Case In Point: Web-based Access Control

Headquartered in Jackson, Miss., Cellular South is the largest privately-held wireless provider in the nation. Since it was founded in 1988, the company has grown to employ 1,100 employees in the Southeast.

When an 80,000 square-foot warehouse in a convenient location became available, Cellular South management decided it presented the perfect opportunity to consolidate the various support functions that were scattered throughout different facilities around the Jackson area. They turned to integrator Alarm One Inc., to design a security system that would streamline their operations and allow them to focus on what they do best - provide exceptional service to their customers in Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee.

Today, the new building houses approximately 300 employees in four independent departments: triage of returned devices, product repair, distribution and customer care representatives.

Finding a security system that met all their needs presented several challenges. Because each group uses its own entrance and works independently, the building is in operation from 6 a.m. until 11 p.m. every day. The unique nature of each group, the varied uses of the space and the number of different work schedules had to be considered. Alarm One needed to create four separate video, intrusion and access control systems within the massive facility - and then merge all those independent systems into one secure central control point.

Inside the operations center, Honeywell's WIN-PAK access control software limits who can go where. Customer care representatives do not have access to the warehouse, for instance, and the triage group can move about freely in their area but nowhere else. Each employee has an HID prox keyfob, and access rights are administered by the individual department managers.

The NetAXS Web-based access control system is tied into the IT network, enabling managers to log in from the office or access their information remotely from an offsite location. If the VISTA panel sends a fire or intrusion alarm after hours or during the weekend, they can pull up a history of the readers and review the incident. High definition dome cameras at the new operations center are integrated into the system, along with surveillance cameras at all of the company's 110 retail stores, giving management an easy way to keep an eye on operations by simply logging on.

In order to disrupt operations as little as possible, the entire project was completed in less than two months. "During the renovations we had a crew of up to eight guys on the job at all times," says Steve Pyle, president of Alarm One. "With more than 50,000 feet of cable involved in the security installation, this project was the largest installation of NetAXS that Alarm One has completed to date."

"We appreciated how quick it was to install and how easy it was to get all the users trained on the system," says Charles Weldon, operations and sales manager for Alarm One. "The employees love how simple it is to operate, and the managers really like how easy it is to make changes to badges or add new employees."

Kevin Smith, manager of loss prevention for Cellular South, spends most of his days in his office at the Cellular South corporate headquarters several miles away, but says he feels confident in his ability to keep an eye on things at the new facility using the remote capabilities of the integrated system: "The system keeps me connected to all our properties round the clock. If there's an alarm on the weekend, I can sit down at my PC at home and pull up the event history and video for the incident without ever having to go to the facility."