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News

Cairo's American University secured with Salto access control

Salto Systems : 10 December, 2008  (Application Story)
New American University campus in Egyptian capital makes use of XS4 access control system from Salto Systems incorporating future proof security concepts
Cairo's American University secured with Salto access control
The American University in Cairo (AUC), after a decade of planning and five years of construction, has relocated to a prestigious location in New Cairo, Egypt. Created by an international team of architects, the new $400 million campus covers an impressive 260 acre site. To secure staff and students, the new campus required a proven, future proof access control security solution that would provide 24/7 critical security protection. The university awarded the contract to Salto Systems.

AUC was founded in 1919 by Americans devoted to education and community service in the Middle East. Today it serves as a vital bridge between the cultures of East and West, linking Egypt and the Arab region to the rest of the world through scholarly research, study-abroad programs and partnerships with academic and research institutions.

It is now the region's premier English-language university and nearly 7,000 undergraduates come from every corner of Egypt and over 100 other countries around the world to study there. Programs and research centre on the Middle East; American studies; forced migration and refugees; gender and women's studies; philanthropy and civic engagement; as well as specialized teaching programs on Arabic language and electronic journalism.

'As the premier university campus-tailored access control system, the Salto XS4 contactless Mifare solution was ideal for the American University in Cairo,' comments Victor Hage, Salto Systems ME Regional Manager. 'Working in consultation with AUC and their team of architects we designed a highly secure and flexible access control system using a mix of on line and off line doors controlled via 'hot spot' wall readers to meet all of the requests of their new purpose designed campus in New Cairo."

Management of students, staff and visitors is crucial for the university and this was the key application for the new access control system. To achieve it a secure solution was needed to control access via standard issue student and staff ID cards that could provide them with everything that a hard wired system would deliver but in a mix of on line and off line stand alone wire free formats.

The answer was Salto's XS4 system, and now XS4 ANSI A9650A00IM38 model door locks will control 1500 doors across various buildings including student dormitories, classrooms, laboratories and offices and these are integrated with 500 CU50ENSVN wall readers located in strategic locations throughout the campus. In addition to these, students and staff will also use their Mifare enabled ID cards to access elevators and car parks as well as use them to check out books via the university's library card program.

Besides the hardware, the heart of the new access control system is its Salto Virtual Network (SVN) software. This enables the XS4 locks to read, receive and write information via the standard issue 'smart' student and staff ID cards. Since most access related information is kept encrypted on these cards, the 'hot spot' wall readers are able to update and receive information from the cards at any time. So not only is the system easy to use, but its easy functionality also provides 90% of the benefits of a fully on line access control system at the cost of a stand alone system.

The 'smart' ID cards build up 'on-card' audit trails through normal use giving the university 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 usage. This eliminates the traditional need to replace locks if security is breached due to the loss or theft of an ID card.

Another highly flexible function of the SVN system is its departmental operation. This allows each faculty across the New Cairo campus to manage only their own doors and/or users, while certain other doors and users can be simultaneously shared with other faculties, for example main entrance doors etc. This provides maximum security for each faculty with the convenience and flexibility of shared main access control.

'With our ability to customise both the system hardware and software, the American University in Cairo has found that our solution has added flexibility and has given them unprecedented control over their security requirements" Hage concludes. "Salto was the number on choice for the project specifiers from the beginning as it was the only system capable of managing both the student dormitories and the office buildings both on line and off line as well as interfacing with their library system using just one card and one software system".
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