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Smart access control for Bristol College

Salto Systems : 23 May, 2008  (Application Story)
Large educational facility in Bristol upgrades security system for staff and students based on Salto Virtual Network and making use of the latest smart card access control technology.
Smart access control for Bristol College
The use of electronic access control is becoming increasingly important in more and more colleges as hundreds, often thousands of staff, students and visitors need various levels of access privilege to move smoothly around campus. To provide this a security system must be able to both implement and accommodate the individual requirements of diverse end users in order to provide the most secure learning environment possible.

One such college that has put security access at the top of its agenda is City of Bristol College where Salto Systems have won the order to supply new stand alone electronic access control equipment. The installation has been designed and carried out by local Salto Independent Business Partner Gem Security Centre.
Rated by Ofsted as the top-performing college in the West of England and also ranked in the top 10 per cent of colleges in the UK, City of Bristol College has a number of centers spread throughout the city including: Ashley Down, Bedminster, College Green, Hartcliffe, Lawrence Weston, Monarch House, Parkway Transport Technology, Orpen Park and Soundwell.

It has over 35,000 full-time and part-time students including 500 international students from a wide range of overseas countries. Courses available at the College include BTECs, A and A/S Levels, HND/Cs, Access to Higher Education courses, Apprenticeships, NVQs, Foundation Degrees, Degrees and postgraduate courses.

Jim Caola, MD of Gem Security Centre comments: "City of Bristol College needs to allow for simple and secure access to the range of buildings that make up their diversified campus. When they recently decided to upgrade and modernise their access control arrangements as part of a rolling programme of security improvements, the College selected a bespoke electronic solution from Salto Systems to achieve its objectives.

Management of students, staff and visitors is crucial for the College 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 staff ID cards. The College, having already taken the decision to move up from old technology Magstripe cards to the more secure Mifare/smart card technology, needed an access system 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 but at lower cost.

To achieve this, a highly secure and flexible access control system has been designed using off line XS4 locks and a mix of on line wall reader units utilising the power of the Salto Virtual Network (SVN).

This system allows the XS4 locks to read, receive and write information via the Colleges staff ID cards. Since most access related information is kept encrypted on these cards, the 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 clever 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 College complete control over access and enabling them to track the movement of staff, students 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 up date wall readers.
Any ID cards that become 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 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."

The College has found that modernising its access control arrangements has given them unprecedented control over its security requirements and the flexibility of the product provides 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 and at lower cost too.

David Wilks, Assistant Operations Manager Premises and Security, says: "Our Salto access control system now enables us to manage the security needs of the College in a much more controlled way. We've fitted over 300 new lock sets across site and the flexibility of the system means we can now get the maximum benefit from the technology and provide a secure environment for all our students and staff."

Jim Caola concludes: "Such has been the success of the installation at City of Bristol College that the security team is already considering upgrading their additional buildings in other locations around the city to Mifare enabled XS4 electronic handle sets as well as using it in future new projects."
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