University working groups agree to update dorm locks

Lock And Roll

University working groups agree to update dorm locks

Chartered in 1746, Princeton University is the fourth-oldest college in the United States and well known for its scholarship and service to all nations. The independent, coeducational, nondenominational university assists undergraduate and graduate students in humanities, social sciences, natural sciences and engineering.

As a world-renowned research university, Princeton reaches for the highest levels of distinction in knowledge and understanding and also is dedicated to undergraduate teachings. With 1,000 faculty members, 5,000 undergraduates and 2,500 graduate students, security at Princeton is not taken lightly.

Perhaps what most people don’t know about the university is how well it blends together its faculty, staff and students into pristine working groups to make decisions that matter on campus.

Nearly 20 months ago, university officials wanted to replace the old brass locks on the campus dormitory rooms. That meant more than 3,200 doors needed to be retrofitted with a new, state-of-the-art locking system, but nothing was going to happen until a university working group had explored all the details.

“We met with a university working group for about 14 months to do our research and make a decision on the type of door lock that would best benefit our students and the university,” said Paul Midura, Princeton’s manager of life safety and security systems . “When we narrowed our choices down to three candidates, we vetted the technology through many departments on campus, including public safety, housing and dining services, among others.”

Because the doors involved in the retrofit were interior doors of the dormitories, reliability was a key issue. Once the working groups made their selection, all research and recommendations were given to a steering committee, including several university vice presidents and stakeholders on campus.

“This was a very intense project for us,” said Mike Mahon, senior vice president of commercial sales for Salto Systems. “The university did its due diligence, and the 27 people on the working group were keenly interested in the strengths of the product and anticipated real-world demonstrations of the product.”

Understandably, the university wanted to make sure it would be well served by the dealer network of whatever product the working group selected, and that the product was not only the right fit for today, but was forward-thinking.

Princeton selected Salto’s lock software, which is proprietary to its own platform and the HID iClass 32k card to be used throughout the campus. The university also selected the standalone A9 660 wireless lockset, which, if lost, can immediately change permissions to entries and door access control. Work on the campus is already underway.

“We are currently in the second phase of this project with about 600 locks changed,” said Dan Hogan, president of Hogan Security Group in Pennington, N.J. “We anticipated this project would be wireless-ready, but we moved into the online phase because Princeton University has its own wide area network. With that established, we began the retrofit.”

One of the challenges that the Hogan Security Group has encountered is that the dormitory rooms are still occupied, which limits the window of opportunity for changing out the locks.

“First of all, we are very conscious about making a mess and protecting the private property of the students’ rooms,” Hogan said. “And, let’s face it, students live on a different time schedule than most of us, but installing these locks will enable the university and the students to be and feel more secure in their surroundings.”

The A9 660 wireless locking system is a card credential that has memory in place, and, according to Hogan, it is good for the students because it enhances the security of the dorm room and the overall dormitory. The university had been using brass keys, which, if lost, could fall into the wrong hands; as Hogan said of the keys, “they are dumb devices that offer no reliable means of letting you know that someone has entered a room.”

The new system is anything but dumb. While the iClass cards, or TIGER Cards as the university has named them, and readers won’t speak to each other, all the information stored on the cards is kept in a main database that can retrieve, change or review information in the blink of an eye.

Without a key, the protection of students and staff is taken to a higher level. Students won’t have to keep their dorm room key on a lanyard and worry about losing it. The cards are dual authentication, meaning a student merely presents the card then enters a PIN for entrance.

“This way, student protection is heightened,” said Keith A. Tuccillo, a system administrator in the life safety and security systems department at Princeton. “If needed, we know when a card is used and where it is used. Our in-house technicians have been trained on this new system, which also makes better use of their time by not having to chase down a master key. It’s all right there in the university’s database.”

The game changer for the students’ safety and security is that with the credentialed ID card, they likely won’t leave their dorm rooms without their identification, which is their passport to campus security.

This article originally appeared in the Security Products Magazine - July 2012 issue of Security Today.

Featured

  • Maximizing Your Security Budget This Year

    7 Ways You Can Secure a High-Traffic Commercial Security Gate  

    Your commercial security gate is one of your most powerful tools to keep thieves off your property. Without a security gate, your commercial perimeter security plan is all for nothing. Read Now

  • Busy South Africa Building Integrates Custom Access Control System

    Nicol Corner, based in Bedfordview, Johannesburg, South Africa, is home to a six-star fitness club, prime office space, and an award-winning rooftop restaurant. This is the first building in South Africa to have its glass façade fully incorporate fritted glazing, saving 35% on energy consumption. Nicol Corner (Pty) LTD has developed a landmark with sophisticated design and unique architecture by collaborating with industry-leading partners and specifying world-class equipment throughout the project. This includes installing a high-spec, bespoke security and access control system. Read Now

  • Only 13 Percent of Research Institutions Are Prepared for AI

    A new survey commissioned by SHI International and Dell Technologies underscores the transformative potential of artificial intelligence (AI) while exposing significant gaps in preparedness at many research institutions. Read Now

  • Survey: 70 Percent of Organizations Have Established Dedicated SaaS Security Teams

    Seventy percent of organizations have prioritized investment in SaaS security, establishing dedicated SaaS security teams, despite economic uncertainty and workforce reductions. This was a key finding in the fourth Annual SaaS Security Survey Report: 2025 CISO Plans and Priorities released today by the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA), the world’s leading organization dedicated to defining standards, certifications, and best practices to help ensure a secure cloud computing environment. Read Now

Featured Cybersecurity

New Products

  • QCS7230 System-on-Chip (SoC)

    QCS7230 System-on-Chip (SoC)

    The latest Qualcomm® Vision Intelligence Platform offers next-generation smart camera IoT solutions to improve safety and security across enterprises, cities and spaces. The Vision Intelligence Platform was expanded in March 2022 with the introduction of the QCS7230 System-on-Chip (SoC), which delivers superior artificial intelligence (AI) inferencing at the edge. 3

  • A8V MIND

    A8V MIND

    Hexagon’s Geosystems presents a portable version of its Accur8vision detection system. A rugged all-in-one solution, the A8V MIND (Mobile Intrusion Detection) is designed to provide flexible protection of critical outdoor infrastructure and objects. Hexagon’s Accur8vision is a volumetric detection system that employs LiDAR technology to safeguard entire areas. Whenever it detects movement in a specified zone, it automatically differentiates a threat from a nonthreat, and immediately notifies security staff if necessary. Person detection is carried out within a radius of 80 meters from this device. Connected remotely via a portable computer device, it enables remote surveillance and does not depend on security staff patrolling the area. 3

  • Mobile Safe Shield

    Mobile Safe Shield

    SafeWood Designs, Inc., a manufacturer of patented bullet resistant products, is excited to announce the launch of the Mobile Safe Shield. The Mobile Safe Shield is a moveable bullet resistant shield that provides protection in the event of an assailant and supplies cover in the event of an active shooter. With a heavy-duty steel frame, quality castor wheels, and bullet resistant core, the Mobile Safe Shield is a perfect addition to any guard station, security desks, courthouses, police stations, schools, office spaces and more. The Mobile Safe Shield is incredibly customizable. Bullet resistant materials are available in UL 752 Levels 1 through 8 and include glass, white board, tack board, veneer, and plastic laminate. Flexibility in bullet resistant materials allows for the Mobile Safe Shield to blend more with current interior décor for a seamless design aesthetic. Optional custom paint colors are also available for the steel frame. 3