6 Jun 2006

When ASDA, the UK's second largest retail chain, decided to install an Access Control system in their stores, they had some specific requirements.  They wanted to use the Mifare Smartcards already carried by their staff, and the system needed to be flexible and simple to use.  City Building and Engineering Services (CBES) were brought in to handle the job and spoke with Norbain about supplying the most suitable solution.

Previously, there was no Access Control system in place at the ASDA stores and the company wanted to ensure the security of its stock.  This included restricting which staff could enter designated areas and monitoring the flow of traffic in and out of those areas.  In order to maximise the chances of the new system being accepted, ASDA wanted to make the access token a card that was already carried by its staff.  This was the Phillips Mifare card that records each employee's time and attendance, spending and so on.

The decision to use Norbain to provide the solution was an easy one, according to Rob Cox, Head of Security Systems, CBES.  "We already use Norbain for our CCTV requirements and have always been very impressed with their solutions and their technical back-up.  We knew that they would have the project knowledge to provide a cost-effective and capable system based around ASDA's card technology".

Mr Cox approached Norbain's Frank Sandham, Business Development Manager Access Control, to help find a suitable solution.  Having studied the application, Norbain's Access Control Development Team arrived at a solution based on ACT and the HID iClass reader.

The HID R10 iClass reader reads both iClass card data and the serial number of a Philips Mifare card. But there is an added complication.  The Mifare Serial number is essentially hidden.  That is, there is no physical mark on the card, but rather the serial number is embedded in the card chip.  This means that the chosen system had to be capable of extracting the 32Bit serial number and inputting it into its software.

The ACTWinPro Lite software system makes this task possible, whilst also maintaining the various users, doors, groups etc. on the access control system and communicating this information to the physical controllers around the building.  The application also collects the reported events that occur on the system and allows queries and reports to be run based on this information.  "Norbain is very keen to ensure that their knowledge of the market and its requirements is of the highest standard," says Michael Byrden, Ireland and UK Sales Manager for Access Control Technology (ACT).  "We always work very closely with them to ensure that they have the most appropriate solution for a particular application."

ASDA is very happy with the results.  "We're completely satisfied with the solution provided by Norbain," says Steve Storey, ASDA's Technical Manager Security.  "The system does exactly what we wanted it to do and our own people haven't had any problems using it."