Next Story Group – Sage Hotel Melbourne, Australia

Aruba delivers a unified, scalable network for smart hotel management and services

With Next Story Group expanding their hotel portfolio in Australia, delivering a robust, futureproof network for the modern traveller was a top priority. Next Story Group was able to make this happen when Sage Hotel Melbourne opened its doors in Ringwood in 2017. Spanning five floors atop the bustling Eastland Retail Destination, the 120-room property offers quality accommodation and the opportunity for travellers to appreciate what the locale offers.

The hotel was still under construction when Sirajudeen Mohamed Hisham, Director of IT for Next Story Group, engaged Aruba to deliver a network that would become the foundation for smart management and customised guest experiences.

“We had Aruba networks successfully running in several other hotels in our portfolio, it was an easy choice for Sage Hotel Melbourne, Ringwood,” says Hisham. “We know their solutions well and have always been able to rely on their service.”

An innovative solution for rapid deployment

The back-end support provided by Aruba was well structured. We run Aruba networking on most of our sites and the assistance provided is very helpful. We have many front and back of house suppliers and without question they are a preferred supplier. This is important to us as we build up our network functionality to support our future plans to offer an incredible guest experience.
Sirajudeen Mohamed Hisham, Director of IT, Next Story Group

Designing and deploying a network for a building that didn’t yet exist presented some unique challenges, however nothing that hadn’t been tackled before by the combined expertise of the Aruba, partner and distribution team. To overcome the problem, the network was built in its entirety off-site, delivering numerous benefits. Removed from the dangerous, dusty construction site, the solution could be designed, configured, deployed and tested in the workshop, allowing engineers to identify and fix any issues before they became a problem.

By the time the site was complete, a robust solution ready to install with considerable time savings achieved given commissioning and configuration was not needed on-site. The outstanding result is that the network has stood up to the demands of thousands of staff and guests without major incident since its rollout (15 months at the time of writing). The reliability of the network and the complete absence of support call outs has meant Sage Hotel Melbourne, Ringwood can focus on improving other areas of the customer experience.

“You don’t ever really hear about how good the Wi-Fi is, you only hear when things aren’t so good and there’s been no negative comments,” says James Coleman, General Manager of Sage Hotel Melbourne, Ringwood.

Unified network for a seamless guest experience

Attracting a diverse clientele, Sage Hotel Melbourne Ringwood needed a network that would support the unique demands of business travellers, as well as the expectations of those enjoying a more leisurely visit. From reliable, high-speed internet connectivity in the rooms, meeting spaces and offices, to seamless video streaming via IPTVs in-room, the guest experience was at the forefront of the solution design.

With this solution in place, Sage Hotel Melbourne, Ringwood can deliver on their commitment to provide an outstanding, integrated guest experience. Checking in, navigating the venue, controlling the environment, streaming entertainment, working, or ordering food – all managed wirelessly online, remotely and seamlessly.

Meeting current needs with scope for future scaling

The versatile 3810 series switches have been the key to meeting the hotel’s needs - and within budget. The use of 10G fibre cabling for all switches also provides consistent simultaneous bandwidth for all services, simplifying management and improving performance. These feature-rich, 16-port switches can run as either 10G or 1G, and in the case of Sage Hotel Melbourne, Ringwood where all ports are running at 10G, a similar performing switch from competitors would have exceeded the budget.

To ensure James continues to receive positive feedback from guests, Aruba delivered a pervasive enterprise Wi-Fi system utilising 50 Aruba 11ac wave 2 access points (APs) in the initial deployment - leaving capacity within the core infrastructure to grow to 128 APs, if and when needed.

Engineering the hotels of tomorrow, today

As the portfolio of hotels continues to grow, Next Story Group now have a complete, scalable platform that can grow in tandem with it. The network is future-proofed to have IoT, cloud management, and analytics capability added – extremely important capabilities particularly when it comes to managing multiple sites. Location-based services can also be added onto existing hardware to enable deeper digital engagement with guests.

Next Story Group, in partnership with Aruba, will be able to continue to deliver on its commitment to provide outstanding guest experiences.