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Smart card access control and time and attendance for public service company.

LEGIC Identisystems Ltd : 11 July, 2008  (Application Story)
European power and water supplier uses LEGIC technology to enable secure access control combined with online time and attendance system
The Pirmasens public utility company not only supplies the region with energy and water; as a modern service provider, it also supplies its customers with an extensive range of services. Electricity customers can be given on-the-spot advice, free of charge, on saving energy, new device technology, equipment purchase, regenerative energy etc. for example. Customers can arrange a consumption analysis or hire wireless "smart meters". Tenants are given help with their consumption and ancillary costs statements. Natural gas/water and heating customers are given on-the-spot heating advice and advice on equipment and functionality. Property owners are informed about current regulations and specifications as well as special promotions and grant schemes and are helped to install meters and even offered direct billing of tenants. Annual meter readings, change-of-address meter readings, help with calculating energy consumption figures and a 24-hour on-call service are obviously also part of the Pirmasens public utility company's other services.

The public utility company's history began in 1874 with the construction of a gasworks but nowadays its responsibilities include municipal transport services and a large leisure pool. This was followed by the commissioning of a waterworks five years later. The first electric tram was put into service as early as 1905.

In 1910 a new power station, which included two steam turbines and three boilers, was installed and remained in service until 1978. An indoor swimming pool was built in the 30s. The company continued to grow and adapt to meet the changing needs of the times.

The public utility company was then converted to a private limited company (GmbH) in 1994 in the run-up to opening of the electricity market and deregulation in the area of gas and local public transport. In 2001 the company was reorganised as a group of affiliated companies with four divisions: Stadtwerke Pirmasens Holding GmbH, Versorgungs GmbH, Verkehrs GmbH and Luft- und Badepark (PLUB) GmbH. Since mid 2006, the Pirmasens public utility company has used a contactless time & attendance and access control system supplied by Kaba as befits its role as a modern municipal service company which employs 250 staff. Obviously, with so many working patterns, there had previously been a time and attendance system. But the time had come to retire it. "We were looking for robust, reliable terminals and flexible software which met our requirements," explains Markward Krebs, head of the Electrical Information department at Stadtwerke Pirmasens Versorgungs GmbH.

After intensive market monitoring, those responsible opted for market leader Kaba and for a software house in Püttlingen. In summer 2006 two Kaba Benzing B-Net 93 20 type time recording terminals were first installed in the administration building plus one device each in the swimming pool, waterworks, combined heat and power plant and in the workshop. LEGIC transponder chips in the form of key fobs are used as an identification medium. It was possible to re-use the LEGIC credentials from the old time and attendance system. The Kaba terminals were mounted parallel to the old devices. The new software was parameterised with the required data (master data, working patterns, etc.). Switchover took place at the end of the month from one day to the next. Bookings were made using the old system in the evening; the next morning bookings were already being made using the new system. "The launch went smoothly, we didn't have any problems" emphasises Markward Krebs.

At the same time as electronic time and attendance recording, online access control was also introduced. The aim here was to improve security in general and to protect IT separately against unauthorised access in particular. Entrances to the company premises (barriers and a roller gate), the personnel entrance to the administrative building, the control centre, including the server room of the energy supply and a further server room were protected with readers. "All ID holders have access to the premises, all administrative employees can enter the building and IT employees can enter the server rooms" says Head of Department Krebs, explaining the various authorisations.

Once the company premises of the Pirmasens public utility company had been well secured, the plan was to also include the 14 scattered distributor stations for gas and water in the access control system. "We wanted to improve the security there further still and guarantee 24-hour monitoring with alerting of the on-call service", explains Peter Zimmermann, deputy operations head of Department G. Certain employees of the public utility company and sometimes employees of third-party companies also require access here.Whereas the stations were previously secured via IDS, mechatronic components, so-called Kaba elolegic readers, were then installed. These readers, operated as stand-alone components, fit in any standard flush-mounted socket. Thanks to remote electronics, they are sabotage-proof and correspondingly suitable for installations in outdoor areas. If the employee identifies himself or herself as authorised at the readers, they can deactivate the alarm system and gain admittance to the stations. "We opted for this solution because the Kabacomponents don't need any wiring there and the system is already running smoothly in other parts of the public utility company" stresses Peter Zimmermann.

Kaba components are now also used in other areas for access security. Digital cylinders supplied by Kaba have been securing the outer skin of the PLUB Municipal Bathing Park for some time now. "We were looking for an economic system which minimised possible key losses. Mechatronic lock cylinders which can be operated with the same LEGIC credential as our time and attendance system were the perfect choice," explains Emil Kelly, head swimming instructor and head of operations at PLUB. The previous lock cylinders were replaced by mechatronic digital cylinders. Since then, all 26 employees of the bathing park identify themselves at the new cylinders before the doors open for them. The fire brigade also has a LEGIC credential to open the swimming pool in an emergency.

"We can now run our time & attendance and access control over the same system. If a credential is lost, it can be disabled in the system immediately with little effort" says Emil Kelly, describing some of the system's advantages. "We now have an online system which offers us a host of benefits. The switchboard can now see who is in the company, who is on holiday and who is on a business trip at all times. All employees can now consult a record of the hours they have worked via a web browser and this lightens the burden of our HR Department. We were also able to significantly improve security with the newly organised access control", adds Markward Krebs. All in all, the Pirmasens public utility company is very satisfied with the system.
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