Engineered Systems Magazine

Elegant Integration

May 1, 2007
For this Seattle luxury hotel, harnessing real convergence is a critical step for towering over the competition.


A BMS controls all building functions as well as televisions and VoIP telephony at Hotel 1000 in Seattle.
Madison Tower in Seattle is a 23-story, luxury building that includes 47 luxury homes atop a premier boutique hotel, Hotel 1000. The building, which opened in June 2006, is situated in the heart of downtown on the corner of First Avenue and Madison Street, poised over Elliott Bay, and surrounded by the culture and attractions of Seattle and steps from the waterfront and Pioneer Square.

Amenities include 120 luxury guest rooms in the hotel and 47 spacious residences on the top floors. Both the hotel and residences feature a restaurant and bar, full service spa and fitness center, virtual golf for the residents, a dog walking park on the roof, and over 6,000 sq ft of high-tech meeting and banquet space, including an outdoor deck suited for weddings and other social functions. A coffee and wine café for socializing around the fire is a part of the food and beverage offerings, along with 24-hour room service for residents and guests alike. A residents’ library rounds out an extraordinary array of luxury facilities and amenities. Hotel 1000 was developed with a single-minded focus to be Seattle’s finest luxury boutique hotel.

The Goal

First Avenue Properties, the building’s owner and MTM Luxury Lodging, the building operator, wanted a way of integrating the building’s functions to achieve the utmost in comfort and luxury for its tenants and guests. Their goal was to install, operate, and manage a single converged network in which all IP addressable devices reside on the same IP network. According to Donald Kenney, IT manager for the building, this converged network includes all building systems, thermostats, televisions, as well as VoIP telephony, and mini-bars that interface to numerous other technology partners. “This arrangement allows all these devices to talk to one another using the same language,” he said.

Sharing of information between technology partners was another goal. According to Dave Mason, director of facilities, “It was important for us to be able to leverage that information, and we wanted to make sure we were going to be able to manage guest expectations and exceed their expectations by being able to determine when there was a problem before it affected the guests.”

Integration Extraordinaire

System integrator MacDonald-Miller Facility Solutions worked with First Avenue and MTM to provide an integrated solution, ultimately including Richards-Zeta’s Mediator™/OMEGA™ platform. The system enables building system integration from various systems and subsystems onto a Cisco IP network. Using RZ’s Mediator™ and moZaic™ as the core integration hardware, and perfectHOST/PHLNS (perfectHOST for LonWorks®) software as the graphical programming application, MacDonald-Miller installed RZ 100’s and expansion I/O for control of the central chilled and hot water plants and RZ AHUs to control the AHUs.

The Mediator, a multi-protocol exchange platform and middleware solution comprising both hardware and software, is able to normalize and integrate to numerous third-party legacy protocols including BACnet®, LonWorks, and Modbus. By using the embedded suite of tools on the Mediator, custom Web pages may be designed and hosted and can then be used to present a window into the real-time condition of the building systems, as well as alarms, logs, control sequences, and other common features. And since the Mediator abstracts and treats all data in the same manner, there is no special distinction or friction associated with creating user-defined causal relationships between sub-systems. Any value or combination of values taken from the HVAC, lighting, electrical, or any other system, can change the operation of others.

At Hotel 1000, the RZ Mediator/OMEGA is used as a Web server and hosts the BAS website with floor plans, equipment graphics, and schedules. The system is configured to send and receive alarms to wireless phones, Vocera wireless badges, e-mails, and pagers, and it logs all data to an FTP server on-site. The information is also available on a standard Web browser.

Doug Cotter, building engineer, said the advance warning system is a plus. “In other buildings, you are notified of a problem when people start complaining. Here, I know about it before they start complaining.” He is able to check the status of the building wherever he is. “The system allows me to monitor the system at my desk or using a tablet PC wherever I’m at, changing filters or anything. I can get on it and change temperatures in the boardroom or check for problems with the chiller or boiler.”

The system also saves money. “The Mediator provides the customer the tools that they need in order to troubleshoot their own problems before making a service call. It also allows remote access into the Mediator so that our technicians can troubleshoot the system while off-site,” said Jim Everett, facilities control technician with MacDonald-Miller Facility.

The final result is the convergence of all building systems, including the HVAC system, utilizing the Cisco IP network resulting in all of the information being in one place. “We use this technology of a converged network to allow us to monitor all traffic on all of the different services we provide throughout the hotel. We used to have to go into different proprietary applications at different set terminals to determine cause of failure, and now we can do that from virtually anywhere in the world with the ability to dial-in from a remote location,” said Kenney.

Future value

The system was chosen with an eye on the future. The Mediator is able to control not only HVAC and electrical systems but also metering, sensor networks, CMMS, and tenant billing applications.

“I do see opportunities in the future for additional third-party systems and integration,” said Mason. These include tying the building security and energy management systems into the Mediator and scheduling PM requests based on run-time parameters. The neat thing about our architecture is that it will grow with us over time. This solution helps our resolutions time immensely, and I think that we are just beginning to understand the ways that it is going to do that for us.” Ibt