By Max Clarke

NEC Corporation (NEC; TSE: 6701) and Swisscom AG. (Swisscom) have announced today the successful implementation of a cloud-based communications service for citizenM — the award winning Hotel Group (Headquarters: Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Chairman: Rattan Chadha). Swisscom Hospitality Services, a group company of Swisscom, has deployed NEC’s hosted solution based on its software-based IP communications platform, UNIVERGE Sphericall delivered in a virtualized environment, as part of its Cloud-based service offering for citizenM’s new hotel in Glasgow.

NEC Unified Solutions, a subsidary of NEC Europe Ltd., has hosted the Sphericall-based platform within its local data centre and is providing it as a SaaS (Software as a Service) solution. Swisscom has used the open, web services architecture of Sphericall to integrate with its Property Management service, providing the hotel with a fully hosted, integrated business management solution. In addition, Swisscom is also undertaking all the call rating as part of the solution, eliminating the need for citizenM to engage with other third parties and ensuring that all calls follow the optimum and most cost effective route.

Since launching its first hotel at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport in summer 2008, citizenM has established a unique brand of affordable luxury that gives global mobile travelers — the ‘M’ in citizenM stands for ’mobile’ — what they most want and need. Now, with its newest, 198-room hotel in Glasgow, citizenM is moving into the UK market, and it has plans to open a further two new hotels in London.

Commenting on the benefits of NEC’s UNIVERGE Sphericall solution, Leo Brand, CEO of Swisscom Hospitality Services, says, “We selected NEC as our prime eco-system partner for voice largely based on the strengths of their UNIVERGE Sphericall platform in the Cloud environment, which is a service-oriented communications platform that delivers scalability, low-cost of ownership and openness, enabling us to embed communications into business-critical applications and processes across the hotel. In addition, the Sphericall platform is being deployed in a virtualized Cloud environment which means that as citizenM continues to expand it can utilize the same technology at new hotel sites without incurring further set-up costs.”

Michael Levie, COO at citizenM says, “We are embarking on a major campaign to expand the citizenM brand to new urban destinations, with roll-outs planned in London, New York, Paris, Milan, Zurich and Hong Kong. We need a cost-effective solution which is reliable and secure, as well as something which can be deployed quickly and easily. By using a Cloud-based service model, we achieve just that and avoid all the cost and disruption of deploying our own infrastructure. With Swisscom and NEC, we have two well known and proven brands offering a best-of-breed solution which is very reliable and cost-effective, and because we are utilizing a virtualized environment we are able to significantly reduce our IT capital expenditure, while also eliminating on-site IT maintenance costs.”

Chris de Silva, EMEA Vice President of NEC Unified Solutions, says, “NEC is delighted to be partnering with Swisscom to develop Cloud-based services for the hospitality sector in the UK and beyond. As Cloud-based services proliferate, the management and location of core applications and user-facing computing environments becomes irrelevant. The enterprise and the worker are now less interested in where their platforms and applications are being hosted and more interested in cost-effective, rapidly-deployable innovative services.”