Magazine Article | July 18, 2013

Integrator Brings Cloud-Based Access Control To Historic Courthouse

By The Business Solutions Network

An integrator lands an access control solution that involves cloud-based management and wireless locks.

After the town of Crown Point, IN, built a new courthouse complex, the historic courthouse was transformed into a three-story mix of retail, offices, ballroom function space, and a still-functioning courtroom. Security for the remodeled historic courthouse remained standard lock and key, and that’s where the problems began.

“It really got out of control,” says Allen Pante of integrator Phil and Son, who was called in by the association/foundation to look at the current situation to see if it could be improved. “While there are only four entrances, there were over 200 keys in circulation, so when the foundation took over, they faced the hassle and expense of rekeying the entire building. Then, once retail and event rental operations started up, there were so many people coming and going throughout the building.”

For the new mixed-use complex, someone had to manually open all four doors each morning and then relock them each evening. After-hours access for events was needed, as was a way to grant after-hours access to the businesses that maintained offices in the upper floors. “Clearly, the foundation needed a better, more efficient way to manage access for the many and varying demands of all the building’s tenants, visitors, and customers,” Pante explains.

Phil and Son looked at a number of different access control providers to solve the foundation’s access management challenges. “It was important that we understand the foundation’s needs at this time, but also in the future. The foundation board members wanted access card control, add and delete capabilities, remote access, and to provide specific access privileges. The retail shop owners wanted door scheduling, and to be able to change and add system features.”

After evaluating a number of different options, Pante selected a solution from Brivo Systems. “Many of the systems we looked at were ‘fix it now,’ but I could see the Brivo system had the flexibility for future needs as well. Other systems required that I load software onto board members’ computers — that wasn’t going to work — and most did not offer mobile access.” He adds that the building’s internal network is outsourced, so a solution was needed that wouldn’t compromise the network.

A nice added benefit of the Brivo ACS WebService solution is remote management. Now the integrator can remotely assist the foundation staff in managing the system and provide important backup resources for any of their needs or questions. Also, with the remote access and management, the integrator doesn’t have to roll a truck to the site every time there is a program change or request, and Brivo ACS WebService eliminates questions of warranty and service agreements. As Pante says, “There are no hidden costs, and they’re buying a complete system — a total package.”

The Brivo system is used to manage the four main doors located on each side of the building, as well as two bathroom entrances. Two of the main entrance doors lead to the first floor and the retail shops, and the other two doors provide access to the upper floors, where the offices, ballroom, and courtroom are located. The system manages access for more than 100 users a day and upwards of 200 users for after-hours events and/or office access.

Phil and Son has assisted the foundation staff to create separate groups with specific access for the retailers in the basement (first floor), clients on the second and third floors, foundation management, different service providers, cleaning crews, and foundation volunteers. The main doors automatically unlock each morning and relock in the evening; they are programmed for specific access on the weekends and to provide different access for each special event in the ballroom after hours.

In addition to highly specific access management, as well as system flexibility and scalability, the Brivo system offered other valuable advantages. “The Board did not want any construction on this historic building, so that locked out a number of technology providers. Luckily, through Brivo’s integration with Schlage, we had a wireless solution,” Pante says.

Recently, the foundation board came to Pante with a problem — they needed to limit retail customer access to the upper floor offices on the weekends. “We integrated the Brivo system with the elevator controls, and we were able to close off access to the offices as needed. Everything the board has asked for, we’ve been able to deliver. The end result speaks for itself in terms of what this system can do. The foundation has been pleased we can solve all these issues, and each time they come up with a new request, it doesn’t cost them thousands of dollars.”