- System user: Sheffield International Venues
- Type of site: Sports/Leisure/Conference venues
- Type of system: Net2 PC based system
- System description: 82 doors, seven buildings
Sheffield International Venues (SIV) has played a key role in developing the economic, cultural and sporting profile of the City of Sheffield. As one of the largest sport, leisure and entertainment companies in Europe, SIV now operates 14 venues in Sheffield alone including the English Institute of Sport, Ponds Forge International Sports Centre and Don Valley Stadium.
SIV has an international reputation for managing more than 2,000 sporting and entertainment events annually, many televised, while championing community participation and sport development initiatives, all rewarded with the highest industry standards and accreditations.
The nature of these facilities means they are open to the public every day of the week. Hancock Hancock, SIV's Security Systems Technician, said, “We have to practice a very open policy, however there are some areas at each venue where access should be restricted to staff.”
Hancock, who has years of experience in the security industry, was keen to improve on the basic measures in place to protect staff areas. “We had some basic systems in place in our different venues but I was keen to standardize and improve on our existing security,” he said
Having used Net2, an access control system from Paxton Access, in the past, Hancock recommended that it should be installed on some of the venues as a trial prior to fitting it to all areas. Ponds Forge, which boasts an Olympic sized swimming pool, amongst the other great facilities, was the first venue to have Net2 installed.
The system has been gradually rolled out to Don Valley Stadium, Concord Sports Centre, iceSheffield and the English Institute of Sport. Sheffield City Hall is also on the Net2 system, as an SIV-managed facility.
Net2 now controls access on 82 doors for more than 1,000 users across SIV's venues. The management of the system is carried out by the security team at Ponds Forge. The systems are all connected over the existing IT network. Sims Sims, SIV's Fire Safety and Security Advisor said: “It is so much simpler being able to manage each venue from one central location.”
The Net2 system is also linked into the fire alarm which means that, in the event of an incident, a roll call report is generated from the software to show which staff are logged in at the time.
Hancock said: “Setting up and managing the software is easy. We have each venue set up as a department in the software; the local staff are given access permissions according to their needs. We are using the time and attendance package which is included in the Net2 software at the English Institute of Sport. The manager there uses it to calculate working and overtime hours for the staff. The clocking in and out facility is used at a number of venues. When we have so many staff working shifts it makes sense to have an easy way of logging the hours.”
Apart from being loaded onto the server in the control room, the Net2 software is also installed onto seven additional workstations outside of Ponds Forge. At the other centers, the rights are set to allow the user to read-only. “The fact that we do not have to pay a license to load the software on more than one PC means that we are able to give the individual venues the ability to track access on their own sites,” Sims said.
With the number of events that take place at each of the facilities it is also useful to be able to easily change employee access permissions. Event managers may need access for longer time periods and to different areas while events are in progress. SIV host everything from rock concerts to major televised sports events. In addition, the halls can undergo a transformation, changing them from sports venues into banqueting rooms seating up to 1,200 people for a five-course meal.
Net2 has helped in a number of ways. Sims said: “City Hall is often used for hospitality and concerts. We used to have to have someone available to lock up at the end of the evening. With the access control system we just set the affected doors to be open for the period of the concert and to automatically lock at the end of the time period. Our security office here at Ponds Forge used to be manned 24 hours a day, seven days a week. With the systems we now have in place, that is no longer necessary. So the system has brought us some cost savings as well.”
The main concern in any building that is open to the public is ensuring that access to private areas is restricted. Hancock said: “The Net2 system allows us to do this. Access to all of the office and staff only areas is restricted. Within that we can also restrict access to some more sensitive areas to a very limited number of staff.”
SIV are planning to extend the system both on the existing Net2 controlled sites and to their other facilities. Hancock said: “One of the great advantages of Net2 is how economical it is to expand the system, one door at a time if needed. We are planning now to put some of our maintenance and plant areas onto the system.”
If any problems occur, Sims can check on Net2 for who has been into an area and when. Sims laughs: “I can even track Hancock down when I need him by checking his last known position.”
Hancock and Sims are happy with the system. Hancock said: “In my experience Net2 is definitely one of the best systems out there. Systems that are capable of controlling multi-venues at such an economical price are rare. I would have no hesitation in recommending Net2 to any business.”