Gloucester City Homes is an independent registered housing association that owns and manages rented homes, leasehold properties, shared ownership properties, commercial units and homeless units. It recently upgraded access control within a number of its dwellings with pioneering technology from PAC.
Great Minds Think Alike
The previous access control system was based on GSM dial up modem technology. This used a standard phone line to manage a portfolio of over 4,500 key fobs, which often proved a slow and laborious process that also meant that the key fob database was not accurate.
A proposal that involved the installation of PAC 512 controllers and modems to create a highly innovative remote monitoring platform that could be accessed via a PC, tablet or smartphone. He explains, ‘PAC 512 devices utilise the general packet radio service (GPRS) platform, which is a faster and cost effective means of connecting remote sites via a mobile network. It provides an enhanced service over traditional mobile/landline telephone connections and makes administration of the system more flexible.’
The proposal was then put out to tender with Harrold-Jones Services emerging victorious. ‘With significant experience in installing security and access control equipment in the residential sector for almost 20 years, we were delighted to have the opportunity to work with Gloucester City Homes and PAC, whose products have high levels of innovation, reliability and ease of use.’
Compare and Contrast
Over a three-month period HJS engineers installed the new system to an agreed programme. Each site remained operational in order to ensure consistency of service until the new system was installed, commissioned and tested and a successful switchover completed.
The new system has been fully integrated with the PAC Residential Cloud, which allows designated personnel to access information remotely. ‘The previous system’s limitations meant that any problems and issues had to be dealt with by two or three centrally located individuals. This was obviously restrictive and meant a delayed response. By contrast, the new technology allows remote diagnostics, technical issues, servicing and key fob management. It’s also possible to remotely view status, unlock a door and access an event log. It has made a massive difference to response times and using the cloud also means that a dedicated technical team can address connection issues, manage the system and be proactive by highlighting problems and putting contingencies in place.’
The PAC Residential Cloud uses a virtual private network (VPN) to keep data safe and is GDPR compliant. Information is stored with The Bunker, a trusted PAC partner for highly secure, compliant and high availability outsourced infrastructure. The Bunker’s fully owned UK data centres are secure by their design and certified to the ISO 27001 standard for information security management.
Not surprisingly, from time to time residents lose their key fobs. ‘If this happens, they can quickly access their information, carry out an authorisation check, let them into their block and, if necessary, deactivate the missing fob. Instantly deleting key fobs that are lost makes our buildings more secure. They have also configured key fobs to activate barriers to allocated parking spaces in car parks, equipment stores and communal facilities.’