Sussex consolidates campus security into one RFID solution

The University of Sussex has consolidated all of its disparate campus security systems into one RFID solution controlling door access across its entire campus.

Increased security awareness, ageing infrastructure and pressure to cut operating costs are just some of the many reasons why educational facilities choose to find new ways to enhance campus security. Add to this the fact that when it comes to crime, University students are consistently one of the most regularly targeted at-risk groups for theft, and this makes it a priority that campus security is up to the job when it comes to providing protection for both them and members of staff.

In Sussex’s case the main driver behind the upgrade is the fact that the campus had a number of legacy systems consisting of mechanical keys, an outdated magstripe system, tags and a hard wired system with an expensive licence per door operation that was making security on campus both inefficient and uneconomic.

Time to upgrade technology

The University of Sussex is a leading higher education and research institution located in rolling parkland on the edge of Brighton, in the south of England. It was one of the first of the new wave of modern UK universities founded in the 1960s, receiving its Royal Charter in 1961, and is currently home to over 154,000 students of which over around a third are postgraduates.

Of these, just over 5,000 live within one of the eight on-campus residences or off-campus in University managed accommodation, so they can take advantage of the lively social and cultural activities available and have easy access to their residence at the end of the night.

Added to this will be a further new student accommodation building (being built by Balfour Beatty) which will provide the University with 2100 further bedrooms. Construction started in early 2017 with the first phase ready for the 2018/19 academic year.

With so much accommodation containing high-value electronic items such as laptops, mobile phones, TVs and stereos, not to mention classrooms and offices in the main campus buildings, it’s important that the University not only provides modern, high security locking but also educates both students and staff to make them aware of how to keep themselves and their expensive possessions safe.


The University has something in the order of 15-20,000 doors across campus at Sussex and historically these have been secured and protected by a mix of mechanical and electronic systems of varying ages and sophistication. The biggest drawback to this has been that, being disparate systems, they use different technologies and have been unable to communicate with one another locally, let alone centrally. For example different departments across campus have been running different systems – with no central reporting or control – and in this day and age it is neither efficient nor desirable to operate in this manner.

They needed to change this by stripping out all the different systems and moving to one solution with departmental operation – with security/estate services having full control of the entire campus – with delegated local control being granted to individual departments or buildings as needed or required. To achieve this they knew they had to upgrade their technology, but still wanted something that was easy to set-up, control and manage.


Choosing a system 

Besides the usual facilities found at any University, at Sussex there are also a number of high security areas on campus protected by real time wireless access control including medical labs, nano technology departments etc.

The University wanted the same degree of protection campus wide as they had on these doors, so following a wide ranging review of options and looking at all the available technologies on the market they decided, as they were already using a number of SALTO XS4 handle sets, GEO cylinders and GEO Padlocks on site, to standardise on this solution across campus as SALTO are world leaders in educational access control and could provide them with all the functionality and technology options they wanted. 

“An effective and robust access control system is a key requirement of any site with multiple buildings to protect,” says Steve Rossiter, Key Accounts Manager SALTO Systems. “Its objectives should be to control and restrict access to authorized personnel and areas, prevent and prohibit all likely security threats from occurring and aim to reduce the degree of vulnerability of critical assets to theft.

In an educational environment security, access control and campus management are key with other desirable features being simplicity of operation and the reduction of time needed to manage it, without the loss of any functionality, flexibility or control. The management of students, staff and visitors in all departments across campus was crucial for Sussex so this was the key application that SALTO had to deliver as well as providing a proven, future proof access control security solution that would provide 24/7 critical security protection. “

Installation benefits

The University are now well on track to complete their security consolidation programme and will have a campus wide portfolio of ‘keyless’ buildings and a security system perfectly tailored to their specific needs.

A ‘buy once’ philosophy was a crucial part of their selection process to maximise the economic benefits moving forward as they had to be sure whatever technology they chose could grow with them to meet their future needs.

The SALTO solution gives them a very strong platform and a reliable and highly secure access management solution. Upgrading a multitude of different keys, tags and cards over to one streamlined system on such a large site is never going to be a simple process. But finding the right technology and making sure it can do all you need of it both now and in the future is really important. Get this right and everything else will follow.


About SALTO Systems

We’re driven by innovation. Guided by our insights into customer needs, we deliver industry-leading, next-generation electronic locking solutions without wires and without mechanical keys. Since 2001, SALTO has been redefining the access control world by continually being first to anticipate market needs in a rapidly evolving marketplace. We set new standards in security, manageability and scalability.

SALTO’s pioneering SVN platform provides stand-alone networked locking solutions. With its online and real-time technology, our market-leading XS4 platform enhances the usability of every building environment by securing virtually every door and enabling the monitoring and control of every user. Salto hardware and software can be networked without wires to provide real-time intelligence and instant control, whilst enabling integration with existing systems to improve manageability and enhance end-user experience.

Having revolutionized access control around the world in sectors where security is critical – from airports and healthcare to government education and hotels – we continue to deliver the most advanced and flexible electronic locking solutions in the market.


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The mission of the association is to assist the institutions of higher education in the Member States of the European Union and other European Countries to implement and operate campus card programmes by facilitating information exchange, by developing European standards where appropriate and by acting as a forum for interaction between the institutions and other agencies with an interest in campus card applications in Higher Education.


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