When only the best will do

November 2007 Access Control & Identity Management

Motivation

Atlantic Beach Golf Estate is set among undulating, fynbos-covered dunes, overlooking Table Bay, opening to the world-renowned backdrop of Table Mountain. This is a luxury estate offering 850 upmarket homes adjacent to a stunning 18-hole links-style golf course.

Atlantic Beach had a radio frequency identification device (RFID), card-based system. Promanage, the managing service providers for Atlantic Beach, after consultation with Timetraq, an access control specialist company, and a risk management assessment found the system to be flawed in a number of areas.

Steven Lampel, managing member of Timetraq, says, "A number of issues with the RFID system were identified - it was unreliable and very difficult to administer; the technology had been phased out and as a result additional hardware and cards were becoming scarce; lost cards and difficulty of tracking the allocation of cards was a security risk; and there was no way of effectively controlling visitors, contractors, domestics and tenants, other than a paper-based system, which does not provide the level of security the homeowners wanted on this estate."

Another important issue for the company was the many contractors arriving each day to provide services to the estate. "The solution had to be able to enrol and immediately grant access to any employee of the contractors as well as provide reliable reporting," adds van Wijk.

Rewards

After considering the options available across the security industry, Promanage came to the conclusion that fingerprint biometric readers had to be the fundamental element of the new solution. In consultation with Timetraq, the decision was made to purchase Sagem biometric readers as speed and reliability were key requirements.

"An access control system is only as strong as its weakest link and the weak link here was visitor access. Our biggest challenge was to obtain software that would incorporate visitors in the biometric system and so eliminate the ineffective paperwork of the previous system," comments Lampel.

Access control points for visitors at various locations on the estate's perimeter were to be self-service kiosks, controlled by a centralised database housed in a control room on the estate.

Timetraq identified the cwBIO system of Timewatch Systems as the answer to the customer's needs. A detailed specification of the requirements, including customised software to manage the self service kiosks, was drawn up.

Implementation

Promanage received proposals from various companies but only the Timewatch/Timetraq solution could meet Promanage's full requirements within a reasonable budget.

The Timetraq/Timewatch Systems team did the full system design, using internal resources and experience on similar projects.

The solution comprised Sagem biometric fingerprint readers and Saflec's Access Control hardware in conjunction with existing modules of Timewatch's software cwBIO, to provide biometric management and visitor control functionality. Further customisation to meet the specific needs of a large golf estate was then done and a unique visitor management module, cwVisitor, was developed.

Challenges

"Enrolment was a significant challenge because many residents only visit the estate occasionally, so it took a long time to accomplish this initial task," says Lampel. "It was also a challenge to customise the system to operate within the sustainable timeframes per transaction required to accommodate the large numbers of contractors who come on site at a fixed time each day. The customisation required to effect immediate activation of newly-enrolled people was a major technical achievement."

Another technical breakthrough was the new visitor management system that allows a centralised, yet remote reception facility, to vet visitor information entered at the self-service kiosks and allow or deny access.




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