KeyWatcher Case Study: University of Wollongong

Here we present the first in a series of case studies on our KeyWatcher range of products, to show you how users decided on, implemented and setup their KeyWatchers.

The University of Wollongong  (UOW) was founded in 1951 and is considered a young educational institution. Despite its relatively young age, the university has already developed a reputation as a highly reputable place of learning, especially because of its strong emphasis on research and the learning environment provided to its students, across a large number of disciplines.

While the main campus is located in Wollongong, the University has six regional campuses around New South Wales, which includes the UOW Sydney Business School.  Other campuses are in Southern Sydney, Bega, Batemans Bay, Shoalhaven and the Southern Highlands. In 2014, total student enrollment reached 31,464.

As well as providing teaching overseas with a university (University of Wollongong in Dubai) in the United Arab Emirates, the University has a strong presence in Asia. This is through partnerships with international education providers, viz., INTI Laureate, IRI.HK, PSB Academy (Singapore) and the Singapore Institute of Management.

In 2009, the University’s Facilities Management Division (FMD) decided to improve the issue of keys in their different campuses. At that time, keys were issued manually.

“In fact, it was just physically impossible to track the keys,” notes Kalyana Cherukuri from UOW, FMD. Loss of keys was an important issue, considering the cost of replacement could come to many hundreds of dollars. Keys are issued to a large number of people, cleaners, as well as security and facilities personnel and contractors.

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Key watcher

Morse Watchmans

KeyWatcher cabinets help the University of Wollongong control the issue of keys around its seven campuses

Rob Owen, locksmith at the University of Wollongong with one of the 20 KeyWatchers used in their seven campuses.

Looking around for a solution to their quandary, the University considered various alternatives. During the evaluation they took a shine to KeyWatcher from Morse Watchmans. Discussions with users of the product allowed the University to appreciate how KeyWatcher solved problems that they encountered. And, they were impressed at the user experience.

It’s worth noting that another consideration was the ability of the KeyWatcher to seamlessly integrate with the University’s access control platform, Gallagher. This allowed user management of all KeyWatcher units through the access control platform.

Starting with seven units in 2010, the University of Wollongong initial deployment was carefully planned with everyone concerned given an early heads up prior to commissioning. While commissioning day was pretty hectic, there were hardly any glitches of note. Keytags, with tag number, building name/number and specific key user were initially printed to aid in the transition to electronic issue of keys.

After a couple of months, the KeyWatchers were pretty much bedded down and working smoothly with the access control platform.

Through the following years, 20 KeyWatchers are installed throughout the various campuses, with 13 units held in the Wollongong Campus.  The KeyWatcher cabinets ranged in size from small units holding 16 keys all the way to larger units of 96 keys.

Explains AST’s David Ishak, Gallagher’s interface with KeyWatcher is best explained in the following statement lifted off the Gallagher website:

The KeyPro Plus interface automatically extracts users details, card information and access group assignments and automatically uploads this information to KeyWatcher hardware. KeyWatcher hardware can send all the event transactions and alarms in real time back to the Gallagher software. With the integration Cardholders can be assigned access to either a single key or groups of keys, with Cardax Levels, the same way they are assigned access to doors. All KeyWatcher Events/Alarms transfer across into Alarm Monitoring. KeyWatcher also supports Anti-Passback and can require a key be taken or returned before access is granted to selected doors/access levels.

Kalyana Cherukuri also notes that “KeyWatcher has allowed us to save time. We like the reports generated and especially the report of keys not returned after seven hours of issue. It’s great that we know who has access at any given time.”

Finally, according to Kalyana, at this point in time, the coverage of their KeyWatcher systems is at optimum. “This does, however, not mean that there is no scope of expansion, as new facilities come up, we plan to use more KeyWatchers. After all, we’ve found our experience to be excellent and are only too happy to recommend KeyWatcher to potential users looking for a good key management system.”

It’s a great endorsement from a user going back to 2010 that AST looks forward to continue to respect and deserve.


You can download this case study, by clicking here: AST Case Study-UOW_FNL