Emperor Apartments, Sandton

May 2007 Residential Estate (Industry)

A new concept in ultra-secure, ultra-modern living.

Project scope

At Emperor Apartments, access control for approximately 216 persons (including staff and residents), along with visitors is controlled using Sagem's fingerprint technology. The apartment block includes the following access points: 102 apartments, 24 penthouses, six lifts, 12 basement doors and five inter-leading doors.

A total of 150 Sagem MorphoAccess 100 (MA100) readers are installed at the apartment entrances, lifts and various other access control points in the building. One central Sagem MorphoAccess Enrolment Management System (MEMS) and ATS access and lift control system from GE have been implemented. The solution provides fully automated on-the-fly biometric enrolment of visitors.

All biometric transactions are one-to-many identification (fingerprint only) with matching speeds averaging less than 1,5 seconds per person.

The history

Completed in November 2006, Emperor Apartments is a new, up-market residential development in the centre of Sandton, South Africa's banking and shopping Mecca. The apartment block has set the standard in ultra-modern, luxurious secure living and has become a true landmark since its completion in a rapidly rising skyline.

The aim of Emperor's conceptual design was to differentiate the apartment block through a cutting edge, electronically controlled 'smart building' (electronic BMS). In order to reach the goals of an innovative smart building, Emperor's security features required state-of-the-art access control solutions that would create an environment where residents and visitors alike would feel safe. Tim Timmons from Sitronix states: "The property owner wanted only the latest technology with the highest security." This left him with only one option - biometric access control - and more precisely, fingerprint biometric access control.

Sagem's biometric technology won a 'shut out' evaluation process between several manufacturers and the decision to use Sagem was made based on the superior quality and performance of its readers. The high-tech, yet 'clean' aesthetics of the MorphoAccess 100 was also a key factor. Sagem's reliability and proven track record in delivering high-speed, high-accuracy performance in residential access solutions has been further validated by the success of the Emperor Apartments solution.

The solution

The Sagem biometric system at Emperor Apartments is a flagship installation in this type of development with the concept of ultimate secure and luxurious living. Utilising 150 Sagem MA100 readers, which have the capacity to store up to 1000 fingerprints each and identify users in 1,5 seconds or less, a reader is mounted at each door to every penthouse and apartment as well as at each lift access point. The readers are connected to an ATS access and lift control system from GE.

One of the many innovative features of the building is the lift system connecting the buildings' 11 floors, which open directly into resident's apartments. The lift control system along with the Sagem fingerprint readers only allow residents and visitors to go to their assigned floors, the car park and reception. All residents, visitors, and staff are registered on the system at a central enrolment station.

The process at registration is a quick and efficient one where demographic data such as name and telephone numbers are captured as well as the person's fingerprints. The ATS system then controls access rights throughout the building based on input received from the MA 100 readers at each access point.

The goal

Due to the concept that was to be achieved in residential city living with Emperor Apartments, it was critical that the building had the latest in luxury fittings and security to raise the standard for other developments.

With regards to the security, the goal was to install a system that made the building as secure as possible, with low administration costs, which allowed only residents and authorised visitors to enter the premises. The goal was ultimately for residents to feel secure in their homes as well as to avoid the high costs of maintaining key and card-based systems.

The benefits

The Sagem MA100 readers integrate easily with the GE system using industry standard protocols. Communication with the MA100 readers is extremely fast using TCP/IP communication over the buildings LAN. Biometric data is transferred at an average rate of 2000 templates per second.

One of the main benefits is the ability to maintain tight control over visitors at any time through secure access control. With the use of fingerprint readers the system has resulted in a safe and secure living environment, which prospective buyers will want to invest in.

Fact file

System integrator: Sitronix, Tim Timmons, +27 (0)11 787 2879, timt@sitronix.co.za.

ADI: Security solutions distributor, Ernest Mallet, +72 (0)11 574 2500.

Ideco: Sole Sagem distributor, Gary Jones, +27 (0)11 745 5600, contact@ideco.co.za.

Emperor Apartments: Chaim Cohem.


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