Access Control Meets Campus Safety

Access Control Meets Campus Safety

University of Alaska Anchorage upgrades campus safety with new software

Faced with an aging housing access control system, the University of Alaska Anchorage was in need of a reliable system capable of integrating with its existing residential operations management software. The University, which houses about 1,000 students, turned to ASSA ABLOY group brand SARGENT and PERSONA Software for a campus- wide housing access control system.

SARGENT’s Passport 1000 P2 WiFi locks, installed throughout the campus’ residential buildings, control user access locally and transmit access events to the host system running the PERSONA Campus software through standard wireless technology. These locks communicate via with the access control system to allow administrators and campus safety officials to wirelessly update user access lists and review access event logs.

“We needed something that could interface with our housing management system to eliminate the need to update access permission on each individual lock. Our previous system used standalone locks that were failing and required a PDA to download and update information,” explained Jody Inman, associate director and operations manager of Housing Services at University of Alaska Anchorage. “The PERSONA software integrated nicely with our existing housing system, so we can now push that information directly to the software and update access permission wirelessly.”

Because the PERSONA software integrates easily with existing ID Cards, the new system allows the University to use its student ID cards as key cards for access to buildings and each individual dorm room. With keypad and card access capabilities now required with the campus’ new Passport 1000 P2 locks, students must slide their ID card and enter a four-digit pin to enter their room, a considerable student safety upgrade where lost or stolen cards can not solely be used to gain access. “The PERSONA Software allows campus police and administrators to research a student anywhere in the housing system and also helps when trouble shooting because information is easily accessible through the software,” explained Inman.

Integration of the new system was a complex process in order to ensure the necessary WiFi infrastructure was in place. However, according to Inman, once the network was in place and the signal strength was great enough, the install was completed entirely over the 2012 Christmas break. “We met weekly trying to get all the state and local university IT people on board with the system. Because it is a wireless system there were certain security measures that needed to be taken to make sure the proper firewalls were in place,” commented Inman.

Summarizing the benefits of the new system, Inman said “The capability to integrate PERSONA with our existing housing management system and ability push that information to the SARGENT WiFi locks really made it the most logical choice for our campus. It’s truly a win-win for us because housing services is more efficient and the students are safer.”

This article originally appeared in the April 2015 issue of Security Today.

About the Author

Angelo Faenza, general manager, PERSONA senior director of Campus Electronic Access Control Security Solutions, ASSA ABLOY Door Security Solutions.

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