ELTHAM College is an independent, non-denominational, coeducational day school that caters for around 700 students from kindergarten to year 12. Its main campus is in the outer Melbourne suburb of Research (so named during the 19th century gold rush, when a ‘re-search’ of the area found rich deposits) with Year 9 taught from its site in Melbourne’s CBD.
Director of IT, Trevor Frazer, explains that there were two coinciding requirements that really pushed him to find a better way to manage security. “The first”, he says, “was the city campus. We don’t have a receptionist there, and we’d had a couple of incidents with people coming into the foyer. The other was our car park boom gates – the system was unreliable and maintaining the database took a lot of time to manage. It was the responsibility of our property manager, but when he left it fell to the IT team. We simply didn’t have the capacity to handle it, so I knew I had to find a better solution.”
The SALTO ProAccess SPACE software is so easy to work with, out of the box. For us this is the biggest time saver.”
Trevor had come across SALTO and was impressed by the fact that: “They are an IT company, who offered an electronic access control system that we could roll out on our existing IT infrastructure.”
Trevor engaged SALTO partner Eclipse Security Systems, and started by installing the SALTO electronic access control (EAC) system in the city campus. They now have a secure entrance door, with students and teachers having access via swipe cards, and visitors let in remotely from the office in Research.
Next was the replacement of the boom gate system – which instantly increased after hours’ security because the gates were reliable and were being used, whereas in the past they had just been left open. SALTO gave the college the flexibility to program the gates around events – for example, during the school production, the gates have to be open, but only up to a certain time of night.
The ability of the SALTO system to record traffic, even when the gates are open, provides useful data to the college. During drop off and pick up, for example, if one of the three parking areas is being overused, the college can send out a reminder to parents about which area to use for their child’s year group.
With two successful projects completed, Trevor, with the help of Eclipse, set about expanding the SALTO system’s reach. Next cab off the rank was the secure IT areas such as the server room, so that the college could track who had accessed them.
The college hires its sports facilities to external clubs, but managing the mechanical keys had been a headache. “Users would check out a key and lose it or forget to return in, and there was no oversight of whether clubs were sticking to their allocated days and times,”, says Trevor. “With the SALTO keyless system, we can program access cards to restrict access to a user’s particular approved hours, and if a card is lost, it’s a simple question of programming a new one.”
As a SALTO partner, Greg Flood, Director of Eclipse Security Systems, keeps Trevor briefed on the technologies available and how they might help the college. He therefore suggested that the college should look at SALTO’s JustIN app, where the user’s mobile phone becomes their access credential. They trialled it with the tennis club that uses the college’s courts: “The tennis club wanted every one of their 50 or so members to have a key, so we offered them the JustIN mobile solution,” Trevor explains: “The club provides us with a list of members’ names and mobile numbers and we issue a mobile key. We have full control and visibility and we don’t have the hassle of managing over 50 mechanical keys.”
“The other real beauty of JustIN”, adds Greg, “is that a gate does not have to be networked to the main system – the user’s access data is sent back to the control system using their mobile data.” The trial worked so well with the tennis club that Trevor plans to roll it out to all the sports clubs that use college facilities.
Currently, the college is implementing SALTO EAC to high access doors including reception and student meeting rooms. These are open to all, so in this case, it’s not so much about restricting access but about the audit log that shows who is using the areas. The EAC uses the cards that students and staff were already using for functions such as transport on charter buses, photocopier access, recording access at staff meetings and, most recently, signing in to do temperature checks. “Our students and staff were used to the concept of using the cards”, says Trevor, “so access control was just another function on an existing card.”
The next project will be to add EAC to all external access doors. “This is about saving time,” says Trevor, “and also about the added security of a rapid lockdown. At the moment, the ground staff manually unlock all the doors in the morning and the cleaners lock them at night, taking around an hour in total. With the SALTO EAC, our receptionist will be able to lock or unlock all the doors at the press of a button. It also means that if there were ever a threat that needed the whole campus to be locked, we know we can keep students and staff safe.”
SALTO’s software is the most sophisticated I have found and it integrates with our existing infrastructure, including Active Directory.”
- IT integration – for Trevor, the single biggest benefit of SALTO is the very sophisticated management software and the high degree of integration with existing IT systems. “SALTO’s software is the most sophisticated I have found” says Trevor, “particularly in the way that it integrates with Active Directory. Users are managed through the existing AD system, which synchronises with SALTO”. Trevor’s team have also programmed the boom gates to be synchronised with an Outlook calendar, to simplify event management. “The SALTO ProAccess SPACE software is so easy to work with, out of the box”, says Trevor. “For us this is the biggest time saver”.
- Enhanced security – the city campus is secure and the main campus can be locked down instantly.
- Cost effective – unlike other access control systems that Trevor had seen, SALTO’s software has no ongoing licencing fees, making it a cost effective solution for schools with limited budgets.
- Wired and wireless options – SALTO offers the option to have wireless or hard-wired access points, meaning that schools can tailor it exactly to their building and budgetary requirements.
- User-friendly but powerful – SALTO ProAccess SPACE software offers one complete platform to manage stand-alone wireless devices, and IP online devices for users, keys and doors.
- Flexible programming – allowing access by data and time, as well as by user.
- Efficiency – the new system offers greater security with less management time.
- ‘No-touch’ IT system – the IT team doesn’t need to be involved with day to day operations of the EAC. When a new card is required, HR or reception prints it, and SALTO provisions it automatically.
- Better insights – the college has data about who is accessing which areas, and about traffic and road usage.
- Remote access – the city campus can be managed from the main site at Research.