Singapore
Published November 23, 2006

Eighth Wonder plans high-tech system for IR

It is planning for a 'technologically advanced, security enhanced' resort

By ARTHUR SIM

ABOUT 10 per cent of Eighth Wonder's Sentosa integrated resort's $5.5 billion budget is earmarked for the technological infrastructure that will be created by Siemens, if the resort developer wins the Singapore government contract.


Mr Advent: He says security issues are a "No 1 consideration'

Spelling out more details of its 'technologically advanced and security-enhanced' proposed resort, Eighth Wonder chairman Mark Advent said security issues would be a 'No 1 consideration'.

Siemens will work with Giuliani Security & Safety to develop the security systems which are expected to be integrated with existing government systems.

Mr Advent did not give details on this but did say this would involve government bodies like the law enforcement agency.

'A security system of this scale is multi-dimensional. It is geared towards understanding who the customer is well in advance, before the customer even gets here.

'There will be systems and technology in place to screen out and identify problem clientele,' he said.

Whether these might be terrorists or other criminals he did not indicate, but he did say: 'There is tremendous amounts of information on certain types of individuals that will be a more high-profile risk and certainly as a part of security operations, you want to extract that type of information.' Klaus Kleinfeld, president and CEO of Siemens, said that in the two years since it had been engaged to work on Eighth Wonder's 'Harry's Island' plans, it had already expended 7.5 million euros (S$15 million) on developing systems.

Speaking via a teleconference link from Germany, he said Siemens plans to deliver business systems that have the security element embedded which can also communicate seamlessly with central security systems.

By sharing information between systems as diverse as building management, hotel booking systems, airline pick-up and CCTV, an Eighth Wonder resort would be expected to have information available for it to respond to incidents varying from lost children, to monitoring the safe passage of a guest from the airport to his or her hotel room.

Siemens and Eighth Wonder also hope to pioneer a new technology that will allow guests to monitor personal energy consumption during their stay at Harry's Island with the use of what Mr Kleinfeld called 'carbon monitors'.

This could include the amount of energy a person uses in having the room lights or air-conditioning on.

Harry's Island already has an environmental slant to its proposal with its Ocean Planet Institute.

This will be operated and managed by EarthEcho International and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute.

Mr Advent said he is even prepared to make this environmental awareness more attractive by offering rewards to guests using the carbon monitors through its 'choice programme'.

These are radical ideas for an integrated resort which traditionally has conventional-themed attractions.

But Mr Advent was adamant about not creating a destination that is 'outdated before it is opened'.

He declined to reveal any annual reinvestment sum for the maintenance and updating of the resort.

Mr Advent did however say that he had 'planned in terms of longevity'.

He also said he stood by partners Melco PBL Entertainment, following suggestions in a recent Merrill Lynch report that they could face 'regulatory challenges' for combining Singapore operations with those in Macau.

'Their investment in Macau gives our consortium an advantage of being able to tie together Macau, Australia and Singapore with marketing offices throughout the region,' Mr Advent said.