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Hybrid System Manages Access Control for Mexican High School

Guadalajara's Cervantes High School has launched a Near Field Communication and Bluetooth Low Energy solution at its entrance to manage the access of staff members and students, either with a smart ID badge or simply with an app on a BLE-enabled phone.
By Claire Swedberg

Any phone with BLE functionality built into it can capture data from the entrance beacon and forward its own credential to the hosted server via the app. For those using NFC, the ID card comes with a unique identifier encoded on a built-in NFC chip. That information is input into the software in order to link the ID with the corresponding student or staff member.

Each day, as individuals arrive at the school, each must first proceed to one of several kiosks installed at the school's entrance turnstiles, then present either a mobile phone or an NFC ID card. The software identifies the individual, confirms that he or she is authorized to enter, and prompts the turnstile to rotate, allowing that person to enter.

The software not only controls access, but also creates a record of who has entered and left the facility, as well as when this occurred. The system also enables visitors to acquire temporary badges that they carry through the turnstiles.

Offering two technology solutions to each user, Radstaak says, provides flexibility. "Because Cervantes School wanted to give users the latest technology it could offer, as well as a choice," he states, "it has provided the option of mobile IDs, as well as Seos smart cards."

"The solution has drawn a lot of attention from other schools who visit the campus for sporting and other events," González says. "Being able to present campus IDs using their mobile phones has been particularly attractive to students, because of its convenience and novelty."

The next step, González says, is to use the technology at the entrance to each classroom, in order to potentially control access to every room. In the meantime, he adds, the Cervantes educational community—users of the solution—"has given the new system very positive reviews and said that they feel much safer."

In the meantime, technology provider HID Global is growing. This week, the company announced acquisition plans for Mercury Security, a supplier of physical access-control hardware. HID Global reports that Mercury Security has installed more than three million controllers at tens of thousands of sites worldwide. Mercury also offers interface boards and software for access control.

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