How Australia’s Westfield Shopping Centers Control and Monitor Key Access
The Westfield name in retail is synonymous with high quality properties that offer an efficient and dynamic environment for retailers and a quality shopping experience for consumers. With a portfolio of 104 shopping centers globally, Westfield is also a leader in ensuring the protection and safety of staff and contractors in back-of-house and operational areas using state-of-the-art security technology.
At Westfield Shopping Centers throughout Australia, the organization has implemented a pioneering key control and management solution with fingerprint biometrics that allows pre-approved personnel streamlined access to and from authorized center locations with comprehensive monitoring and report functionality. The solution is based on Morse Watchmans’ KeyWatcher key control and management system integrated with the NoWAIT (National Work Authorization and Induction Training) fingerprint recognition system.
Developed for Westfield by Blue Glue® and their technology partner Morse Australia, the biometric security system known as Contractor and Visitor Validation System seamlessly integrates with existing KeyWatcher systems for secure issuance of keys to pre-authorized individuals while touchscreen video technology provides for safety messaging to staff.
“Key control and management is an essential element in administering the security aspects of a large retail property,” said Alan Jones, Director, BlueGlue P/L. “The integrated solution we devised for Westfield puts together Morse Watchman’s state-of-the-art key control with biometric technology and real time, centralized remote monitoring for an optimized system to enhance the security of back-of-house and operational areas.”
With the new system, contractors, consultants and others will no longer have to sign in and wait for a key to be issued. Emergencies that occur during off hours can be more readily acted upon because contractors can access keys without having to wait for property management to arrive on scene. Enrollment in the system is through fingerprint identification and a one-time registration allows access at any site in the program. The system additionally issues a durable identification wristband with the name, date and time stamp and all access activity is recorded for auditing purposes.
According to Jones, a range of Westfield properties had been using Morse Watchmans key control cabinets for the past ten years to store, release and track keys used throughout a property. Key control systems are designed to securely and safely store keys and release them only to authorized users. With the Morse Watchmans KeyWatcher system, each key is locked into place inside the key cabinet using a locking device which has an integrated chip, so a user can only remove a key which he or she has permission to use. The other keys stored in the cabinet remain locked in place when the user enters his or her access code or scans their card or fingerprint. In doing so, the Morse Watchmans system automatically controls who is able to use which keys.
Because the KeyWatcher was designed for interoperability with other systems, Blue Glue was able to seamlessly integrate the NoWAIT biometric system and have control through their Blue Glue Net Enterprise. Mr. Jones adds, “KeyWatcher is a quality product with an RS-232 communications port and the assistance provided by Morse Australia for the protocols made the integration process very easy.”
Proof of concept trials were performed at four Westfield Shopping Centers in the Sydney area and, based on their success, the program was rolled out on a national basis in late 2012.
One Westfield Manager is quoted as saying, “With the system, we can have a high level of confidence that only inducted and authorized personnel are working onsite. We can know who’s using our keys in real time. This has huge implications for safety and security, and with many people needing to enter authorized areas in one center alone, the system will revolutionize how our centers are accessed once the national roll-out is complete.”