Keeping up with the Joneses

November 2006 Access Control & Identity Management

Growthpoint Office Park in Midrand is a busy place, with over 2500 tenants and visitors requiring entry and exit every day.

The history

The main issues confronting Growthpoint were security, the cost of replacement access cards and the inadequate system of enrolling visitors.

Growthpoint needed modernised access control (AC) for tenants and visitors entering and exiting through the motorised booms of the gatehouse.

As Warren Theck, park manager at Growthpoint, explains: "The cost of replacing lost or stolen AC cards was unacceptable and Growthpoint felt the current method of enrolling visitors wishing to enter the park was redundant and totally inefficient.

"Visitor AC was another important 'security' issue. Visitors do not wish to be delayed filling in forms and the security guards manning the AC points are too busy to monitor and match visitor entry and exit events. Growthpoint wanted to raise the level of visitor security processes, thus creating a deterrent to would- be criminal elements.

"We wanted to substitute this outdated modus operandi with a more efficient and far more advanced solution."

The solution

Greg Rouwendaal, consultant at Aludi Technologies, an electronic security solution provider, adds: "We recommended a biometric fingerprint-based solution. Biometrics has an unequivocal place in the industry, however, it is not necessarily suited to each and every application." When in the process of designing such a turnkey solution, it is imperative that all underlying factors are taken into account, ie, traffic patterns (peak hours), tenant volumes, visitor traffic during peak hour periods and enrolment procedures

Aludi supplies and installs integrated security solutions in the commercial, industrial and financial sectors and used its experience of these sectors to recommend the integration of the biometric AC system with CCTV surveillance cameras as a value-added component of the solution, so that Growthpoint could offer tenants total peace of mind within the perimeters of the office park.

The benefits

From Aludi Technologies' point of view, the biometric solution offered a number of attractive features:

1. Highest levels of security for well-established office park.

2. Elimination of consumable access cards.

3. State-of-the-art technology.

4. Enhancement of the value of the property.

5. Reliability.

6. Deterrent for criminal elements.

"The system has improved the service levels experienced by tenants, which helps the company to maintain occupancy levels within the office park. We now have an advantage over our competitors because of the level of security we can offer tenants," Rowendaal says.

The challenges

Being creatures of habit, people are resistant to change especially where technology is concerned. A fair amount of patience is required in the process of getting users to understand the parameters of such an application.

The enrolment of tenants was a critical part of the exercise with some 2000 people going through this procedure before the system could be commissioned. "It was imperative that tenants were enrolled before the system could go live," Rouwendaal adds.

The biggest difficulty in implementing the solution was enrolment of visitors using the normal visitor enrolment procedures. Rouwendaal explains: "Traffic congestion created a fair amount of delays with visitors entering the park. The procedures required to successfully enroll visitors created a backlog of vehicles during peak hours, but this can quite easily be resolved by implementing the accelerated visitor enrolment procedure used at Midstream Estate.

"While preparing to undertake an installation of this nature, it is imperative that the supplier considers the volumes of traffic congestion that may arise as a result of visitors' unfamiliarity with - and even disinterest in - the enrolment procedure. Visitors just want access to the tenants and are not always interested in complying with increased and different security measures.

"In retrospect, notices advising visitors of the impending change and enrolment procedure could have been erected at the AC points some weeks in advance, so that visitors would have been more prepared for the upcoming changes."

Fact file

Aludi Technologies, Greg Rouwendaal, +27 (0) 11 837 1820, greg@aludi.co.za

Ideco, Gary Jones, +27 (0) 11 745 5600, ggj@ideco.co.za

Norbain, Dudley Kuit, +27 (0) 11 887 1546

Softcon, Johannes Thlabi, +27 (0) 12 348 7301


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