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Cincy dorms to move to all wireless locks

The University of Cincinnati recently outfitted its Scioto Hall, a dorm for on-campus students, with wireless electronic locks at individual dorm room doors, and all signs point to the good.

According to a Commercial Integrator report, the recently renovated Scioto Hall is the first facility in a wireless-lock upgrade program that will span nine campus residence halls and another 30 campus buildings. Scioto Hall is a twelve-story, apartment-style residence that houses 456 students.

Tem House, software applications developer for Cincinnati’s Campus Services Operations, served as the administrator on the lock system upgrade. House says the university wanted to upgrade to a wireless lock system to simplify the process of providing access for students and staff, and to bring higher levels of security and accountability.

“The facility’s exterior doors have been part of our Blackboard Access system for about 12 years, but the individual suite doors remained mechanical lock and key,” House told Commercial Integrator. “Whenever somebody lost a key, the lock had to be re-cored and new keys reissued.”

As with other, similar deployments, Cincinnati stands to save considerably by not having to reissue lost metal keys and fix or replace broken mechanical locks. These long-term savings are expected to offset the up-front installation cost of the new locks.

The new ASSA ABLOY locks operate via Wi-Fi, and remove the costly and time-consuming process of running wires throughout the building to connect the new locks. According to House, in addition to the time and cost savings, the new system will also help to monitor and manage access through audit trails and increased accountability.

The project saw 148 battery-operated Sargent IN120 Wi-Fi locks installed at Scioto Hall. The IN120 Wi-Fi locks integrated with the university’s existing IT infrastructure and leverage multiCLASS SE technology from HID Global.

The system also supports multiple credential technologies, offering easy migration to higher security credentials, mobile access, or a combination of mixed credentials over time, as needed.

“The system flexibility was important. We support our Bearcat Card, which is a Blackboard card system, as a one-card system,” added House. “The one card encompasses all of a student’s needs; they have their money, their meal plan and now access to the residence halls. It’s well accepted, and our students love it.”

The performance of the new locks has been impressive thus far. “We’ve run the wireless battery-operated locks for just over a year now and out of the 148 locks, only two are down to 70% battery life; the rest are higher. This is excellent performance,” said House. “We have the locks configured for optimized battery life, and they’re giving us the performance that we need.”

Following the early success at Scioto Hall, a second residence hall upgrade is now on the docket — a project that will include 177 wireless locks — and a third facility requiring an additional 338 locks is scheduled to begin in the near future.

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