Access Control

One Card at Salford

by Mark Rowe

An access control system is behind the University of Salford’s new One Card project, which allows students and staff access to buildings and services around the campus. The university has used Grosvenor Technology’s JANUS product in its original campus buildings for eight years, with more than 300 card readers providing site-wide access control. The One Card project dates from 2011 when the university developed its campus at MediaCityUK, the leading hub for the creative and digital sectors at Salford Quays, Manchester.

When a student enrols, their details are uploaded to the JANUS system where an access profile is appended to the student profile; allowing them access to their places of learning. JANUS works with the Condeco room management system to allow staff and students to book available rooms for study and other groups. This offers access for students without the need to update profiles within JANUS.

Derek Drury, CIO, Information Services at the university, said: “Grosvenor Technology was pivotal in successfully bringing together several key strategies into a ‘one card fits all’ solution. With just one card our staff and students link into parking, secure access, the library, follow me printing, leisure centre and fund loading for catering and printing. It is one of the most complex implementations in the University touching multiple systems across the campus. The success of the project has been measured in the wealth of integration across the entire University enjoyed by all.”

The open database structure of JANUS Enterprise provides the central storage for all of the information required to manage One Card and links to a number of external systems such as the Ricoh printers, room booking with Condeco, and data feeds to sports rooms and libraries. On enrolment at the university the student’s image, if not already available, is captured by the card services bureau and uploaded in real time to a central store for access by other university databases and services. JANUS Enterprise has helped to streamline and speed up the registration and card personalisation services at the start of each year.

An aim of One Card was to get all the third-party integrations to use a single credential, a DESFire EV1 card. To achieve this, multiple methods of student identification from the single card are required across all the platforms. This includes the internally AES encrypted number, a 56-bit DESFire unique ID, a 32-bit classic Mifare emulation, and encoded magstripe and printed barcode. Each of these components are captured at the time of card personalisation and made available for each system in real time.

JANUS Enterprise includes management reporting that allows analysis of card access and events. One example of how the uni uses the reporting facilities is the library, which analyses how many students and staff are using the facility at any time each day. The reports can determine peak and average usage and to which school or college the user is assigned. How much time people spend in the library is another useful source of information. All this management data helps the library to better plan its services.

The makers describe JANUS Enterprise as a distributed fault-tolerant solution that works with card readers via its Intelligent Door Controllers (IDC), at each access point. Each IDC is a stand-alone unit that can control two doors/locks and interface to industry standard card readers and lock mechanisms. Every card profile associated with an IDC is downloaded to the controller to ensure continued operation even in the event of a network or power failure. The JANUS Enterprise solution maintains backwards compatibility with the oldest IDC’s, which has provided Salford with a continued expansion path always making the latest technologies available, whilst maintaining complete compatibility with the existing JANUS hardware installed.

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