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SALTO Systems & Engineered Controls Create ʽSafe House’ for Alpha Phi Sorority at the University of Nebraska with SALTO KS Solution

Thursday 31 January 2019

Alpha Phi International Women’s Fraternity is a sorority with 170 active chapters and over 200,000 initiated members. The Alpha Phi chapter at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) was founded in October 1906 and is the thirteenth chapter of Alpha Phi internationally.

The historic Alpha Phi sorority house at UNL underwent a major remodeling project in 2015 which involved the foyer, study room, the upstairs living room and both downstairs living rooms. All upstairs bedrooms were refurnished, painted and carpeted a few years prior.

In 2018, leadership committed to an upgrade in security as well, choosing to replace their existing keypad system with SALTO XS4 electronic locks managed via the SALTO KS cloud-based platform.

 

THE CHALLENGE

After completing major redesign projects for the historic Alpha Phi sorority house at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), the sorority chapter’s Corporation Board sought to upgrade access control security. Corporation Board President Kim Straub said they wanted to upgrade to a solution that would be reliable, easy to manage and provide additional security over the existing keypad system they had on all doors. Because the residents of Alpha Phi are technologically savvy college students  at UNL, the system also had to provide the latest in technology – including the ability to gain access via mobile smartphones. Leading Nebraska building control technology contractor Engineered Controls recommended SALTO electronic locks for the doors and SALTO’s cloud-based system – SALTO KS – to manage the system.

 

THE SOLUTION

Alpha Phi at UNL needed an access control system with the functionality of card access but was also affordable and didn’t require additional infrastructure investment like a server or other network equipment, said Engineered Controls Lead Security Technician Rusty Hanley.

Engineered Controls chose SALTO XS4 electronic locks for all house entrances. Smart, secure and innovative, XS4 electronic escutcheon sets need no hard wiring and provide a totally wire-free networked electronic locking solution with a great range of features and technology.

SALTO’s XS4 electronic lock is easy to install on any type of door and is available with mechanical cylinder cut outs for key override. The lock can always be opened from the inside. The ID technologies in the SALTO XS4 include MIFARE, Bluetooth SMART, NFC and more.

The SALTO XS4 locks are managed by SALTO KS – a flexible, cloud-based access control system that requires no software installation or the added expense of a fully-wired electronic product. All that is needed is an online device with an internet connection. SALTO’s XS4 locks communicate with SALTO KS via hubs that connect to the internet. If the internet connection is lost, doors can be opened via access cards or other credentials like key fobs or wearables.

The UNL Alpha Phi sorority house has more than 100 residents and a number of additional SALTO KS users including Board members, maintenance, custodial and kitchen staff. Since sorority members rely heavily on smartphones and similar technology, they use the SALTO KS Mobile App as a key to unlock entrance doors. The SALTO KS app allows users to enjoy keyless entry, as well as remote management and monitoring of lock and user activity. Several house members and staff have key fobs to use in the event internet access is down and SALTO KS is unavailable. There is always someone present at the Alpha Phi house with an access credential. They also have video doorbells on exterior doors so that they can identify visitors.

Straub said the SALTO KS system is much better than the keypad system it replaced, and it has added additional security to the house.

“With the old system, we had no way to monitor who was coming and going throughout the day,” she said. “SALTO KS allows us to see who has entered the house each time.”

She added that the ability to set locks on timers and in an open status will be a great feature to use during social events or on move in and move out days when they have a large number of visitors going in and out of the property.

“The SALTO KS system is a good system for us because members can use the mobile app on their phones to gain access to the house. It also allows for the Board to provide more security for the members by managing access to the house more efficiently,” said Straub.

They haven’t had to use the SALTO KS feature that immediately disables access to a user in the event they are no longer allowed on the property, but Straub said it’s a nice feature to have to ensure that only approved individuals have access to the property.

Hanley said the SALTO KS solution is perfect for a sorority house or other shared living spaces because it’s affordable, but also has the latest in technology. 

“I’ve been in the access control industry for more than 25 years and one of the best features of the SALTO KS solution is that these residents can use their phones to unlock the door and enter their house with the SALTO KS Mobile app,” said Hanley. “There is no worry about a key getting lost or the time or expense of replacing a lost key. And you don’t have to worry about an access card falling into the wrong hands. If you set up property access with a phone, it requires a phone and a passcode to unlock the phone, so it’s essentially a two-factor authentication. Even if someone has your phone, that doesn’t mean they can get in your front door. Now that they are secured by the SALTO electronic access control system, we call it the Alpha Phi ‘Safe’ House!”