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California Historic Hotel Selects VingCard Locking Solution for Security Upgrades

California Historic Hotel Selects VingCard Locking Solution for Security Upgrades

Editor / Provider: Assa Abloy | Updated: 3/6/2012 | Article type: Commercial Markets

VingCard Elsafe announces that the iconic Grande Colonial Hotel in La Jolla, California, has completed a property-wide upgrade to VingCard Elsafe's Classic RFID locking system. The installation, which replaced older magnetic-stripe locks in all 93 guestrooms, continues the luxury resort's decade-long association with VingCard Elsafe.

VingCard Elsafe's suite of RFID locking systems feature contactless access control via Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) encoded communication and secure anti-cloning software. Recent advancements to VingCard Elsafe's RFID technology has enabled RFID locks to read keycards from more than twice as far as before. Additionally, VingCard Elsafe RFID locks are designed to be easily adapted to Near Field Communication (NFC)—technology that is expected to be in widespread use globally within a few years and which will enable travelers to use mobile devices as room keys.

With so many luxury hotels expected to make the switch to RFID locks in the coming months, the move was necessary to ensure that Grande Colonial stays ahead of the technological curve, says General Manager Terrence Underwood. Sticking with VingCard Elsafe was an easy decision, he says, particularly since the Classic RFID locks are stylishly designed to easily retrofit doors that previously housed VingCard Elsafe mag-stripe locks. “The retrofitting process was a snap—each lock took only a few minutes to replace,” Underwood says.

The upgrade to RFID locks comes with a bonus perk for the seaside resort. Due to Grande Colonial's proximity to the Pacific Ocean, the salty air tends to wreak havoc on mechanical parts, including the old mag-stripe readers. Because RFID is contactless, and the lock's mechanics are completely encased, the time and effort the resort spends dealing with lock maintenance will drop dramatically.

In addition to the RFID locking system, Grande Colonial also deploys VingCard Elsafe's line of hotel in-room safe series in all guestrooms. State-of-the-art hotel in-room safe series by Elsafe UL-listed safes employ the latest locking technology, including anti-tamper labyrinths and solid-steel hinges, placing it on par with the most secure in-room safes in the world. With its industry-leading audit trail, spring-loaded door and Flash-RAM memory, the safe is perfect for protecting guests' valuables, and the attractive, adaptable design makes it ideal for any hotel environment.

Assa Abloy Supplies Access Control Solution for City Library in Germany

Assa Abloy Supplies Access Control Solution for City Library in Germany

Editor / Provider: Assa Abloy | Updated: 3/1/2012 | Article type: Government & Public Services

The new city library in Stuttgart, which opened on October 21, has been equipped with locking systems, access control systems and other security products by ASSA ABLOY Sicherheitstechnik GmbH. This cube-shaped building, housing a 20,000-square-meter city library, is thus state-of-the-art in terms of both architecture and security technology.

The city library is the first public building to be completed in the new Europaviertel (Europe Quarter) currently under development in Stuttgart. The South Korean architect Eun Young Yi designed the building envelope to feature a double fa?ade with glass bricks and entrances on all four sides, creating the new city library as an inspirational center of knowledge and culture. ASSA ABLOY Sicherheitstechnik GmbH was awarded the contract for the library's security system. Specifications stated that the building entrances were to be equipped with electronic components that could be centrally managed and could integrate interior doors using mechatronic systems where required.

Measuring 44 by 44 meters, the outer fa?ade of this building is controlled by the access control system, an online-controlled system in which access authorizations are managed centrally in real time. “The city library's security officers can issue, modify or disable locking authorizations over the network at any time, leaving no security vulnerabilities,” explains Andreas Wagener, CEO at ASSA ABLOY Sicherheitstechnik GmbH. To configure and administer the system, the building's security officers have at their disposal a user-friendly client software application.

Grand Hyatt in San Francisco Deploys VingCard Comprehensive Locking System

Grand Hyatt in San Francisco Deploys VingCard Comprehensive Locking System

Editor / Provider: Assa Abloy | Updated: 2/6/2012 | Article type: Commercial Markets

VingCard Elsafe, the global leader in hospitality security and part of the ASSA ABLOY Group, announces that the luxurious Grand Hyatt San Francisco has selected a complete package of VingCard Elsafe solutions for installation as a key component of the comprehensive renovation of its 659 guestrooms. The completed renovation features the addition of VingCard's energy management system and RFID locks powered by the cutting-edge wireless online access management system.

With VingCard Elsafe products as the centerpiece, the 38-story, 39-year-old iconic Union Square property is now one of the most tech-forward hotels in all of San Francisco. “VingCard Elsafe has truly helped modernize our hotel, giving us a real competitive advantage with discerning, savvy travelers who desire the latest and greatest hotel experience,” says Matthew Kovac, Director of Sales and Marketing for Grand Hyatt San Francisco. “Guests love and appreciate that their RFID keys can't be demagnetized—they revel in that fact. And with the energy management system, we are a big step closer to becoming one of the greenest hotels in San Francisco, which feels great, and is a great selling point, as well.”

The energy management system is comprised of wireless digital thermostats, occupancy sensors, door position interfaces, remote server software and a comprehensive dashboard reporting interface. The room control dashboard provides an overview of guestroom electronic systems, including occupancy status, locks, safes, lighting and total energy consumption. The system automatically assumes control of ambient temperature when guestrooms are unoccupied, never allowing them to become either too warm or too cold. Upon guests' return, the system automatically resumes the preset temperature settings. Likewise, the system interfaces with the hotel's property management system to pre-condition the room upon guest check-in and automatically engage enhanced energy savings mode upon check-out.

Campus Networks Power IP Uptake

Campus Networks Power IP Uptake

Editor / Provider: Tevin Wang | Updated: 1/30/2012 | Article type: Education

Higher-education IP backbones enable integration among systems. They bring clear benefits to end users and integrators. However, IP requires careful planning as well. In this second of three articles, a&s highlights the benefits of unlimited bandwidth and related challenges.

College campuses boast some of the most advanced fiber networks for civilian use. Because of this connectivity, higher education is seeing significant IP uptake. “It has been our experience that educational institutions have the most proactive attitude to accept and deploy IP-based security solutions,” said Barbara Winkler-Chimbor, Director of Global Education Market Development, Genetec. “Mostly, they seem to slowly migrate existing equipment to an open, nonproprietary platform that has the ability to accommodate new technology later on when budgets become available.”

Campuses with existing IT infrastructure and fiber-optic backbones make integration and configuration easier. Most importantly, IP-based systems offer significant cost advantages and more efficient system deployment. “Fiber-optic bandwidth definitely removes a cost obstacle to many systems in the education vertical,” said Gadi Piran, President of On-Net Surveillance Systems. “Taking advantage of an institution's existing network infrastructure simplifies installation of cameras anywhere within reach of a network connection. Plenty of bandwidth negates the need to build a parallel system or to upgrade the network infrastructure, and can also simplify system configuration.”

Having virtually unlimited bandwidth also allows vendors the ability to offer flexible solutions suited for all budgets, said Terence Lee, Director of APAC System Integration, Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies. “Compared to other verticals where we have to combine both hardwired and wired configuration, it is definitely much easier and seamless in our conceptualization and implementation in higher education verticals.”

No Silver Bullet
High-tech infrastructure and unlimited bandwidth do help enable integration among systems. However, the connectivity and convenience of IP networks also increase the number of subsystems and components. “Higher education institutions have many applications sharing a common network, such as voice, data and other applications, that can severely impact the network's performance,” Winkler- Chimbor said. Bandwidth availability and network security must also be taken into consideration.

IP has clear benefits. However, network configuration requires careful planning, as it is far from trouble-free. “Institutions need to take into consideration that in an emergency situation, many staff members as well as local first responders, such as the police, need to utilize the same feed. This can overload the network since many people will be trying to log in simultaneously. Thus, a system that cannot only prioritize by user, but that can automatically manage the network bandwidth with features like multicasting and multistreaming is crucial to ensure a true load balancing of the existing network,” said Winkler-Chimbor.

Advanced IT infrastructure and fiber optics require correspondingly networked options in storage and video analysis. “The education vertical has a higher-than-average amount of bandwidth for increased integration, but their storage options and ability to analyze all the information collected is not always as advanced,” said John Moss, CEO of S2 Security. “There are still issues related to responsibility to consider when looking at the quantity of information collected. So, while the education market has been an early adopter of high-capacity data-transmission technology, they face the same issues as other users relative to storage, monitoring personnel.”

Who Is In Charge?
Security used to fall under facility management in many universities. As schools are seeing more IP uptake, IT departments are becoming more involved in security procurement. This poses challenges in integration and implementation for system integrators. “It can be difficult getting internal departments such as IT, security and maintenance departments to work together and agree on priorities,” said Randy Montelius, VP of Engineering, Communications Engineering Company.

As the adoption of IP-based solutions continues, the need to consult with the IT department increases . “ The campus IT department controls access to the network and how it is leveraged for a video surveillance system,” Piran said. “Campus police and security, as the primary users of the system, have a say in their usability needs and requirements.”

Detangling System Kinks
Smart Devices
Smartphone penetration is growing exponentially across the globe. Smartphones represent more than 40 percent of mobile phones in Western Europe and 38 percent in the U.S., according to a Nielsen report from July 2011. Individuals who bought new smartphones in the past three months made up 52 percent of handset purchases, up from 34 percent. While less than 20 percent of Asian mobile users currently have smartphones, interest in them is high.

This smartphone wildfire has spread through campuses as well. As students bring all kinds of wireless devices to college campuses, they impact the school's IT network. “This may lead to a shift toward Web-based applications,” Montelius said. “An added layer of security should be added to these applications to ensure that they are displaying the data, but it's not where the data is stored, so the user doesn't have access to the actual data itself, or the backend servers it's stored on.”

Mass Notification
After the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting that resulted in 33 casualties, US schools understand the importance of quickly pulling someone's access or locking down a facility at a moment's notice. Tragedy struck again on Dec. 8, 2011, when a campus police was shot and the gunman took his life. Mass notification played an essential role during both events, with 2007's two-hour delay cut to six minutes in 2011. The campus was quickly locked down and the event was effectively contained.

Alerting an entire campus about a shooting is no easy feat. Using only one type of mass notification during an emergency is not enough. “You may not reach everyone in the community who needs the information to protect themselves,” Montelius said. Students, faculty and staff may have their phones turned off or not be able to hear sirens. “Universities need to think beyond opt-in texting systems and instead focus on tiered systems. By using a layered mass notification system that incorporates all of these tiers, authorities are much more likely to reach everyone in an emergency situation.”

Communication between campus security and law enforcement should be as open as possible, so that if a critical incident does occur, first responders are able to deal with it quickly and effectively. During the 2007 Virginia Tech tragedy, senior administrators had to meet to assess the situation and then decide whether to issue an emergency alert. This cumbersome process may have contributed to the delay in communication and to its lack of specificity once it was issued. Addressing these concerns “requires a new level of leverage involving community communication within the school and outside the school,” said Nigel Waterton, VP of Strategic Development, Aronson Security. “If we were engaged, we would work closely with the administration, responsible administrative staff and technology stakeholders, to ensure that the goals and direction of all of these are aligned and optimized.”

As more subsystems relate to security system integration, campus safety is no longer a business of integrators alone. IT technicians, maintenance staff and security officers have to work together to secure college environments.

UK University Protected by Assa Abloy's Locking Solution

UK University Protected by Assa Abloy's Locking Solution

Editor / Provider: Assa Abloy | Updated: 1/10/2012 | Article type: Education

ASSA has supplied a complete door-opening solution, including cylinder locks and door closers, as part of a large redevelopment project at the University of Northampton in Northamptonshire, England.

The refurbishment project creates a new home for the School of Science and Technology and an extension of the School of Education, and is part of a larger project designed to further enhance facilities at the university.

A total of 250 doors were upgraded to ASSA hardware, with ASSA cylinders in modular lock cases used to secure sensitive office areas and attractive ASSA return-to-door lever handles used in public areas. To assist the University of Northampton in fulfilling the requirements of the Equality Act 2010 – helping specifically to meet BS8300 and Approved Document M guidelines – ASSA Cam Motion door closers were used.

US Hotel Safeguards Guests With Wireless Locks and Safes

US Hotel Safeguards Guests With Wireless Locks and Safes

Editor / Provider: Assa Abloy | Updated: 12/6/2011 | Article type: Commercial Markets

VingCard Elsafe, the global leader in hospitality security and part of the ASSA ABLOY Group, announces that the newly opened Hotel Williamsburg in Brooklyn, has installed VingCard's Signature Trend door locks and wireless system, as well as Elsafe's in-room electronic safes.

Hotel Williamsburg, which opened in October 2011, is the first property of its kind in Brooklyn. It blends old-school Brooklyn grit with new-school luxury. Designed by Studio Gaia and architect Gene Kaufman, Hotel Williamsburg incorporates a veritable dream team of local Brooklyn purveyors in its amenities line, as well as an imaginative assortment of creative guest offerings, such as in-room Crosley record players and a record rental station in the lobby. Additional property features include a rooftop bar with of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens; an outdoor pool/bar for hotel guests; and a restaurant serving urban rustic fare.

All 64 guestrooms at Hotel Williamsburg feature security technology solutions by VingCard Elsafe. “As a new luxury boutique property, we needed just the right mix of advanced technology, proven security and a sense of design that would blend with the unique aesthetics of the hotel,” says the hotel's rooms director, Maggie Houston.

Elsafe's safes meet the hotel's stringent criteria perfectly. Elsafe in-room safes are the only safes for hotels that are UL-listed. In addition, Elsafe safes employs the latest locking technology, including a hook-style interlocking system, an anti-tamper labyrinth, a solid cold-pressed curved steel door, and extended solid steel hinges permanently arc-welded to the door. The attractive, adaptable design makes it perfect for blending into any hotel environment—even properties as modern and trend-forward as Hotel Williamsburg.

“With this property being a luxury boutique hotel, there was a lot of importance placed on selecting a safe that fits within the space from a design aspect,” Houston says. “We have a mix of rooms—some have very large closets and some have smaller closets. One benefit of this safe is that it comes in three different sizes and is visually pleasing, with a modern design that matches the minimalistic decor of the room.”

Mexican Hotel Chooses Assa Abloy Wireless Locking System

Mexican Hotel Chooses Assa Abloy Wireless Locking System

Editor / Provider: Assa Abloy | Updated: 11/25/2011 | Article type: Commercial Markets

VingCard Elsafe, the global leader in hospitality security and part of the ASSA ABLOY Group, announces that its advanced wireless RF-online locking system and its Signature RFID locks have been selected by ExtendedSuites (Grupo Estancias Extendias) for implementation across its new ExtendedSuites hotel brand.

As the first extended-stay hotel brand in Mexico, ExtendedSuites launched its debut property in September in Monterrey. The brand—which offers large, apartment-style guestrooms at an affordable rate, including complimentary Internet, local calls and weekly housekeeping—will feature VingCard Elsafe hospitality technology products throughout each of the 124-room hotels across the ExtendedSuites portfolio. “As a new brand, we wanted a security vendor that offered state-of-the-art products that are cost-effective without sacrificing guest safety—VingCard Elsafe fit the bill perfectly,” says Marvin Nahmias, Cofounder and CTO for ExtendedSuites.

VingCard's system features standalone electronic locks that communicate with a central property server via online radio frequency, eliminating the need to manually encode keycards, cancel master cards or check battery life. A remote audit trail and live card-tracking capabilities provide valuable intelligence in the event of a guest dispute. And optional advanced communication functionality keeps hotel management constantly in the loop regarding security issues via automated text message or email.

ExtendedSuites Monterrey has been open less than two months, and the system has already proven its value, both in terms of operating costs and guest satisfaction. “On his way out one morning, a guest walked by the front desk and wished the staff a nice day. Simultaneously, the real-time system issued an alarm to the front desk workers that the guest's room door was ajar. They alerted him, and needless to say, he was very happy to have been warned,” Nahmias says. “

Along with wireless locking system, the ExtendedSuites brand is using Signature RFID locks from VingCard Elsafe, which include NFC cell phone compatibility. Signature RFID offers reliable security features and unprecedented convenience and ease-of-operation for hoteliers and hotel guests alike, including a 600-event audit trail and innovative anti-cloning software. The Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) locks allow for simple, contactless guestroom entry. Additionally, the system can be easily adapted to Near Field Communication (NFC)—technology that is expected to be in widespread use globally within a few years and which will enable travelers to use their mobile phones as room keys and could allow guests to go straight to their rooms upon arrival.

American Christian School Selects Rosslare Access Control Solution

American Christian School Selects Rosslare Access Control Solution

Editor / Provider: Rosslare | Updated: 11/23/2011 | Article type: Education

The North Georgia Christian Academy is a medium size private School serving grades 1-12 with approximately 350 students in attendance.

The school needed controlling external access to all 7-entry points on campus and limiting it to authorized personnel only. Due to a rather tight budget the NCGA was looking for a full featured access control system to be both cost effective, expandable and could be networked from building to building and support remote access over internet. In addition, the newly constructed Gym was completely exposed above the main entry/exit doors. The request was to have relatively small access control system which contains all the hardware inside.

To meet the North Georgia Christian Academy's security requirements, Rosslare's networked access controllers with communication gateways were chosen for this project. This solution enabled easy and fast installation, wireless connectivity and special programmable access control features such as: automatic interlock control of two doors, automatic relock, first person delay after relock, and extended door unlock time for privileged users.

Greek Luxury Resorts Selects Assa Abloy Locking Systems for Reliable Operations

Greek Luxury Resorts Selects Assa Abloy Locking Systems for Reliable Operations

Editor / Provider: Assa Abloy | Updated: 11/11/2011 | Article type: Commercial Markets

VingCard Elsafe, the global leader in hospitality security and part of the ASSA ABLOY Group, has completed installation of its Signature RFID contactless electronic door locks and access management system at a pair of luxury Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide properties in Greece. The 321-room The Romanos, A Luxury Collection Resort, and the 445-room The Westin Resort Costa Navarino opened last year as two of the most decadent properties of the Peloponnese region.

Both resorts feature Signature RFID contactless electronic door locks, which offer highly reliable security features and provide unprecedented convenience and ease of operation for hoteliers and guests alike. The Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) locks allow for contactless guestroom entry and are compatible with next-generation NFC cell phones. Each keycard provides updates to the front desk, allowing the hotel's staff to receive guest information and requests without requiring the guest to visit the front desk, making it possible to respond almost instantly.

Using VingCard's RFID, the Starwood resorts are able to provide user-friendly and intuitive guest interaction, including NFC mobile phone compatibility, while decreasing the overall workload of the hotel's management and staff. VingCard's RFID also provides unmatched control and security, with its 600-event audit trail and innovative anti-cloning software, creating peace-of-mind for hoteliers, says Christian Henon, President of ASSA ABLOY Hospitality Europe/Middle East/Africa.

“RFID by VingCard is an extremely reliable security solution that is easy to use while still offering guests a variety of flexible access options," Henon says. "Meanwhile, hoteliers can be confident in knowing that the system is future-proof—despite the impending global move to cell phones with Near Field Communciation technology, better known as NFC, VingCard's RFID comes ready-made for the conversion." VingCard's RFID operates on a secure open-platform system compatible with the three leading RFID ISO standards, in addition to the new NFC transaction platform that is emerging as standard functionality for mobile phones in Europe, North America and elsewhere.

To complement RFID by VingCard electronic locks, the Costa Navarino resorts have also selected the state-of-the-art access management system. The technology offers advanced reporting capabilities to enhance the properties' security, with all access attempts logged to ensure that anyone entering or leaving the resorts and their secure areas is automatically documented. Access management system's report templates and flexibility make it easy to quickly extract information about which keys have accessed which doors, and the dedicated portable LockLink interrogation and programming unit lets management view locking events from the audit trail. The system is based on a robust and advanced client server SQL database, ensuring fast and reliable operations and preventing the system from crashing in the event of a single terminal outage. Database files are protected by high-security encryption.

New Manchester Hotel Secured by Assa Abloy Integrated Locking System

New Manchester Hotel Secured by Assa Abloy Integrated Locking System

Editor / Provider: Assa Abloy | Updated: 10/31/2011 | Article type: Commercial Markets

VingCard Elsafe, the global leader in hospitality security and part of the ASSA ABLOY Group, announces that the new 218-room Holiday Inn Manchester-MediaCityUK has installed Signature locks from VingCard, powered by the software platform. The platform smoothly interfaces the locking system with the hotel's property management and point-of-sale systems. Located in the studio block of Manchester's gleaming new MediaCityUK, a global hub for innovation and content creation, the 16-story Holiday Inn Manchester-MediaCityUK is a glass-fronted building that boasts one of the most modern aesthetics in the Holiday Inn portfolio. The hotel this month completed the implementation of the system, which gives the hotel centralized control of all of the property's Signature locks from VingCard Elsafe.

Compatible with Microsoft Windows Vista and several other major operating systems, the platform lets hotel management control exactly who has access to every door on the property, and when, by specifying restrictions within defined user groups. This gives hoteliers more flexible access management control than the fixed hierarchical structures native to most other access control vendors' systems. And with Plug-and-Play connectivity, an intuitive graphical interface and menu-driven software, the Assa Ably's platform is easy to install and to use. The platform offers compatibility with dedicated portable LockLink interrogation and programming units, showing the last 100 locking events right at the guestroom lock. Simply plug the unit into any hotel door lock to program it, or to view and download the hotel lock events from the entry log audit trail.

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