The five-star property will have the first omnipresent Wi-fi system in a Hong Kong commercial complex The developers of the Langham Place Hotel expect to grace the Kowloon landscape with a towering new landmark to hospitality that delivers a wide range of wireless broadband internet services to its customers. Backed by key partners such as Cisco Systems, property developer Great Eagle Holdings and its contractors are using carrier-class networking switches, a structured cabling system, wireless broadband access equipment and internet protocol (IP) telephones as the information technology and communications backbone for the 42-storey five-star hotel, located in Mongkok. 'With this extensive IT infrastructure, we'll roll out the first omnipresent Wi-fi system [for a hotel or commercial complex] in Hong Kong,' said Langham Place Hotel managing director Brett Butcher. He said that seamless connection to the building's 802.11b-standard wireless local area network could be achieved in every nook and cranny of the five-star hotel, which is the first such property to open in Kowloon for more than a decade. The hotel's high-technology foundation is based on Cisco's Architecture for Voice, Video and Integrated Data (Avvid) platform, which enables enterprises to run all voice, data and video communications traffic on a single IP-based system. This architecture includes intelligent switches, routers and gateways; a range of fixed and wireless IP telephones and video-conferencing equipment; and software to ensure quality of service and unified messaging. 'In conceptualising the hotel's IT infrastructure, we wanted to break away from the old-school style of thinking that put voice and data traffic on separate networks,' said Pertlink managing director Terence Ronson. He was hired in 2002 to lead the hotel's hi-tech initiatives based on similar work that his company implemented for the Best Western chain's Rosedale on the Park in Causeway Bay. Aside from universal Wi-fi access, the hotel wanted to have a compelling 'wow factor' to its plush, 42-inch plasma television-equipped guest rooms, Mr Ronson said. This has come in the form of Cisco's 7970 colour IP phones, which offer a touch-screen interface, multimedia functions and the ability to run a number of desktop computer applications. 'We see each room serving as an easy-to-use virtual office,' Mr Butcher said. About 780 units of these colour IP phones are to be installed at the Langham Place Hotel, making it Cisco's largest such deployment for any hotel to date. Mr Ronson said the systems were now being installed, in time for the hotel's soft launch on July 1. 'These features give the Langham Place Hotel a tremendous amount of flexibility to manage customer relations with each guest,' he said.