SMARTair improves student life across Europe — and it’s just the start

SMARTair improves student life across Europe — and it’s just the start
Ask a student, or pretty much anyone, what they think about “access control” and you’ll get a shrug. Conversely, all of us are enthusiastic about security and convenience. Students across Europe are discovering SMARTair wireless access control gives them both.

Adding SMARTair access control to a door involves just replacing a standard cylinder or escutcheon with a digital, smartphone- or smart-card–operated electronic lock. It’s hassle-free to make the switch to to SMARTair. And with a system design focused on user experience, SMARTair takes some of the everyday pain out of student life. 

Wherever you fit SMARTair, it’s easy to configure access cards to enable payments in the canteen or at vending machines; for changing room locker locks; and for the photocopier or library loans. You can’t do that with a metal key.

At Madrid’s prestigious Colegio Universitario de Estudios Financieros (CUNEF) students now open doors with smart MIFARE RFID cards instead of keys. CUNEF fitted escutcheons to monitor and ease access to different areas of the university for 1,600 students, without the need for expensive wired door locks. If a student loses their card, there’s no threat to campus security. A manager issues a new credential which automatically cancels the lost card — much faster than changing a lock.

When Mezzino took ownership of Rialto Court — apartments for students attending Durham University and Teesside University — they replaced a mechanical master key system with SMARTair. From the company’s point of view, the high annual tenant turnover and a need for scheduled cleaning and summer shutdown were becoming difficult to manage with physical keys. 

Students also reaped the benefits of their new, user-friendly access system. They have the confidence no previous resident of their flat has copied a physical key. 

At Funway Academic Resort in Madrid, student rooms are also locked with SMARTair escutcheons. Energy-saving wall devices inside rooms regulate electricity use, and students each have their own safe locked with a SMARTair cabinet lock. The Funway gym, study rooms, games rooms, swimming pool and changing rooms, spa and staff areas are also locked with SMARTair escutcheons — and open with the same smart-card.

A mobile generation

There’s more to come from SMARTair. The recent launch of the SMARTair Openow solution puts credentials on a mobile phone. With SMARTair and the Openow app, students can open their rooms and authorized doors with a smartphone. If you have your phone, you're already carrying your keys. 

Student services or facilities managers issue virtual keys over-the-air — and can revoke them whenever they choose — so there’s no need for a key-card handover meeting, at the beginning or end of term. A time-limited virtual key arrives ahead of the first day and automatically expires when it’s time to vacate your halls. 

Mobile credentials will be a big hit. Student life goes on inside the handset, as much as IRL (“In Real Life”, for the uninitiated). Last year’s Deloitte Mobile Consumer Survey found a fifth of 18- to 24-year-olds even check their phone for messages in the middle of the night.

From a security standpoint, phone-based credentials have another advantage. Checking our phones is “habitual”, “unconcscious” and “repetitive”, according to one study**. We know very quickly if it is missing. How soon would you notice a missing plastic card, especially if you were enjoying yourself on a night out? 

Plus a virtual key on every student’s smartphone potentially provides an extra layer of biometric protection for every controlled university door. Fingerprint, and even face and iris, scanners are commonplace on smartphones.

The next step

"Generation Z students were raised as digital natives," says Felix Moran, SMARTair Product Manager at ASSA ABLOY." They expect convenience as a standard feature, not a mechanical solution used in Ancient Egypt. 

"In Europe's increasingly international, marketized higher education ecosystem, attracting these tech-savvy students is critical, as is keeping them satisfied with the campus experience."

The complete SMARTair solution includes wireless escutcheons, cylinders, wall readers, locker locks and more; the intuitive SMARTair TS1000 software; and the enhanced new Openow app functionality. It works out the box and is easy to install — and even easier to operate.
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