Company size: Four commercial hotels, three resorts
Location: Taipei, Taiwan
Global climate change is not only impacting the planet, but also people's lives. For the hospitality industry, unpredictable weather patterns and fast-changing temperatures can make guests uncomfortable and drive excessive energy consumption. For more than three decades, the Howard Hotel has consistently focused on offering the highest-quality guest experience, keeping visitors comfortable at all times while efficiently managing energy use.
Founded in 1984, the five-star hotel chain operates four commercial hotels in Taipei, Hsinchu, Taichung, and Kaohsiung, as well as three resort properties. In the past, hotel staff manually operated air conditioning, lighting, air exhaust, water supply and drainage, and other devices. Staff were assigned to monitor and adjust environmental systems on a regular basis, based on changes in the climate and the number of hotel visitors. If a hotel room's temperature changed rapidly, it often took time for a guest to adjust the room's thermostat to a more suitable level.
Efficiency is another top priority for Howard Hotel. During peak usage periods in summer, air conditioning constitutes up to 60 percent of total energy consumption. When drainage, ventilation,and lighting systems are considered, the number can soar to 70 percent. The average montly costs of electricity during this four-month peak period are approximately NT $1 million—a major part of the hotel's operating expenditure.
The Howard Hotel organization needed a solution that could provide precise control over energy consumption devices, to improve the customer experience as well as reduce expenses.
To enable the hotel to meet these challenges, Cisco Customer Experience and e-Formula Technologies Inc. teamed up to introduce a smart energy solution at Howard Hotel Hsinchu Branch. At the core is a smart energy management (EMS) system that combines IoT and artificial intelligence to collect real-time data such as temperature, fan speed, humidity, and other metrics from devices like air conditioning, pumps, exhaust fans, and other systems.
After sensors on the devices acquire the data, it is sent to the EMS cloud "brain" for processing by the hotel's e-FOM backbone system. The solution lets hotel managers easily view energy consumption details for all the monitored devices in a mobile app or browser, for full insight into the facility's energy consumption. It operates smoothly with programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and direct digital controls (DDCs) in devices to enable remote operation and real-time regulation and control for devices with abnormal data. It also enables related devices to be controlled together in complex ways, to maximize energy-saving benefits.
Cisco Customer Experience and e-Formula Technologies Inc.'s team inspected the Howard Hotel Hsinchu branch to collect data on the actual efficiency and power consumption of freezers, air-conditioning, and other devices in the hotel. After gaining insight into the facility's energy consumption, a professional assessment report was issued, and the energy system transformation plan and objectives were formulated. "Our assessment report to our customers estimates that the hotel can achieve 38 percent cost savings on air conditioning," said David Chen, General Manager of Energy BU, e-Formula Technologies Inc.
Together Cisco Customer Experience and e-Formula Technologies Inc. took time to understand the hotel's needs, developed a detailed proposal, and led the installation, deployment, and onboarding of the solution. Offering a lifecycle approach, Cisco and e-Formula continue to work closely with Howard Hotel to continuously optimize the system after adoption. The end-to-end solution not only accelerates the time to value of the hotel's investment, it also enables them to realize immediate, measurable benefits.
The solution rapidly improved operational efficiency at the Hsinchu branch. Thanks to the upgraded energy management system, as well as the end-to-end services offered by Cisco Customer Experience and e-Formula, hotel staff were able to quickly begin using the new solution. The administrative interface displays ambient temperature, humidity, and other device metrics, updating numerical values and corresponding colors as the cloud system intelligently regulates it remotely. In addition, automated regulation has resulted in a significant reduction in human involvement, reducing the latency and error rate of manual operations while also saving unnecessary labor costs.
Monthly electricity charges at the Hsinchu branch of Howard Hotel also declined substantially. The average energy consumption per month is down by 40 percent, and overall power consumption is reduced by 20 percent during the summer peak energy consumption season, saving NT $200,000 for each peak energy consumption period.
"The smart energy system is self-learning and self-optimizing based on the on-premises conditions, so the best performance is achieved roughly six to 12 months after it starts to operate, according to our experience," said Chen. "It achieves energy savings of 40 percent today, which can become 45 or even 50 percent in the future to achieve the best energy efficiency. "
For Howard Hotel, the most important beneficiaries of its energy management upgrade are its guests. With a 24x7 automated system control, even if the environment or number of guests changes dramatically, artificial intelligence automatically adjusts air conditioning temperature to its optimal state, to ensure a consistently superior experience.
"Our guests want to enjoy a good night's sleep, and our Cisco solution provides a comprehensive improvement in our air-conditioning system," said Liao Hsiu Mei, Managing Director of the Howard Hotel Group. "Customers feel the most comfortable in our hotel's environment at any time, and they can control room temperature themselves to suit their preferences."
Liao Hsiu Mei believes that the comfortable temperature and improved air quality will ensure every guest feels thoroughly happy, both physically and mentally.
“All of us must focus on global climate change, and our hotel enables us to put this focus into action. Through innovative smart building applications and other solutions, Cisco will help us move toward a more innovative place.”-Liao Hsiu Mei, Managing Director of Howard Hotel Group
Liao Hsiu Mei believes that the hotel's Cisco solution has dramatically enhanced its competitiveness. "Competition is fierce in the hospitality industry," said Mei. "The Cisco solution enables us to update our hotel hardware, reduce OPEX, and offer our customers a refreshing experience, so we can compete more effectively. All of us must focus on global climate change, and our hotel enables us to put this focus into action. Through innovative smart building applications and other solutions, Cisco will help us move toward a more innovative place."
The Howard Hotel Group will continue to upgrade energy management in its other branches and is also exploring Cisco solutions to enhance its network, information security, and other key priorities.