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One of my specialties is doing features stories (in all media – print, web, TV) about products or brands in uncommon environments. Some of those stories are included here.
Icom Magic for Amangiri
By: R. Michael Brown, Special to Icom America
To say that the new magnificent Amangiri resort in Southern Utah is isolated is an understatement. The resort collects guests from the nearest airport in Page, Arizona with one of their fleet of BMW’s.
As one visitor of the $800 – $3,500 per night suites said, “We arrived in the middle of the night, greeted by not one, but two Aman staff. The entire resort was bathed in candlelight, dozens of lanterns artfully cascading light along the graceful grand staircase.”
The daylight reveals rooms made of solid concrete, ph-balanced and treated to match the patina of the surrounding cliffs and canyons. They are like square luxury caverns looking out at the Southwestern desert.
“Even from a short distance you can’t see the resort,” said Phil Smith, the Peak Mobile Communication manager tasked with the job of integrating a two-way radio communications system for the Aman Resort Group property. “It’s architected to be nestled down into the valley, in and around plateaus and canyons. They did everything you can think of to make it blend in and seem absorbed by the environment.”
It’s a rough setting to operate wireless technology; but, a custom installation by Peak Mobile Communication engineers, and an Icom IDAS™ UHF system with F4161DS portables, were up to the challenge.
“We setup and demonstrated an analog system and a digital IDAS system using the mixed mode setting in the IC-FR6000 repeater. Clearly the digital system was the only one that would work.” said Smith. “Not only were all the resort buildings built from reinforced concrete but the metallic coating on the low-e glass windows made them radio frequency shielded. Finding a communication solution that would provide adequate coverage was a challenge.”
Peak had to find clever ways to hide the Icom repeater components and integrate it so visitors would not know it existed. Minimizing the visual impact of the installation was paramount. Towers and antennas would ruin the guest’s sensation of the place.
The environmental consciousness of the client required Peak Mobile Communication to use stealth placement and concealment techniques for the system installation. Discretely placed antennas were painted to match the surrounding environment.
The metal maintenance/training/operations building the resort communicates with is hidden over a mile away on the other side of a plateau. Two-way radio is the only wireless communication system available on the property so employees rely heavily on the Icom system.
No radio chatter is allowed to be heard that would disturb the serene atmosphere that the resort embodies. “Each staff member uses a two-wire earpiece so the ambiance remains like a climate controlled desert for guests.” said Smith. The radios are setup into different talk groups for the front desk, bell staff, housekeeping, maintenance, and security. “Icom radios are so simple to configure and operate, Amangiri management just has to hand someone a radio and all they have to do is push-to-talk. There’s little end user training involved in a properly implemented communications system.” Smith said.
The IC-FR6000 repeater is located in the IT/Telecom room. Right now they have 30 portables for the 100 resort staff that support the 34 guest suites.
The Icom digital system was an important choice for the resort because they will expand the system. They are preparing to add multi-million dollar villas for sale on the 1,800 acre property. The scalability of Icom’s IDAS system is a perfect match for Amangiri.
“Peak Mobile Communication, a Salt Lake City based systems integration firm, designs turnkey two-way radio systems solutions for resorts, industry, campus, mining, hotels, ski resorts, and manufacturing clients. We stand ready to meet the challenge of this and any other unique venue,” said Smith.
The magic of Amangiri doesn’t happen by itself or by accident. The right mix of luxury, service, and ruggedness is what guests expect and communication systems from Icom help the staff make that happen.