Converged college access

June 2010 Access Control & Identity Management

College opts for converged physical and logical security solution.

City College Coventry’s mission of 'Responding to diversity; raising the standard; taking education further', was something to be reflected in the development and choice of a suitable logical and physical access control solution.

Satel Naik, the college’s technical services manager explained that he had not previously used access control except for a few door code locks and there was no information technology (IT) security solution in place. Naik’s vision for the future of the college was to bring security technology to the forefront, by selecting the best possible solution and creating a truly intelligent building.

The college faced many challenges, including staff and students not wearing ID badges. Not to mention, limited secure parking, no real physical access control – some doors were left open, limited control of IT user accounts and some abuse of photocopying and printing privileges.

Naik explains that it was important for the college that current laborious and manual processes, such as library book inventory and fine payments, could also be automated and simplified in the future and be part of the planned ID solution. For the safety and convenience of students and staff, the college was also keen on reducing cash handling on site by introducing a cashless payment solution for the canteen.

Making the vision a reality

A key requirement for Coventry College was the ability to control real estate, personnel and assets through one medium, a multi-application smartcard.

Looking at the college’s requirements, Jason Hiller proposed an integrated and seamless solution that would combine both physical and logical access control. “Coventry College required a sophisticated and reliable solution that would cater to its needs not only today, but in the future,” said Hiller. “We recommended a solution based on HID products, ensuring that the college will have a solution always up to date with the latest standards.”

Hiller recommended HID Global’s networked access control solution in conjunction with HID partner company, DVtel, for physical access control. To meet the logical access requirements the college selected HID’s Crescendo solution, a multi-application smartcard.

“Having looked at several logical access solutions that are currently available on the market, Crescendo was the only real option for the college. Crescendo allowed us to use the same card for physical and logical access control, it is compatible with Windows and has a straightforward set-up,” said Naik.

As part of the solution, C700 HID Crescendo cards were deployed, which have integrated middleware. Logical access is run on a virtual college server on a VM slice, running an SQL database and Windows 2003 Server software.

“Crescendo cards allow us to have card records initialised centrally through Microsoft Active Directory and use Microsoft’s Identity Lifecycle Manager (ILM) to control starters/leavers process to one record/account. The enrolment process is quick and easy, and is managed via HR by the technical team of the college,” said Naik.

“Coventry College opted for C700 Crescendo cards with 16k/16 iCLASS 13,56 MHz technology, which provides enough memory for current application requirements and has enough space on the card to add future deployments,” said Naik. “Should one day we require even more memory on our cards we can always upgrade to HID’s 32k cards.”

Coventry College also has plans to implement a cashless catering solution, and currently promotes card carrying by offering their staff and students a 10% discount on all card purchases. The chosen system is server-based, which means the cash on the card remains in the cardholders account should the card be lost or stolen.

“Finding something that truly works in an environment such as a college is rare, as students do test and challenge equipment quite thoroughly,” explained Naik. “We are very happy with the results, and feedback we have received regarding the new solution and plan to roll out Crescendo for all 12 000 students.”

For more information contact HID Global SA, +27 (0)72 923 9426,,


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