High-level security for new R&D centre

A smart integrated security system means that staff only need carry a single card for multiple services

All door control units are networked with the control centre via a bus system
All door control units are networked with the control centre via a bus system

Siemens has developed an integrated access control system for the Balgarist Campus, a new research and development centre for cutting-edge medicine in Zurich.


The Siemens’ SiPass ensures that employees at the centre can move freely throughout the building, whilst preventing admission by unauthorised personnel.


The safety and security of staff and property are among the top priorities at the new research institute. Not only does the access control deliver high-level security, but a Siemens fire detection system also protects the building against fire.


An online system is used in which all door control units and access readers are networked with the control centre via a bus system. “That way we can change access rights online and immediately block lost ID cards, for example. New authorisations become active right away,” said Thomas Huggler, managing director of the centre.


“This is especially important because we also have biosafety level 2 areas that only specially trained personnel can access,” he added.


It was a key requirement for Huggler that employees should only carry a single card for multiple services. Researchers use their cards to access lockers, printers and mailboxes, as well as make cashless payments in the cafeteria.


However, the integration and design of the mailbox locking system was new to Siemens. “We had never created that kind of system before, so it was uncharted territory for us,” said senior customer service technician, Beat Iseli.


“Each specialist group has its own mailbox and employees picking up the mail just have to hold their badge up to the reader and the right box opens automatically. The implementation was complex; we incorporated the concept of a card control for lifts,” he said.


Balgrist University Hospital specialises in injuries to the musculoskeletal system and is one of the leading hospitals in this field in Switzerland. The Balgrist Campus is intended to further strengthen this expertise and groups from various disciplines conduct their research here, working closely and sharing information. The rooms are intentionally designed to be bright and open to create space for creative ideas and innovations.


“The system delivers precise logs of who accessed what areas, and when. This is particularly important for inspections by the authorities, because some areas have higher levels of security,” said Huggler.


The SiPass is set to extend to the Balgrist University Hospital in the near future.


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