Cambridge Innovation Center deploys new access control system

Office services facility upgrades security with a solution from SALTO Systems

You have to remember, we are just steps away from MIT where world-class hackers just wait looking for a challenge! After getting more familiar with SALTO, doing a lot of research and testing with our existing wireless technology and SALTO’s wireless locks (think Zigbee) to ensure compatibility, and exploring its layers of security features, we began warming to it. We also learned that it is in use at Heathrow Airport and at some US military bases - places that take security seriously.

So now we faced the moment of truth. Would we stay with the old, tried and true system we have run for the past decade, accepting its limitations, or go with a whole new system, despite its unfamiliarity, and redo the entire center's access control from scratch, including all our existing doors? "

The Solution

In the end CIC took the road less traveled, and decided to rebuild the entire system. They have now embarked on that process, and couldn't be happier. And while this means a great deal of work upgrading every door both electronic and keyed throughout the whole center (although retro-fitting a standard hard keyed door is a mere 15 minute operation), it's worth the effort.

The system they chose is the SALTO XS4 wireless solution. The bi-directional technology of this system combines the advantages of both on-line and off-line solutions. Any number of doors can be wirelessly connected to the system thanks to its IEEE 802.15.4 and 2.4 GHz technology. Gateways and repeaters act as antennas, collecting and sending information from the PC via SALTO SQL software, to the stand alone wireless locks (which use AES 128 encryption) and one gateway can manage several repeaters and electronic locks, minimizing infrastructure costs and maximizing flexibility.

With a single click CIC can configure or make changes to the network in real time. They can monitor the network, download audit trail information from the locks, delete users remotely and securely, collect battery status of the RF locks for maintenance and much more all from a single controlling PC and all in real-time. And thanks to its self-healing capabilities, if an individual lock should lose RF connection at any time it will automatically scan for a new connection to an alternative gateway or repeater, restoring communication and maintaining security.

"So, you may be asking, what does it mean for our clients?" Keenan continues. "Well, apart from seeing new locks on their office doors and getting new key fobs with high-tech encryption, like many of the technical systems at CIC most of the magic happens behind the scenes.

Although our eventual aim is to have SALTO wireless locks on all our floors by the end of the year, the new system will appear to clients to be much like the old system, securing the lobbies and office doors while still allowing 24/7 access. One added feature on this front will be electronic access to the stairwells. After the upgrade, CIC clients will be able to move between CIC floors without having to wait for the elevators.

We began the move over to SALTO in early June, starting with a review of their system software. This then progressed to retro-fitting the new wireless locks onto 10 office and closet doors, one Uno office and one shower room on the 11th and 14th floors replacing a previous mix of hard wired electronic and mechanical keyed doors.

Over the next few months more and more of this conversion process will roll out throughout the center, with expansion onto the 3rd and 4th floors completing on Sept 1st. Installation and set-up is being managed by two SALTO Service Partners (Davco and Floyd). Its my understanding that we will have one of the largest concentrations of RF locks in one building in North America when we’re done, with some floors operating upwards of 130 locks, so you can say that we’re definitely looking forward to flexing the benefits that SALTO brings to the table."