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CBORD, Northeastern University install smart residence hall technology

Andrew Hudson   ||   May 12, 2014  ||   ,

A new CBORD solution being installed at Northeastern University in Boston promises to improve student safety by leveraging online door access control.

The new security system will be rolled out to 8,000 doors across Northeastern’s 36 residence halls and other facilities. The online security system replaces the oft-laborious offline and key-based locks.

CBORD, who specializes in campus card and integrated security solutions to for the university space, is providing the system to Northeastern University in conjunction with Allegion PLC. For Northeastern, security and convenience drove the transition away from offline residence hall room locks – and the frequent card re-encoding that goes with. Northeastern now uses CBORD’s CS Access for online access control, which is integrated with the CS Gold campus card system already used on Northeastern’s campus.

Allegion, meanwhile, is providing Schlage AD-400 wireless locks and aptiQ smart cards for the integrated, online solution. This partnership will enable Northeastern to:

  • Control and update locks remotely
  • Open doors with a card, app (CBORD Mobile ID), or text message (“Open MyDoor”)
  • Eliminate metal master keys by temporarily elevating Husky Card privileges with a text message (with prior approval)
  • Enact quick emergency lockdowns on one or thousands of doors
  • Audit door histories and alarm states

Northeastern is a long-time CBORD client, having used CS Gold and its predecessors since 1977. Residence hall security is a vital concern in the university space, and is a primary reason for Northeastern’s decision to revamp its physical access system with a secure, mobile-enabled online solution.


In fact, Northeastern recently conducted a student survey regarding the new locks, polling more than 1,100 respondents. Results of the survey found that 79% reported being satisfied or very satisfied with the new online locks, while 82% were satisfied or very satisfied with the various methods by which they could open their doors – card, app, text.

CBORD’s online system also removes the security risk associated with metal master keys.

When responding to lockouts, Northeastern wanted to keep its resident assistants from walking outside between buildings at night to retrieve master keys. Using the new system, resident assistants and other staff members can now use CBORD’s “MasterKey” feature to temporarily elevate their Husky Card privileges via text message and open residents’ doors using their own cards. This feature requires pre-approval, but has proven to be a valuable safety benefit.

The readers on Allegion’s Schlage AD-400 locks can be easily replaced without removing the rest of the lock from the door, giving Northeastern added flexibility should it decide to move to a different card format in the future. The AD-400’s modular design has given university officials peace of mind that they will not need to reinstall locks as technology advances.

Northeastern is using Allegion’s aptiQ smart cards for secure, encrypted reader communication, as the university wanted to move away from the comparably less secure magnetic stripe credential.

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