11/09/2020
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Executive Insight: End-to-End Network Infrastructure

Matthew FitzGerald, Senior Director of Technologies, Deep Blue Communications, A Comcast Business Company

1. How can the right network partner enhance a hospitality brand’s ability to respond to evolving customer expectations?

The pandemic has accelerated the need for digital agility across all industries. The good news is that the hospitality industry was already a leader in digital transformation. With the right technology infrastructure, hotels will be quick to adapt if they are using a provider that can bring a strong network foundation, connect the front of the house to operations, and enable real-time data for analytics and compliance audits. That solution provider needs deep, proven expertise, in technology solutions and comprehensive knowledge of the hospitality industry – from restaurants to hotels to resorts and everything in between.

2. As customers increasingly use mobile devices to drive hospitality experiences, from restaurant orders to hotel check-in, how can operators best deploy and utilize their network?

Important areas of consideration are bandwidth, reliable connectivity, and support of protocols such as WiFi 6/6E, to support investments in the smart hotel and the implementation of Internet of Things technology. The industry will be bringing more devices on to the network to support new health and convenience requirements.  This network must also support new standards in WiFi such as WiFi6/6E to enable a nearly touchless experience. WiFi 6/6E will provide a strong platform will ensure the long-term management, performance, control, and security of the network. Hotels already embraced the use of mobile phones for checking in, checking out, room entry and industry watchers expect the demand for touchless capabilities to only increase.

3. HT’s research confirms that efficient, free Wi-Fi remains a high priority for hotel and restaurant guests. How are technology suppliers helping to meet that demand?

This industry has done a fantastic job with network standards and embracing WiFi. But, managing and securing a private WiFi network while also enabling a WiFi layer with a quality end-user experience requires substantial attention and resources to implement and maintain. A provider needs to bring end-to-end network infrastructure and tools that enable a best in class WiFi experience, allowing for further reach, stronger signals, fewer “dead” zones, and the ability to separate the business traffic from the guest traffic, along with a managed services option to help the hotel GMs manage costs and resources.

4. As we look toward 2021 and hospitality’s “next normal,” what solutions are on the horizon that hold the most promise for efficiency and ROI?

Many technology and business goals will change and evolve going forward.  Networking infrastructure will continue to require investment and intelligent growth approaches.  Having strategic partners helping manage property bandwidth requirements, structured cabling and networking, while focusing on emerging technologies such as WiFi6/6E, SD-WAN, CBRS and more, is necessary to advance your vision.  

New hospitality solutions around hybrid conference services, staff and guest safety (physical and health related), cleaning standards and technology will only increase requirements and demands on your network.  But these services will become a requirement and part of the next normal.  Having a technology partner understands your business and focuses on your success will be instrumental.