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Wireless Networked Keyless Access Control for Cork Institute of Technology

Salto Systems : 03 March, 2010  (Application Story)
Salto Systems' XS4 Access Control System using smart card technology and wireless networking provides state of the art secure access for students and staff at institute of higher education in Cork
Wireless Networked Keyless Access Control for Cork Institute of Technology
A brand new high tech research building at Ireland's Cork Institute of Technology has been equipped with Salto's wireless XS4 access control system to create a totally keyless environment.

Research is a core dimension of CIT and all main research activity is primarily (though not exclusively) organized around three Strategic Research Clusters. One of these is the new Nimbus Centre for Embedded Systems Research, which has been awarded a major research and infrastructure grant from Ireland's Higher Education Authority's Programme for Research in Third-Level Institutions (PRTLI) to establish a national facility for Networked Embedded Systems (NES) research and the Internet of Things.

The infrastructure grant has provided a two floor 1,805m2 building with accommodation for up to 90 researchers and support staff, state of the art hardware development laboratories, teaching and learning facilities, and spaces for knowledge transfer and interaction with industry. The building also includes a large and adaptable demonstration space which allows for practical demonstrations of NES applications arising out of the research carried out in the building.

Networks of Embedded Systems already impact on many aspects of our living and working lives, from managing energy consumption and access in homes and buildings to health care and medical appliances through to keeping us safe while driving as well as controlling complex industrial processes. NES will also underpin the internet of the future - the Internet of Things - where not only computers are connected by the internet but also the everyday objects surrounding us in our daily lives. Even we ourselves may one day be part of such networks through the use of embedded systems for monitoring our personal health for example. The Nimbus Centre will install an extensive wireless systems test-bed in the building to experiment with a wide range of embedded monitoring and control applications.

Monitoring of large scale phenomena such as energy consumption, pollution, weather and global warming is also possible with NES. The EU, OECD and the Irish government have all identified the Internet of Things as a key technology for future industrial and social development as they recognise that, just as the current Internet has changed our lives beyond recognition in little more than 20 years, the Internet of Things will bring about changes that we are only now only beginning to imagine and will create major opportunities for innovation, enterprise and employment.

'As the leading global provider of advanced technology security solutions to the education sector, the XS4 system was the ideal choice for this important new building at Cork Institute of Technology,' comments Kieran Gorey from Doorware, Salto's Irish Independent Business Partner.

'Working in consultation with the Institute we designed a highly secure and flexible 'keyless' intelligent access control system to meet all their needs. Managing access of staff and visitors to and within such an important scientific building was absolutely crucial and to achieve it a 'secure one card solution' was to be the key application.

Key control was paramount in such an environment so right from the start the design specification for the building called for the latest in RFID electronic locking systems to be incorporated in order that the Institute had total control over who was able to access what, where and when at all times. Backing this up was the equally important requirement to have real time full audit trail capability to provide 24/7 critical security management protection.

In order to achieve this and create a truly intelligent building that could be totally keyless, a secure system was needed to control access via Mifare contactless smart cards which would also double up as photo ID cards. It would also need to deliver everything that a secure hard wired system would provide but more cost effectively and in a mix of on-line and off-line stand alone wire free formats.

The requirement was demanding as absolute reliability was required, but working in consultation with Aidan McDonald, IT Projects Manager at Cork Institute of Technology, we designed and subsequently installed a highly secure and flexible access control solution using the Salto XS4 system. This now secures 50 on line and off line doors at key points of entry to and within the building, all controlled via hot spot' wall readers" Gorey continues.

Smart, secure and innovative, XS4 provides a totally wire free networked electronic locking solution. It is designed around state-of-the-art RFID 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 building. 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 through normal use giving Cork Institute of Technology complete control over access and enabling them to track the movement of 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.

Aidan McDonald says: "The new Salto access control system enables us to manage the security needs of this new cutting edge research building in a controlled way. Having security that is reliable and dependable is obviously key for us, so the flexibility of the access control system means we can get the maximum benefit from the technology whilst providing a secure environment for all researchers and support staff working within it. The wireless nature of the access control system was particularly attractive to the researchers as it contributes to the 'wireless nature' of the building, where a range of embedded systems, including the access control system, are wirelessly networked"

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