At the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, the Technology Integration Services department provides infrastructure, customer service and web application support to the faculty, staff, students, and units of the College of Business. Its focus is to facilitate the use of the campus infrastructure and support while adding complementary infrastructure and services to meet the unique needs of the college.

The college took a very innovative approach to operating and securing its 174,000sq ft state of the art Haslam Business Building. The technologically advanced facility incorporates over 40 meeting rooms and needed a way to efficiently schedule and fill classrooms and conference space, yet maintain security and control.

Physical access control

CSC identified the Gallagher security management platform as the best fit for the foundation of the system

The university had previously used an antiquated access control and security system across the campus, and realised it did not meet the demands of this new high-tech facility. Ramsey Valentine, Director of Technology for the College of Business, turned to WWR Engineering of Knoxville, and Coactive Systems (CSC) of Canton, Ohio to design and deploy a state-of-the-art integrated security business solution.

The difficulty involved in deploying this solution was that certain components, like physical access control, were readily available, but other components such as digital signage information kiosks and the integration of all components of the system, were not off-the-shelf. CSC’s Brad Green and John Kortis worked with Director Valentine to understand the college’s specific needs and develop a solution that exceeded their expectations. CSC identified the Gallagher security management platform as the best fit for the foundation of the system.

Application programming interface

Gallagher systems are installed in approximately 90 percent of Australia’s and New Zealand’s universities. With proven strength in the tertiary market internationally, the Gallagher system was selected because of its open architecture, application programming interface, and published software developer’s kit. CSC also teamed with the local office of Simplex Grinnell. Led by Mitch Hall, Simplex was the contractor responsible for the assembly and installation of the Gallagher security system and the kiosks provided by CSC.

WWR was responsible for the engineering drawings and interface to the existing security systems. The College utilises Meeting Room Manager from NetSimplicity for room scheduling; CSC created an integration from Meeting Room Manager with Gallagher Command Centre software. CSC also designed and custom manufactured the 42 kiosks that the college uses at each classroom and in meeting room areas.

Door position switches

Use of the kiosk requires a valid access card carried by all students and faculty

The kiosks are the user-interface to the ‘system’ for room access and scheduling. Use of the kiosk requires a valid access card carried by all students and faculty. Each touch-screen kiosk contains digital signage showing the classroom name and detailed information about the room schedule and its status. Users can also access current weather, news, and stock information via the touch screen. The kiosk may be programmed to display emergency messages and egress data if needed.

The kiosks are connected to the college’s network on which Gallagher Command Centre resides. The Gallagher system controls and monitors the door functionality including electric lockset and door position switches. Meeting Room Manager is utilised by staff to schedule rooms for classes and assign students via the campus intranet. Gallagher server and controller application programming interfaces extend the functionality and flexibility of the Gallagher system as the platform for integration.

Providing technology solutions

Utilisation of the integrated system provides continuous communications security and access control for the college, while allowing students unencumbered access to the meeting rooms and classrooms. Gallagher would like to acknowledge the support of the University of Tennessee and their security partners Coactive Systems of Canton and Simplex Grinnell, Knoxville in the development of this in-site study.

CSC is a full service IT integration company providing technology solutions for audio, video, data, voice, dispatch, asset management, inventory, kiosks, security, communication, insurance, retail and medical systems. CSC’s services include custom software development, system installation, maintenance and cabling. Photos reproduced with permission from University of Tennessee.