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University of Texas at Arlington and Diebold take card-based security to new heights

At the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA), a significant advancement in campus security was achieved through the convergence of separate security elements into a single, powerful solution. For years the campus had used card-enabled door access, alarm panels, and closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras but each independently of the other. When all these elements were tied into a single master control system, the resulting solution greatly expanded the level of security at the Arlington campus and set the bar for campuses across the country.

UTA’s 25,000 students study and reside in the 60 buildings that make up the campus. Today more than 85 security cameras make up the CCTV network that watches over them. Many of these devices are tied into digital video recorders and all interface directly into the security and alarm system.

When an alarm is triggered due to an unauthorized door entry, fire, break-in, etc., the CCTV camera switches to full-screen mode in the security office. A detailed map of the exact location in question is automatically displayed. Email notification of the occurring incident is sent to the safety manager for the department and to the campus police. The digital video is captured to aid in future efforts to diagnose or prosecute the incident.

All of these functions are handled by the Diebold CS Gold™ solution that runs the campus card system. The integrated security system relies upon the very same Windows® PC and Oracle database that enable UTA to issue ID cards, conduct financial transactions, authorize dining hall purchases and meal plans, and control library patron identification.

Diebold had been providing ID card and door access technology to UTA for more than a decade when the campus approached the company about unifying the various security elements into a single solution. According to Bret Tobey, Diebold’s Product Manager for Access Control, “UTA liked the capabilities enabled by the access readers that were tied into the Diebold CS Gold™ system. They wanted the same level of centralized control and flexibility from the alarm panels and components purchased from other suppliers.”

The flexibility Mr. Tobey referred to includes capabilities such as:

  • Graphically display the campus map and building diagrams at multiple levels of granularity to pinpoint incidents as they occur
  • Unlock doors anywhere on the campus remotely from the guard workstation PC
  •  Tie in virtually any industry standard alarm panel from any vendor thus preserving existing infrastructure investments
  •  Automatically access the digital video content of the time period surrounding an incident
  •  Route automatic notification to police, security, and/or any pre-assigned person via email or pre-recorded phone message when an incident occurs.

“Using the CS Gold™ system as the central command for a wide range of functions–card issuance, payments, privilege control, access and security–enables the campus to streamline backend business functions,” says Mr. Tobey. Instead of having a dispersed set of staff members managing different components from multiple vendors, dedicated staff can truly learn to manage and coordinate the more cohesive system.”

And this impressive functionality has relevance to the more traditional campus card functions within the system as well. To the CS Gold™ system, an incident need not be limited to a security breach. An out of service vending reader or a point-of-sale terminal in a food service location can also call upon the same functionality. In such a case, the system would not access digital video content but might initiate a basic restart command at the reader as it notified the appropriate service personnel of the problem. Says Mr. Tobey, “ while the immediacy is certainly not comparable to ensuring the physical security of students and staff, offline readers hurt a campus’ bottom line and the level of student service–so any means to limit their downtime is important.”

Diebold is no newcomer to high-end security. In fact, it forms the company’s roots. A recent survey by the security industry publication, SDM, ranked Diebold as the number two security integrator in North America, trailing only Seimens Building Technologies but leading household names like ADT, Johnson Controls, SimplexGrinnel, Ingersoll Rand, and Pinkerton. Of the UTA project Mr. Tobey says, “we leveraged Diebold’s vast security experience from other markets (such as the financial sector) where we are proven leaders, and combined it with our leading campus card system. The result was a solution that we think can redefine the non-academic side of the educational technology market.”

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