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Network / IP - Case Studies

ISONAS PowerNet IP access system installed at Miami University of Ohio
ISONAS system also provides expansion capability
The ability to provide access management capabilities on mobile devices, allows security personnel to open or lock doors remotely

Chartered in 1809, Miami University of Ohio is one of the oldest public institutions in the United States. Called by Robert Frost “ the most beautiful college that ever was”, Miami U boasts multiple famous graduates in virtually all walks of life, including one President of the United States; Benjamin Harrison. The University is a residential university with an emphasis on a liberal educational core that complements more specialised studies of the various major areas of study.

In 2009 Miami U’s Hamilton, Ohio campus encountered a unique problem in controlling access to several buildings on its campus that needed to be available to students and faculty/staff at times that exceeded normal school day schedules. Some 200 students and faculty personnel required entry into engineering lab and similar science-oriented facilities in various buildings on an unscheduled basis virtually any time day or night. The process in place at the time had “security personnel running around like crazy in off hours” according to Jim Lipnickey, the Director of Computing at the Hamilton campus. “When someone needed to get into one of the restricted areas at an odd hour, they called our security personnel who then assigned someone to drive to the building’s location, verify the identity of the individual seeking access and unlock the facility.”

Not only was the process time consuming and costly from the perspective of the utilisation of the security staff’s time, but there were often long waits for the person who needed to get into the building. And of course the normal issue of lost keys that occasionally required changing locks existed as well.

Need for electronic access control system

The obvious solution was the installation of some sort of electronic access control system. The process of determining what system to install began with an analysis of which doors on which buildings were most frequently required to be opened by the security personnel. It was discovered that both external building doors and in some cases internal rooms were on the list, ultimately requiring 20 doors to be controlled in 4 different buildings. The internal rooms consist of laboratories and storage rooms containing high-value equipment or substances.

The ISONAS PowerNet IP-at-the-door access system was chosen due to a variety of factors. “There was an existing old-style panel-based system at one of our other campuses, but a cost analysis determined that we could get better functionality with ISONAS at about 25% less costs on a door by door basis” says Mr. Lipnickey. “ISONAS also provided a very nice expansion capability as we grew the system since we can add capacity a door at a time as needed and still control the entire system from a single point. We manage all of the permissions, schedules and so forth in the IT department for the whole system.” When ISONAS announced the ability to provide access management capabilities on mobile devices, it was possible to allow security personnel to open or lock doors remotely via a smart phone or tablet device, thus saving everyone time while still providing appropriate, secure access. According to Mr. Lipnickey, “As we have grown, the ISONAS system has proven to be efficient to use and economical. It serves our purposes very, very well.”

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