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For all commercial and technical enquiries please contact us at Stanley House.

Stanley House
Bramble Road
Swindon
SN2 8ER

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STANLEY Security Case Studies

Background

Cardiff University is recognised in independent government assessments as one of Britain’s leading
teaching and research universities and is a member of the Russell Group of the UK’s most research
intensive universities. The 2014 Research Excellence Framework ranked the University 5th in the UK for
research excellence.

Founded by Royal Charter in 1883, today the University combines impressive modern facilities and a
dynamic approach to teaching and research. The University’s breadth of expertise encompasses: the
College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; the College of Biomedical and Life Sciences; and the
College of Physical Sciences and Engineering, along with a long-standing commitment to lifelong learning.
Cardiff’s flagship Research Institutes are offering radical new approaches to pressing global problems.

Cardiff University has two main campuses: Cathays Park campus located in and around Cardiff’s civic
centre which has recently seen the development of the advanced research facilities in the £30m Hadyn
Ellis and £44m Cardiff University’s Brain Research Imaging Centre buildings. Also, the Heath Park campus
where Academic Schools share a 53 acre site with the 900-bed University Hospital Wales - a major
teaching and research centre.

The Requirement

With such a considerable number of people spread over a large number of sites and buildings, Cardiff University required an access control system that was powerful enough to accommodate the system size with the flexibility for a potentially complex, and ever growing system.

Cardiff University has employed a STANLEY access control system to meet these needs for many years, upgrading from PAC Vision to the STANLEY NT500 in 2012 to take full advantage of the wider software functionality and the modern suite of highly cost-effective door controllers.

The STANLEY NT500 system is an extremely reliable, flexible access control system which can be tailored
to meet an organisation’s individual requirements and allows for simple system expansion. Reliability is in-built, with Secure Socket Communications and a built-in Firewall for ‘data centre grade’ protection and the use of Distributed Intelligent Controllers so that on-site security is maintained at all times, even in the event that the main communication lines are lost.

It’s an advanced and simple to administer solution designed to provide optimum performance today and in
the future. The open architecture design of the NT500, based on Microsoft’s .NET and CE.NET platforms, allows the University to integrate increasingly sophisticated capabilities as needs change and grow, extending the product life cycle.

For Cardiff University, this level of flexibility is key, as Peter McDonnell, Services Manager (Security & Portering), explains: “Cardiff University is the result of several mergers of academic institutes over the years, so we have multiple sites. The most recent merger in 2004 with the University of Wales College of Medicine, added an entirely new campus to our estate approximately one mile away from the main Cathays Park campus.

“Being a city centre University, sites and property are at a premium, so we partly have to take what we get. Over the years this has led to a number of different buildings located across the city, from the North to the South; in fact, 300 to date. All the buildings are LAN connected. “The access control system has to be able to operate across these sites and cope with large volumes of users, whose numbers change every year with new intakes.” 

The NT500 at Cardiff University currently serves 47,500 card holders and covers 580 doors. There are 450 access groups and 190 time profiles – a large number by any standard. But there’s a very good reason behind this, as Peter explains: “Students only need to access a few doors that are associated with their course. When a student arrives for the first time, they are allocated a card – which is also an identity card – this card is specifically validated to allow access to doors relevant to their course, and only their course. Any additional access rights are processed through the security control centre.”

Cardiff University associates each student to a specific course on the Student Management database, this data is imported into the STANLEY database prior to their arrival as ‘student / course name’ e.g. John Smith / Student Medic. Each course has an associated access profile, allowing for course specific access rights to be automatically added during import, making the system efficient and accurate.

As mentioned, the cards used in the NT500 systems are also identity cards. These are part pre-printed with the University logo, and key information on the reverse. When the student arrives the card is overprinted using one of 15 machines held at the University, the import specific access rights are associated with the card and validated. In total, the University buys 24,000 cards per year to allow for the new intake of students and to replace lost or damaged cards.

The Solution

For Cardiff University, STANLEY access control has proven to be an effective, easy to manage security
solution. “STANLEY is an ideal solution for our building entrances and for providing centralised control” states
Peter. “We gain the most benefit from it in cases where there are many users accessing a few doors, it is cost effective, and provides the flexibility we need.”

Upgrading to the NT500 has enhanced this: “The NT500’s interface is intuitive, making it simpler and easier to use. NT500 has many excellent features, including the ability to program a variety of differing time lock profiles, with genuine central control” comments Peter. “NT500 is compatible with the legacy controllers, and the new controllers, provide greater functionality at a lower cost than their predecessors!” The 500 series of controllers provide industry leading performance, ease of use and the flexibility to easily expand, providing a scalable solution for even the largest applications. However, 2100/2200 controllers can also be used with the NT500 making upgrading to this system all the more cost-effective.

Whilst the access control cards are used primarily for security and ID, Cardiff University has looked into other
uses to maximise their value. Currently the cards can also be used by students as a charge card against their printing and photocopying account and also for key safes. The University is also investigating potential of integrating transport applications on the University Card, for use on local transport across South East
Wales, similar to the London Oyster card.

For Peter, it’s not just about the product: “The service support from STANLEY is excellent. We report issues
through our Estates colleagues who check whether the fault is down to external system factors, such as power supply, or network connectivity, before they contact STANLEY; if a fault is escalated to STANLEY, they always respond within 24 hours.”.

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