Las Vegas hotel to deliver IoT-enabled smart rooms

Downtown Grand Hotel & Casino, a boutique hospitality and entertainment destination in downtown Las Vegas, is using Aruba’s wireless, wired, security and location services products to bring new services to its guests. Aruba is a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company. 

The Downtown Grand has been an Aruba customer for many years, but in 2016, Erik Gavilanes, area director of IT,  made a decision to standardize on Aruba infrastructure when the property began planning for a major upgrade.

Currently, Aruba Wi-Fi covers the property’s indoor and outdoor spaces, including the pool deck and a section of 3rd Street that runs between the Downtown Grand’s buildings that is the frequent site of music, art, food and entertainment events. 

With the upgrade, the hotel will install high-speed, location-ready Aruba 802.11ac Wave 2 access points to transform every hotel room into “smart rooms” with location-based services and Internet of Things capabilities. New access points also will be installed to provide better coverage, performance and services for their outdoor spaces. 

In addition, the hotel will use all-Aruba solutions in its new tower, which is scheduled to open in 2020 and add nearly 500 guestrooms, bringing the property’s total to 1,100 rooms.

Working with Summit Partners of Las Vegas, the Downtown Grand also has deployed Aruba network switches to securely connect the property’s IP surveillance cameras, Aruba AirWave for wired and wireless network management, and Aruba ClearPass for simple-to-use guest Wi-Fi.

“Wi-Fi is a necessity for any hotel to stay competitive, particularly in Las Vegas,” Gavilanes said in a statement. “With Aruba, we have the added benefits of using access points that are location-ready and include built-in [Bluetooth Low Energy] beacons and extra ports that allow us to plug in other IoT devices in the rooms without running additional cabling.” He added, “Location-based services are very important for us [because] they can be used to enhance our staffs’ and guests’ physical security as well as deliver a wealth of new guest services options.”

Because Aruba’s solutions are built on an open, multivendor platform, Gavilanes said the integration with the hotel’s existing systems, as well as those it plans to adopt in the future, is simple and cost-effective.

Gavilanes and his team also are relying on Aruba AirWave to help in the design and construction phase of the upgrade, using AirWave’s VisualRF tool to determine where the new APs should be installed. Once the AP count has reached the expected 1,300 across the property’s indoor and outdoor areas, he expects to use AirWave for optimization and management of the network.

Another crucial piece of the Downtown Grand’s infrastructure upgrade is Aruba ClearPass. With ClearPass, the IT team can run a customized captive guest portal that integrates with the hotel’s property-management system to enable a tiered billing system for hotel guests, including complementary and premium options. The hotel also is using ClearPass to offer non-hotel guests who may be visiting the property—particularly the outdoor venues during events—free Wi-Fi by using social media log-in or email.

In the future, the Downtown Grand expects to build upon its new Aruba infrastructure, leveraging ClearPass to unify the wireless and wired components, and expanding further on the Aruba APs’ location-ready and IoT capabilities to deliver more smart room functions to hotel guests. The hotel foresees integration with HVAC units, lighting and temperature controls, and even door locks to enable truly smart rooms that could be prepared and customized for a guest at the moment of check-in.