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Biometrics - Case Studies

RISCO Group's access control solution improves university security for EPFL
RISCO's access control system allows better control of campus security at EPFL 
SynopSYS enables control and management of the entire campus from one intuitive user interface

EPFL, Switzerland's renowned university spanning three million square metres, is comprised of 60 diverse buildings where 13,000 students and faculty members spend time every day. EPFL wanted a solution that would help them monitor and control the access of such a large number of people to the different areas across its vast campus.

The challenge

EPFL's campus contains many types of buildings and rooms including seminar rooms, laboratories, libraries, and areas containing sensitive materials. Each student, faculty member, and employee requires access to different areas within the site. Until recently, campus users were carrying numerous documents with them around campus including an access card, an ID card, a copy-machine card, vouchers to buy meals, and spending money. EPFL found this situation to be inconvenient and inefficient. Having so many cards for each person compromised security and was high in administrative costs. Factors such as the complexity of the large site, the diversity of users' needs, and the different systems already in place made the possibility for change difficult. EPFL required a modular and flexible solution that would integrate easily with their database.

The solution

Polyright, the integrator at EPFL, chose RISCO Group's Access Control system combined with SynopSYS Security & Building Management platform as the solution that met all requirements. Applied to over 1000 doors, the Access Control system was integrated with EPFL's database, and uses the cardholders' credentials to define users' access rights to the campus facilities. The system enables authorised personnel to easily modify students' access rights based on their status and needs. It also enabled EPFL to add an additional layer of security for access to areas containing sensitive information by requiring biometric identification.

SynopSYS is extremely flexible and allows easy integration with the Access Control system

The solution provided each user with a ‘Smart Card' that served not only as their access card, but also replaced all of the personal cards they previously had to carry. The single card also contains digital currency that can be used in any of the campus restaurants. Each user's balance is registered to an online database, ensuring that a lost card does not mean the loss of the balance left on the card.

RISCO Group's Access Control system was integrated with the SynopSYS Security & Building Management Solution. SynopSYS enables EPFL to control and monitor the Access Control system geographically across the entire campus from one interface. SynopSYS provides an overall picture of all the buildings and rooms across the site via intuitive synoptic maps in real-time.


Each user was issued an access control card with different authorisation levels, which also replaced the ID cards, vouchers, and money they previously carried.

  • Over 13,000 people are using the system, which applies to over 1000 doors, and additional users and added immediately as required.
  • SynopSYS enables control and management of the entire campus from one intuitive user interface.
  • SynopSYS is extremely flexible, its open platform allowing for easy integration not only with the Access Control system, but also with video monitoring, intrusion, and fire systems, as well as HVAC, lighting, and elevator control.

The customer's point of view

Polyright was pleased with SynopSYS ease of integration with the Access Control system, which made the campus more secure and efficient. Polyright particularly valued its intuitive user-interface with simple definitions, where they could drag-and-drop elements without any need for configuration. According to Polyright, this allowed for "fast and simple installation, as well as easy training." SynopSYS open platform makes it easy to expand according to the client's future needs.

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