Smart Locks: CityCenter Gives Guests the Key to the Future

By John Lowes, Executive Director of Guest Technology, MGM Resorts International | October 21, 2010

When you are setting the hotel industry standards for luxury and prestige, you want to send guests to their room with the most advanced, reliable keycard available. If these new keys are also extremely reliable and the door locking system is integrated with the hotel's guest service network, it creates a unique and inviting experience that adds to each guest's comfort.
 
CityCenter in Las Vegas took action to make ARIA at CityCenter one of the first Las Vegas resorts to install an RFID guest room locking system with benefits that go far beyond security. The company implemented the KABA Saflok Messenger RFID lock system because KABA was able to link the door lock system to the property's guest room network that continually interacts with other guest-facing and security systems to enhance the guest experience.
 
Networked locking delivers limitless guest service opportunities
The hotels in the luxury CityCenter complex are achieving levels of elegance and guest service sophistication with RFID locks from KABA and guestroom network technology from Control4 and Zigbee. CityCenter identified RFID technology for its new hotels because it saw that RFID was extremely reliable and had virtually limitless potential to integrate with the 'smart room' systems that the property was planning to implement.
 
The new RFID system at CityCenter's ARIA Resort & Casino, Vdara Hotel and Spa, and the Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas hotel is part of the most advanced guestroom technology project in the world. All of the nearly 6,000 guest rooms and suites at CityCenter use RFID technology which enables guests to unlock the door by flashing their key over a lock reader. Unlike mag-stripe keys, an RFID key cannot be demagnetized by cell phones or other articles in a guest's pocket or purse. Plus there is no need to move the key in and out of a slot.
 
When a guest unlocks his or her room at a CityCenter location, the Saflok RFID system communicates with the room's wireless network. CityCenter collaborated with Control4 Corporation to develop an unsurpassed level of personalized guest automation. As a guest first opens their door, Saflok sends a message via a Zigbee mesh wireless network to the Control4 in-room controller. This activates a 'welcome theme' if it is the guest's first time in the room. Lights come up; curtains automatically part to showcase the views, and the TV displays a set of controls for guests to personalize.
 
CityCenter's implementation of Zigbee wireless technology is unique in the hotel industry because KABA was able to integrate its door locks with the property's in-room Zigbee infrastructure which created hardware and management efficiencies. The alternative would typically have been for each in-room technology vendor to install their own infrastructure.
 
Other advantages
CityCenter's new RFID system and in-room network also reduces maintenance because RFID locks are sealed with fewer moving parts. Also, since CityCenter's guest rooms and door locks communicate over the property's network, guests can change rooms without requiring a new key. The front desk can also remotely program any door to accept a guest's existing key. This makes it possible for CityCenter's properties to pre-key groups and even issue keys to early arrivals which may be activated when their room is ready.
 

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