LIKE most
universities, Wintec has multiple, large sites and vast numbers of authorised
users. It’s a combination of challenges that seriously tests access control
solutions. Wintec is one of the largest institutes of technology in New
Zealand, and has more than 35,000 full-time and part-time students, more than
500 full and part time staff and eleven schools within its academic faculty.

Geographically,
there are 3 major Hamilton campuses; a city site overlooking the central
business district, Avalon campus on the northern outskirts of the city, and a
horticultural campus at Hamilton Gardens. This third Hamilton campus, the
Horticultural Education Centre, is situated amidst the 58 hectares of Hamilton
Gardens. In addition, Wintec has regional operations at Te Kuiti and Thames and
also an office in Beijing.

In order to
provide safety and protection, Wintec strives for a balance of unobtrusive yet
robust control of site activity, essential for maintaining an open campus
environment. According to security manager at Wintec, Shane Goodall, the
approach to security as highly proactive and collaborative.

“By focusing on
preventing issues arising, we now have a minimal policing role and the crime
resolution rate is high,” he says.

This open yet
secure environment is underpinned by Cardax FT, a core access control and
intruder alarm security system and a platform for integration. Wintec first
installed Cardax in 1999 and has since migrated this legacy system to Cardax
FT, the latest Cardax technology platform. Security for the entire
organisation, including satellite sites, is managed and monitored centrally from
Wintec’s single Cardax FT system.

“Student card
issuing is an automated process which is enrolment-driven – a student’s access
privileges are assigned according to their enrolled courses”

Since initial
installation, Wintec’s Cardax access control system has grown from 7 to 240
electronically controlled doors in 2009, with another 40 planned. Wintec has
integrated its imaging system to Cardax FT delivering a visual record which can
be matched to the audit trail of events in Cardax FT. The organisation first
installed 6 cameras in 2004 which has increased to 85 cameras supported by 7
DVRs (both analogue and IP). The scalability and TCP/IP network-friendly system
communications of Cardax FT are another compelling aspect of the system for
Wintec.

As well as
monitoring and controlling staff and student access, equipment including
computers, TVs, printers, audio visual resources at Wintec are also monitored
through Cardax FT. The ‘Gallagher Hub’, a new computer laboratory offering
comprehensive IT resources is open 24 hours. The Hub contains 125 workstations,
and there are plans to extend that number.

Active monitoring
of equipment though Cardax FT has significantly reduced theft. Students and
staff have scheduled access to shared IT resources, classrooms and lecture
theatres. ‘Cardholder Import’, an XML Interface, supports the importation of
cardholder data including course enrolments from their student record system to
Cardax FT.

“Student card
issuing is an automated process which is enrolment-driven – a student’s access
privileges are assigned according to their enrolled courses,” explains Goodall.
“To implement this, we defined a rules-based allocation of access groups in
Cardax FT using the XML interface.

“The interface is
‘live’ so that changes in the student enrolments database are immediately
reflected in the Cardax FT system. The student’s updated access privileges come
into effect without delay.”

Meanwhile, staff
that interact directly with students are now empowered to manage cardholder
data enabling the security team to focus on security.

Redefining access
cards as operational enablers

Students and
staff utilize Mifare smart card functionality extensively, embracing them as an
integral multi-application tool in their modern educational environment – smart
cards are used to issue resources from the library and as pre-stored value
cards enabling prepaid printing and photocopying. In the near future they will
also be used in Wintec’s pay and display car-park and potentially as passes
onto city council buses.

Stewart Brougham,
Director of Internationalisation at Wintec says students have given very
positive feedback about their ID cards. In particular, the ability to verify
the identity of staff members from their ID access cards provides peace of mind
for students. The end result is a people-friendly campus.

Future
enhancements of Wintec’s security may include the utilisation of the CommCard
solution from Gallagher to manage and monitor access to student accommodation.
CommCard is a unique high level integration between Cardax FT and Salto
off-line readers, delivering offline, non-monitored electronic access control
for lower security doors.

The path forward
– a lateral perspective

An overriding
philosophy of collaboration has seen Wintec take a lateral approach to
security, the value of which many organisations have yet to realise. At Wintec,
security is not viewed as a discrete functional activity relegated to security
staff only. The ongoing management of security is a joint effort between the
security services team and the information services team.

The security
services team manages the Cardax FT system while IT looks after back-end
functions such as installation on the network and backup. Wintec has leveraged
the convergence of security (access control) and other operational business
functions recognising the tremendous potential for reducing risk and increasing
operational security, safety, performance and efficiency.

Looking beyond
simply controlling and monitoring who goes where and when on site, Wintec is
harnessing the reporting capabilities of Cardax FT to meet regulatory
requirements. Cardax FT enables the institution to report on actual space
utilization (not just space booking). Decisions are made for best use, and also
to substantiate funding, based on these reports.

“The key to space
utilization reporting are the frequency of reporting and the integrity and
reliability of information,” states Stewart Brougham.

This is a
national issue for educational institutes in New Zealand.

“For Wintec,
reporting is about ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements and is also
a staff time management issue – reducing the administration load on lecturers,
who would otherwise have to track student attendance manually.” Brian Fleming,
director of Cardax Channel Partner, Concord Technologies, cites this lateral
application of a security system as key to maximising the value of Cardax FT to
Wintec.

This
collaborative philosophy extends to proactive external partnerships with its Cardax
Channel Partner, Concord Technologies, for the installation and maintenance of
Cardax FT, and with Gallagher Security Management Systems, the designer and
manufacturer of Cardax FT.

Having recently
signed an agreement to continue in the capacity of a Cardax field test site,
Wintec has a strong relationship with Gallagher in the ongoing development of
Cardax. Wintec’s success, in the last 5 years, as a test site reflects the
competence of both its IT and security staff and the institute’s commitment to
leading edge student services.

Minimal training
has been required. There is open communication and information sharing between
all internal and external parties involved, which means any issues that arise
can be quickly addressed.

Wintec has
committed to a site maintenance plan with their security partner, Concord
Technologies. The plan incorporates both software and hardware maintenance to
ensure the system is maintained on the latest operating platforms within a
known cost structure. A Software Maintenance Agreement also ensures enhanced
ongoing system performance and reliability of the Cardax system.

“For Wintec,
reporting is about ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements and is also
a staff time management issue – reducing the administration load on lecturers,
who would otherwise have to track student attendance manually”