Access control for Wits

November 2004 Access Control & Identity Management

Fact file

Project scope.

Tertiary environment.

One x Sagem Biometric Enrolment and Management System.

Two Sagem Biometric Terminals - Morpho-Access.

Two locations.

Approximately 190 staff and post-grad students enrolled in first phase.

Several hundred students to be enrolled shortly.

The history

The School of Electrical and Information Engineering at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg was facing a problem of ineffective access control to its office and administration area, and also experienced theft of equipment from the area.

The existing measures included card readers, and pushbuttons for the receptionist.

The cards did not provide a sufficiently unique means of controlling access.

A new system was needed not only to increase security levels, but also as a means of testing the feasibility of biometric identification for access control in tertiary education environments.

The solution

The School of Electrical and Information Engineering is no stranger to analysing and testing advanced technology, so the task of finding a best-of-breed biometric system was not taken lightly. The Department investigated different biometric technologies and finally selected Sagem due to its performance and level of expertise in major government systems internationally.

The goal

The main drivers behind the decision to install the biometrics system were:

To limit access only to authorised persons (staff, professors, lecturers and post-grad students) based on biometric identification. To have an accurate and reliable audit trail of people entering the area.

To dramatically enhance security levels and to provide accurate reports of people entering the site.

To test the feasibility of biometrics for access control and time and attendance in a tertiary environment.

The benefits

More accurate and reliable access control based on biometric identification, and also to eliminate the dependence on tokens such as access cards.

In summary

All goals successfully achieved and Professor Dwolatzky offers this advice to other educational institutions: select established and trusted biometric systems. Perform tests with meaningful numbers of people on the biometric readers before making any decisions.

Due to the successful implementation and operation of the system, the Department has chosen to expand the system in order to control access to recently completed lecture rooms where specialist post-graduate courses will be held.

Fact file

Key service providers, products and solutions.

System integrator and installer: Exys Security Solutions, Billy Gilbert, 012 665 5470.

Biometrics: Sagem Morpho range, distributed by Ideco Technologies, Gary Jones, 011 442 0064, [email protected]

Wits University - Dept of Electrical and Information Engineering, Prof B. Dwolatzky, 011 717 7206, [email protected]



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