Open Technology Opens Doors for Three Rivers
Three Rivers Park District in Minnesota covers more than 27,000 acres of parks and trails, and serves over 11 million visitors a year. With facilities for every season, including mountain biking, snowboarding, and evening cross-country skiing along lighted trails, Three Rivers has become a leader in the delivery of outdoor recreation and education services.
Different alarm and access control systems across over 60 buildings and 405 controlled doors, took Three Rivers on a search for a unified solution that could meet their requirements for access control, intrusion detection and third party integration.
In with the new
The project began as a migration from multiple, disparate systems—including the end-of-life GE Facility Commander suite. The hardware powering these systems was easily replaced with Protege DIN Rail controllers and expander units. The modular design of the DIN Rail range provides the flexibility to accommodate upgrades from small, medium and large installations.
The readers were also swapped out for the tSec series using the RS-485 reader interface. Knowing the benefits of using RS-485, Floyd Total Security took advantage of the reduced labor costs, added security, longer cable runs and the simple firmware update process in order to future proof the site.
To control the hardware, Protege GX was installed to provide a feature rich, unified solution that brings together access control, intruder detection and an extensive range of third party integrations.
With the site up and running, Three Rivers' Mark Dusbabek is thrilled: "ICT Protege GX has provided our organization with an efficient and user friendly solution for our access control and security needs. We are extremely pleased with the reporting capabilities the powerful software provides."
Multiple systems, one solution
The ability to integrate seamlessly with other third party systems is a key aspect of ICT philosophy. It’s the focus on open technology that enables ICT to offer a range of feature packed products that allow you to get the most out of an ICT system or component.
As integrator Rob Pinter from Floyd points out, “the integration of access and security far surpasses any other system on the market.” Bringing multiple systems together in one interface not only improves day to day efficiency, it also ensures that value is added to existing technology and infrastructure.
As you would expect, there are areas where wiring wasn’t the easiest task. Three Rivers avoided the stumbling block of long cable runs by using ICT’s integration with Salto. The high level integration between ProtegeGX and SALTO combines the real time power of online doors with the versatility and cost effectiveness of offline doors.
The online wireless locks use radio frequency technology to communicate with a Salto Gateway. The Gateway then relays information to and from the server via Ethernet to grant or deny access. There are currently 48 offline locks being used onsite with plans to add more. This is in addition to the 405 ICT / Salto online doors.
The SALTO virtual network (or data on card) system allows standalone offline locks to read, receive, and write information via smart cards. Data is captured from cards at online hot spots that upload and download user information. These changes are written to the card and quickly spread through the system each time a card is presented at a lock.
Integration with Salto isn’t just limited to the benefits of being wireless. They extend to the day to day running of the site. From within ProtegeGX, operators can view a searchable audit trail, monitor and control doors in real-time, and encode cards in a single operation.
For a site that maintains multiple facilities across a large area, hardwired solutions often go hand in hand with wiring difficulties.
The Protege GX integration with Inovonics enables Three Rivers to utilize wireless door contacts to indicate the status of a door and quickly detect unauthorized entry. They also take advantage of the mobile duress devices. These are designed to provide peace of mind for those who frequently move around the site and enable staff to remotely activate an alarm through Protege GX or trigger a lockdown in an emergency.
By integrating Protege GX with Avigilon, they can ensure compliance in higher security areas. With cameras linked directly to doors, it’s effortless to launch Protege GX and view who gained access to an area, and when. The integration also enables operators to link cameras to graphical floor plans, include live camera feeds from a status page, and configure an automatic popup with live feed on any door event.
When it comes to user management, Protege GX manages access for nearly 3000 permanent employees with help from Active Directory. Three Rivers use Active Directory to leverage the data from their Microsoft Windows domain to maintain the users in Protege GX.
This integration works by obtaining a list of users based on the defined Active Directory group, importing the user names and current AD status (active or disabled), then continuously synchronizing them.
Staff and schedule management
With a rich feature set that is designed with the end user in mind, managing users, configuring schedules, and extracting information is a breeze.
While Active Directory is ideal for managing the ever changing list of permanent staff, Protege GX itself is loaded with features for effectively handling temporary staff.
One of these features is automatic credential expiry. This is used to ensure that all temporary staff cards are disabled automatically after a set period of time.
Three Rivers needed a way to easily create schedule exceptions. With Calendar Actions they can have particular doors unlock before normal operating hours so that staff can set up for an event, or have the lights and HVAC system remain on for cleaners who need to come in later one day of the week.
Email on Event
Email on Event is used to push important information to the right people while they’re on the go.
Looking to the future
Floyd Total Security and Three Rivers are exploring ways to implement integrations with fuel management and key box systems.
In the shorter term, they’re preparing to move their Salto integration from the traditional SVN model to SPACE with HAMS (Hotel Access Management Software). This enables them to take advantage of Salto’s Bluetooth locks and the ability to make reservations through JustIN, all while staying connected to the ProtegeGX system.
The IT team are also investigating how the ICT Data Sync Service could further streamline the management of users and rental bookings.
All photos supplied by Three Rivers Park District.