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Case Study: Securing University Research Facilities

ASSA ABLOY’s ARX access control solution is helping secure new SafePod research facilities in universities across the United Kingdom.

The SafePod Network is a world first service to provide standardised safe settings across the UK for data that requires secure access for research. The network was launched in September 2021.

SafePods include the ARX access control solution to provide secure access to researchers, as well as CCTV, an area for dataset analysis, and an IT cupboard for the storage of services.

To provide a safe and robust environment for researchers, SafePods required a security solution that could offer a simple access system while ensuring it was kept physically secure.

Several access control system options were considered during the SafePod prototype and specification phase. A fingerprint reader was tested, but it did not meet the requirements in terms of reliability and ease of use.

Subsequently, ASSA ABLOY ARX was successfully trialled, proving to be a simple, reliable and secure solution for controlled access to a SafePod. Researchers are supplied with a pre-programmed door card that can be swiped over the reader on the SafePod door to gain access and begin their research.

Darren Lightfoot, SafePod Network Manager, explains: “SafePods were created to widen the opportunities for approved researchers to work with data that requires secure access and improve the quantity and diversity of public benefit research undertaken across the UK.

“The ASSA ABLOY ARX access control system was a key component for providing researchers with secure access to SafePods. The online management software is straight forward to use, and it was great that I could brand the swipe cards to give a custom and professional finish.”

Installation of the ARX solution was managed by JCI, who also provide services at other Universities operating the ARX platform.

ASSA ABLOY ARX is not only an access control system but a security system with combined access control and burglar alarm, with administration control via a single interface.

ARX is built with very high communication security through industry standards for communication technology (Java / TCP / IP, PKI / SSL, LINUX / XML), which means that the system is not dependent on proprietary technology.

What’s more, the solution is created by combining function modules and is completely scalable, so when security needs change, modules can be easily added and removed, making it a cost-effective option for both online and offline door environments.

Paul Nicholas, Business Development Manager – Education Sector at Abloy UK, says: “A key aspect of being able to achieve the goal for this project was to provide a physically safe environment, and ARX contributed significantly to securing the SafePods.

“Abloy is pleased to have been able to help facilitate the SafePod Network, allowing researchers to be located remotely at selected universities.”

There are expected to be around 24 SafePods primarily based in universities across the UK by the end of 2022.

“SafePod” is a registered Trademark of the University Court of the University of St Andrews, Scotland, UK. © 2022.

CAMFIL HVAC Filtration Solutions

Abloy UK

Abloy UK is the UK’s leading expert on high quality door locking and functionality. Experts in architectural ironmongery, Abloy produces the world’s most trusted access control hardware. Abloy UK is part of the ASSA ABLOY Group, the global leader in access solutions. Every day, we help billions of people experience a more open world.

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