virtualised applications which are hosted outside the physical hotel space and tied into the Swisscom-managed infrastructure.

citizenM Glasgow, which opened last Thursday, provides a compelling case for outsourcing of the whole IT function in a hotel. Acting as a total solution provider, Swisscom optimises the hotel’s operational cost while creating a flexible and scalable solution with a view citizenM’s aggressive global expansion plans.

In autumn 2009, citizenM invited Swisscom to advise on the most efficient use of technology for its Glasgow hotel project. In particular, Swisscom was challenged to define a network environment that would allow citizenM to remove all IT functions from its daily operations. Departing from a forward-looking analysis of the hotel’s technology needs, Swisscom proposed a technology blueprint where the widest number of hotel applications would be integrated into one unified network infrastructure that could be remotely managed through Swisscom’s specialised network operations resources.

Swisscom built the hotel’s IP infrastructure including all network interfaces between its own and the additional, 3rd party guest applications. >From a catalogue of IP-compliant technologies researched by Swisscom, citizenM chose its preferred service providers for its PBX system, the room lighting and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning), while IPTV and HSIA services were sourced from Swisscom directly. Today, Swisscom runs and manages all applications on the citizenM hotel network according to mutually agreed service levels.

“I am very happy to have found a true partner in Swisscom, who views technology as we do as a business enabler rather than as an add-on only”, says Michael Levie, partner and COO of citizenM. “Thanks to Swisscom we are making a quantum leap ahead in terms of efficiency. They are our single partner for all network-related needs; they also manage all 3rd-party providers as they oversee all relevant application interfaces within the Swisscom-managed network. Working with a professional service provider in this specialized area gives us peace of mind and allows us to focus 100% on our guests.”

Swisscom has also enabled the remote hosting of several key applications for citizenM Glasgow, including its Property Management System and its wireless phone system (PBX). This way, the hotel can keep operational cost structures flexible by making use of Software as a Service via the Internet (SaaS). It can also open new properties quickly using the same centralised resources without incurring recurrent installation cost. Adds Michael Levie: “At citizenM, we want the liberty to procure services on demand, and we want to reduce the complexity of our IT operations at property level. The remote hosting of applications clearly serves both intentions. Today, there is simply no need to have all applications and servers on property.

“For this highly innovative project, we had to redefine our role and act as a neutral consultant to the hotelier rather than as a traditional HSIA and IPTV service provider”, explains Leo Brand, CEO of Swisscom Hospitality Services. “Even though we are proud to service citizenM Glasgow with our IPTV and HSIA services, the greatest value-add for citizenM lies in the IP eco-system that we have built, giving them all the flexibility they need to scale and introduce new services. Through this architectural design we offer a level of technology standardization and virtualization to citizenM that many hotel chains today are lacking and could benefit from.”

Leo continues: “With several new properties in its hotel development pipeline, citizenM will want to make even better use of the central allocation of resources that we introduced. I am looking forward to servicing citizenM wherever they go, be it London, New York or Paris.”

About Swisscom Hospitality Services

Swisscom Hospitality Services is a leader in converged technology solutions for the global hospitality industry. We provide hoteliers with integrated cost-effective communication solutions whilst meeting their guests’ unique needs.

We design, build and manage the hotel’s full network infrastructure, laying the foundation for a scalable service environment. Through the networks we manage, we deliver premium guest services such as IPTV, HSIA, branded portals, business center and conference solutions, and we support 3rd party applications to run on the same networks.

Our services cover 2,300 partner locations encompassing more than 275’000 guest rooms across Europe, Middle East and Africa, as well as North America.


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