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North Carolina Department Adds Wireless Access Control System

April 14, 2010  | 

Under a contract between the city of Asheville (N.C.) and Matrix Systems, several municipal facilities including the police department will have a state-of-the-art, enterprise-based access control system.

Security provider Matrix Systems is providing its Frontier Universe access control system. The initial phase will include dozens of doors and areas in the Asheville Police Department's firing range, public works building, City Hall, and the municipal building, which houses the police and fire departments, according to Kevin Hymel, the city's technical services manager. Once the initial phase is completed in two months, the city of 78,000 people will incorporate additional buildings into the scalable system over the next several years.

"From an information technology (IT) perspective, using this enterprise-based access control system will give us unprecedented redundancy with an additional fail-over server that automatically takes over in the event we have any server-related issues," said Hymel.

The system was funded by government grants to the police department, and will feature wireless equipment in some areas. Parking lots and other remote outdoor areas will use wireless transmission instead of cost-intensive trenching and cabling typically associated with closed circuit television (CCTV) surveillance.

Wireless will also increase security and accountability at the police firing range by replacing conventional locks with electronic key and lock cylinders that record and report all door events in ancillary areas to the centralized access control software.

"As we continue to become more security conscious, both internally and externally, the installation of the Matrix System will enhance and improve the current building security system to a level that will be state-of-the-art for several years to come," said Capt. Daryl Fisher, commander of the department's support services division. "Building security is designed to ensure accountability for internal inventories, while providing our citizens with the best customer service possible."

The new system will also save money by requiring only one proximity ID badge, instead of the several badges required by the city's past access control systems.

"Having one ID card will save the city money in productivity and maintenance costs versus the old methods," said Steven Frey, a city systems analyst that's overseeing the vendor access control implementation.

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