Retirement Community Uses RFID Locks To Secure Facility

Kaba Multihousing and Institutional, an electronic lock supplier for the multi-family residential market, has successfully completed the pilot installation of its new RezShield system at The Gardens, a retirement community in Madison, Wis.

Debuting in early November, the RezShield access control system featuring the 79 series contactless RFID electronic lock secures a combination of residential units, offices and common areas on the property.

According to Bill Sterud, facilities director at Independent Living Inc., both residents and staff are all very satisfied with the new locking system.

”I am very impressed with the RezShield system and contactless RFID technology,” he said. “ It has truly addressed some of our unique security concerns and exceeds our expectations of electronic locks.”

A feature Sterud found especially compelling was the system’s ability to program custom access for the staff. For example, staff will now have the ability to override the deadbolt in a resident unit, should an emergency situation occur. Alternatively, staff credentials can be programmed with access to the property only during their shifts after which the credentials will not work.

The 79 lock series will give other assisted living facilities like The Gardens greater control over risk management issues. An audit trail records the lock’s history and the system can provide different reports. In the event of a lost key, a new one can be made almost immediately to cancel-out the previous key. RezShield also addresses the aspect of improved staff management as the credentials can be programmed to store a record of which doors they have been used in. All these features are significant deterrents to theft and will improve operational accountability.

Sterud notes that the residents are adjusting well to the system and experiencing a very positive learning curve.

 “It’s not just the resident but also their family members who are very grateful to us for upgrading to such an easy-to-use lock,” he said.

Residents with limited mobility and dexterity no longer have to struggle with inserting a hard key into a mechanical keyhole. Instead they merely wave their keyfob, card, or wristband in front of the fully-sealed tamper-resistant RFID reader to lock and unlock their door. An LED light flashes green when the door is unlocked and red when the door is locked.

Introduced at the American Association for Homes and Services for the Aging (AAHSA) 2009 conference and exposition, the RezShield system is designed for all types of multi-family residential communities, including student housing, with particular application in the senior-living and assisted-living market segments.

The system includes the RezShield Windows-based operating system, an RFID key encoder, and the 79 series locks. A variety of credential options such as keycards, fobs, and wristbands are available in different memory capacities.

The locks are offered as mortise, cylindrical and exit device options and run on 3 AA batteries stored in the front housing to allow for convenient maintenance without disturbing the residents. The software itself is scalable to accommodate up to 16,000 rooms. It will run on a standard computer and features a GUI, making it easy to learn and train staff. 

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