5-stars should equal 5 bars

Often luxury experiences are marked by heritage and timelessness. But more recently, and paradoxically, there is also a reliance on the latest technology and digital enhancements to complete the modern luxury experience. This is especially true in a hospitality setting and at OpenCell, we work with many of the world’s leading hoteliers to ensure that their UK guests always have access to their mobile network indoors.

Though we believe that 5-stars should equal 5 bars of signal, it’s still surprisingly common to experience a mobile signal dead zone in even the most prestigious hotels. This happens for a multitude of reasons, for instance: newer, energy-efficient building materials are more likely to kill mobile signal entirely and it’s also very challenging to find buildings or locations with equal proximity to all of the different network towers nearby. So, although your building may have full signal from one provider, another may be very low or even non-existent.

As a CEO and engineer, I travel a lot and stay in hotels for work. It’s a very familiar sight for me to see people leaving the warmth and comfort of a VIP lounge to make a call or send a text in the lobby, if they’re lucky, or just outside the hotel, if they aren’t. Yet this is very much at odds with people’s connectivity expectations these days. Because of the government and network operators’ collaborations and schemes, there aren’t many signal dead zones left in urban areas. As fantastic as this is, it also means that it feels increasingly frustrating if you can’t make a call when you need to. And this frustration is fundamentally at odds with the seamless customer experience premier hospitality providers endeavour to deliver.

The OpenCell solution

Our multi-operator, small-cell solution is new to market, so we often work with our customers to enable quick connectivity. After we conduct a signal survey on a completed or in-use building, we can provide a multi-operator signal solution within three weeks. This is because what we deliver is an extension of the connectivity provided by the major UK network operators and we have commercial relationships with all four of them. Through us, our customers can provide a strong network connection for any customer regardless of which network provider they have personally selected.

We even specialise in those tricky communal spaces, which are often the most likely to lack signal. Whether it’s for basement level conference halls, secluded executive bars or restaurants, we make sure that there is signal anywhere it’s needed. You may have even heard of the growing trend towards high-end ‘smart business’ hotels or (more clumsily-termed) ‘bleisure’ experiences, where visitors are supported to both work and play through thoughtful technology and well-designed communal spaces. We are proud to be both enablers and provocateurs in this hospitality revolution. However, the reality is that many technology-based enhancements can also create complexity and extra management issues. These can ultimately compromise a premium experience if something goes wrong or doesn’t work in the way it’s expected to.

Graham Payne

Yet, this is another reason why what we do is particularly desirable to renowned hospitality specialists. From the outset, we provide a proactive, 24/7-monitored, managed service. If there is ever a problem, our expert OpenCell engineers will either resolve it remotely – 99% of problems can be fixed that way – or they will come to the building to fix any issues within 24-hours. In fact, one of our customers was so impressed by the solution and service we provide in his hospitality business, that he’s also commissioned us to upgrade his personal residence with one of our bespoke signal solutions. It’s especially good timing for him as 2017 will be the year we’re able to roll out 3G/4G solutions, ensuring the same military-grade secure network connection at even faster speeds.

In truth, though I revel in luxury experiences as much as anyone, I’m also a practical person and engineer at heart. I can find luxury in utility, clever design and unseen moments where I expect something to work and it just does without any need for my intervention. But for those of you less inclined to see luxury my way, I believe Antoine de Saint-Exupery said it best when he acknowledged that: “The only real luxury is the luxury of human communication.”

About OpenCell

OpenCell are providers of the first legal and fully managed in-building, multi operator mobile signal solution using small-cell technology, ensuring everyone indoors always has network access.

Further information