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RFID Tracks Luxury Bed Use at Hotels

Elite Beds is using AgoraBee RFID-based technology to capture and access sensor data regarding how often leased beds are used, as well as how much pressure hotel guests put on the mattresses, thereby helping its staff to manage maintenance, turning and cleaning services.
By Claire Swedberg
May 22, 2018

Elite Beds, a Swiss luxury bed company, has developed a hospitality-based leasing model for its mattresses and related products that employs radio frequency identification technology to manage the use and condition of its beds. The system allows Elite Beds to invoice its hotelier customers at a monthly rate that matches the mattresses' use. After offering the system for several years, the firm is now expanding to hotels throughout Europe, as well as partnering with another mattress maker in Mexico.

The Smart Lease solution enables hotels to use the high-quality beds without making large expenditures of buying the beds outright, says François Pugliese, Elite Beds' CEO. AgoraBee sensors, built into each mattress, track how much that mattress is used, the pressure it endures and when it was last flipped.

Elite Beds' François Pugliese
Elite Beds began developing the leasing solution for its customers around 2009, Pugliese says. At the time, the aim was to allow hotels to offer luxury beds for its guests, while paying a monthly (rather than large upfront) cost for those beds. However, if beds are rarely used—for example, during the off-season—Elite wanted to be able to charge customers only for the nights on which each bed was used, and also to understand how much pressure the beds experience under the guests' weight.

Without RFID technology, the company would have to base its billing simply on trust, and would require hotel managers to record and forward data regarding the number of occupancies per room each month. RFID makes the capturing and collection of such data automatic. Elite Beds began working with AgoraBee, which developed sensors and software to manage sensor data specifically for the hotel's use case. The system was taken live in 2012.

First, a hotel selects the mattresses it plans to use, along with related products such as box springs and mattress pads. A high-end mattress typically costs only about 50 cents per night, the company reports. Each mattress comes with a built-in AgoraBee active UHF RFID sensor, says Louis Harik, AgoraBee's head of research and development, which is not visible and tends to be located on the side of the mattress. The mattress has a verticality and motion sensor built in, as well as an RFID transponder. When the mattress is flipped from one side to the other, the verticality sensor detects that change in orientation. If someone lies on the bed, the pressure and motion sensor detects that activity, as well as the amount of strain the mattress is under.

Each sensor is linked to a specific mattress in a particular room, so that Elite Beds can track the use of every mattress and, based on guest activities, schedule maintenance, flipping and disinfection. For billing processes, the system tracks whether or not each bed was used, while for maintenance, Elite Beds benefits from knowing how much activity has taken place; that activity, however, is not linked to a particular guest.

Data is captured on a customized AgoraBee Krypton sensor, which has a battery life of approximately 12 years. The information is then forwarded to an AgoraBee IXCODE receiver via UHF RFID. Typically, hotels require a single receiver on each floor. At smaller hotels, one receiver may be used for the entire facility. That receiver can then send data back to AgoraBee software residing on Elite Beds' server, via a cellular connection.

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