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New York Hotels Use RF Technologies' RTLS to Secure Staff

About 45 hotels to date are installing the company's HelpAlert system, including The Kitano New York, and some are integrating alerts with video camera imagery.
By Claire Swedberg

In a second option, a key and pendant are attached to a key ring that an individual picks up upon reporting to work, and there is thus no specific association between that person and the pendant's ID. With that option, if a worker presses the pendant's button, authorized staff members would receive an alert displaying only the employee's location, but not his or her name or photograph.

When a pendant's button is pressed, a small red LED on the device is illuminated. An e-mail or text message is sent to the phones of security guards or other personnel, while any PCs running PinPoint software on office computers will display the alert as well. Any individuals viewing the alert on the software can then press a prompt to acknowledge receipt, and that status is forwarded via a Wi-Fi connection to the pendant, which changes its light from red to green, thereby discretely letting the individual in distress know that help is on the way.

RF Technologies' HelpAlert app enables users of Apple iPhones or iPads to receive alerts triggered when a pendant's HelpAlert tag alarm button is pressed.
With the latest version of PinPoint, the hotels have an additional tool. Once a pendant's button is pressed, a hotel can use the PinPoint software to view video footage from the four closest cameras, in order to help identify what is happening at that location. Some hotels are now installing RF Technologies' asset tags or pendants to take advantage of this function. For instance, if there is a problem at the front desk, four cameras are likely to be recording video in that area, and the collected data can be very useful to security. A pendant could be attached under a desk, or on a wall near an elevator, providing workers with other options for summoning help.

With the app, users can view the name and photo of the worker who has pressed the alert pendant tag button (provided that the hotel is using the system in that way), and can also see where that individual is located. Furthermore, the app's users can select a prompt indicating that they are responding to the call. Assuming that the hotel had integrated the PinPoint 2.2 software with its video cameras, they would also be able to view any real-time camera images.

The Kitano New York, a hotel located in midtown Manhattan, launched the system three weeks ago to provide the necessary security for staff members as they work throughout the building. As many as 30 workers are attaching the HelpAlert pendant tags to their belts or aprons, according to Ken Kilimet, Kitano's director of security. When a staff member begins a shift, the security department manually records that worker's name, along with his or her pendant ID number, but the software does not keep track of who has each pendant. The important detail for the security department, Kilimet explains, is knowing that an employee has pressed a pendant alert button, and where that happened. Once the button is pressed, he says, he can track that worker's location and movements. The Kitano New York is not using the technology with camera integration.

While the housekeeping staff all wear the pendants, Kilimet notes, he is also encouraging every desk staff and sales member to carry one when alone with guests—for instance, when showing them a room. "Nobody's needed it yet," he says, indicating that there have not been any incidents either before or after the system's installation. "It's good for us though," he says, since it provides an added level of security in the event that an incident does occur.

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