Keyless access control into new student accommodation

Brunel University implements new access control system

27.04.2010 - Bringing together the vision of providing all first year students with high quality on campus accommodation with the latest developments in electronic access control to create tota...

Bringing together the vision of providing all first year students with high quality on campus accommodation with the latest developments in electronic access control to create totally keyless buildings is the mission statement of Brunel University.

Showing the same imaginative approach pioneered by their famous namesake Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the University based in Uxbridge, West London, which is home to around 16,000 people both staff and students from over 100 countries, has now completed an ambitious £250 million 21st century campus redevelopment programme that provides an impressive range of modern, state-of-the-art facilities. The University now has 34 halls of residence, including a new residential complex bringing on-campus accommodation up to a total of 4,549 rooms. These were constructed in a number of phases, with the latest additions seeing 674 en-suite rooms in 4 blocks being added in Phase 4, a further 528 en-suite rooms plus 30 premier rooms in 6 blocks in Phase 5 and now an additional 1,359 en-suite rooms plus 37 studio flats in 17 blocks in Phase 6.

Managing access to these facilities, as well as to lifts, plant rooms, refuge stores etc would need to be controlled with a more modern solution than a mechanical master keyed system, even though the remainder of other doors across campus would retain this technology for the present until future funding arrangements allowed for their replacement. This necessitated a re-evaluation of the site management plan and following an assessment of several possible security solutions available on the market, the answer was to remove mechanical locks and keys from the specification and replace them with an electronic access control system using a modern multi application smart card.

Selecting the solution

With such a large number of doors to control Brunel University asked specialist security consultancy Beaver Access, a division of Beaver Architectural Ironmongery Ltd, to find a solution that could not only manage the large number of doors on campus now but also grow to handle their future requirements too. David Wileman, Divisional Manager, proposed an integrated solution that could not only handle the access control requirements, but also take care of additional functions such as staff ID and future applications as required.

"Some of the principal objectives of a good access control system should always be simplicity of operation and the reduction of time needed to manage it, without the loss of functionality, flexibility, control and security. The management of students, staff and visitors is crucial for the University so this was the key application for the system, and Brunel required a proven, future proof access control security solution that would provide 24/7 critical security protection.

To achieve it a secure solution was needed to control access via the University's HID iClass 13.56 MHz 16k bit (2K Byte) memory configuration read/write contactless smart cards that were also to be used as student and staff ID cards. It would also need to provide everything that a hard wired system would deliver but more cost effectively and in a mix of on line and off line stand alone wire free formats. To create a truly intelligent building that could be totally keyless, we recommended a solution from SALTO Systems, world leaders in advanced battery powered wireless access control solutions for student residential accommodation.

Working in consultation with Brunel Operations Manager Martyn King and his team, we designed a highly secure and flexible access control system using the SALTO XS4 system to secure 1,792 on line and off line doors which were controlled via 90 off line and 35 on line 'hot spot' wall readers to meet all of the requirements of the new accommodation blocks," said David Wileman.

Wire Free Control

Smart, secure and innovative, XS4 provides a totally wire free networked electronic locking solution. It is designed around state-of-the-art electronics that use distributed intelligence to pass information between microprocessors in the electronic handle set and the key card. Besides the electronic door hardware, the heart of the new access control system is its SALTO Virtual Network (SVN) software. This enables locks and key cards to be updated remotely and access profiles to be changed rapidly adding real value to the access management of the residential blocks. It also eliminates the physical restrictions of traditional stand alone electronic locks and can seamlessly integrate with other third party systems to allow ID cards and locks to be updated, restricted or deleted remotely.

The 'smart' ID cards build up 'on-card' audit trails - around 25,000 audits per day are now being downloaded at the University - through normal use giving Brunel complete control over access and enabling them to track the movement of students, staff and visitors through both the off-line and on-line parts of the system if required. This enables a complete access profile of each individual to be established and updated as necessary at the updater or 'hot spot' wall readers. Any ID cards that get lost or stolen can be quickly and simply deleted from the system just by visiting the readers with up-dated cards. The system also greatly reduces the number of visits necessary to off-line doors, since user data is simply transferred on cards by normal use. This eliminates the traditional need to replace locks if security is breached due to the loss or theft of an ID card.

Ramesh Gurdev, SALTO Systems UK Sales Manager, says: "At Brunel having access security that is robust, reliable and dependable is key in a campus housing environment where so many young people are living away from home for the first time. We have been very happy with the feedback we have received from the University, where the flexibility of the SALTO XS4 product linked to our SVN capability means they now have the ability to remotely manage up to 64,000 users and up to 64,000 doors in a single system if required. It ensures their future expansion needs are taken care of now, without having to upgrade at a later date, whilst enabling them to securely control who has access to what, where and when at all times while providing a secure environment for their students and staff."


SALTO Systems

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