ASSA ABLOY

At one residential school, a simple upgrade swaps manual keys for centralised electronic access control

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September 26, 2019

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SMARTair® Wireless Online access management has proven a simple, school-wide electronic solution for greater control and security at Westbridge.

Each staff member carries one RFID credential card programmed with access rights personalized to their individual role. In an emergency, the school can institute a complete lockdown via the centralised system.

“Having a SMARTair® system in place has given us peace of mind… It’s quicker, it’s safer and it’s simple,” says Joanna Brunton, Executive Officer at Westbridge School.

“We needed more subtlety in assigning access permissions”

The school’s teaching, administration and residential buildings require multiple layers of access control, for both staff and students. The inflexibility of a legacy mechanical locking system had presented facility management and pupil safety challenges for years.

“With over 50 staff, we needed more subtlety in assigning access permissions, which you simply can’t do with a bundle of metal keys,” explains Joanna Brunton, Westbridge School’s Executive Officer.

Specifying a new access system

Beyond replacing and upgrading outmoded, inflexible mechanical key security, Westbridge had a number of requirements for its new access system. Devices in the new, unified system would replace piecemeal mechanical locking on 80+ doors around the site.

School leaders wanted access control already proven in the field, with a track record of successful installations managing access in schools worldwide. New electronic locks must provide a real-time audit trail, so facility managers always know which doors are opened by which staff cards.

The new system would also need to work within the school’s security budget — and be installed over the holidays, for minimal disruption to the school’s busy calendar.

“We essentially had a safety and security need,” adds Joanna Brunton. “We needed to be able to discourage students from going where they didn’t need to be on site or redirect a student who was in a heightened state from re-entering a classroom and potentially disrupting the class or causing damage.”

A convenient, cost-efficient SMARTair® solution for Westbridge School

System administration is easy even for non-specialists. “I taught staff how to use the software and encode access cards,” says Kylie Bray, director at Western Lock Services, who have long managed hardware maintenance for Westbridge. “If a staff member loses their card, you can go straight in and delete it.”

The intuitive SMARTair® system software can open or secure individual zones, connecting to individual locks via a network of 9 hubs. “We now have the ability to set higher security for specific areas of our site, especially over the school holidays when students have gone home,” says Joanna Brunton.

“Our regular maintenance contractors have their own access keys, so they just get straight on with their work without calling us to meet them for access. This keeps our time, and their costs, down.

SMARTair® door devices are wireless and battery operated. Because there’s no need to run cabling to individual doors, installation was fast and cost-efficient.

“From a facilities management point of view, the solution has done everything we wanted it to do in terms of safety, security and monitoring,” adds Joanna.

To learn how SMARTair® wireless access control is tailored for schools and universities, download ASSA ABLOY’s education solution guide.

About ASSA ABLOY

The ASSA ABLOY Group is the global leader in access solutions. The Group operates worldwide with 48,500 employees and sales of SEK 84 billion. The Group has leading positions in areas such as efficient door openings, trusted identities and entrance automation. ASSA ABLOY’s innovations enable safe, secure and convenient access to physical and digital places. Every day, we help billions of people experience a more open world.

About Westbridge Residential School

Based near Auckland, New Zealand, Westbridge is a Special Residential School for young people with complex behaviour and needs. For more about the school and its work, see www.westbridge.school.nz.

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