Wolverhampton Homes manages and maintains over 23,500 homes on behalf of The City of Wolverhampton Council. In order to provide residents with the highest standards of security and safety, it has installed access control and door entry products from PAC & GDX.
Wolverhampton Homes is a not-for-profit organisation that was formed in 2005 with a mission to provide good quality homes and great customer service for The City of Wolverhampton Council’s tenants and leaseholders. It is responsible for letting the homes through a scheme called Homes in the City and chose PAC & GDX door entry solutions due to the flexibility the system would provide for their tenants.
The last 13 years have been a genuine success story for Wolverhampton Homes and in 2010 it became one of the first Arms Length Management Organisations (ALMO) to be given an ‘excellent’ company rating.
‘We aim to deliver excellent services to our customers by continually improving the work we do and the services we provide,’ explains Darren Baggs, assistant director for housing at Wolverhampton Homes. ‘We aim to respond to the changing needs and expectations of our customers. The safety and security of residents is high on our list of priorities and is supported by the close relationship we have enjoyed with PAC & GDX.’
The test of time
Prior to the formation of Wolverhampton Homes, PAC & GDX worked directly with The City of Wolverhampton Council and the first PAC & GDX system was installed on its behalf in 1995.
GDX5 is designed for residential projects requiring control of multiple door entry panels. Lloyd Palmer, area manager at PAC & GDX, explains, ‘The system can manage a maximum of 255 handsets per block with the option of central control from a concierge. The control equipment contains all of the necessary electronics that can be split into distribution units to simplify and can reduce wiring. The result is a robust yet simple to install door entry system with audio only or video options’.
Wolverhampton Homes has adopted all the various versions of GDX5 as they have been introduced, and there are now over 700 door entry systems in low-rise blocks of flats across the city, while 3,000 tenants that live on our high-rise estates utilise a concierge service. Commenting on the developments over the years, John Hopkins, Neighbourhood Services Manager at Wolverhampton Homes, states, ‘In 2006 we made our first steps into remote monitoring by enabling each GDX5 system to be monitored from a single location within each building. However, with the help of PAC & GDX, in 2013 we developed a remote monitoring and Concierge Control Room in Bilston, which allows a dedicated team of operators to monitor CCTV and control door access into buildings and provide what is now a highly-valued concierge service.’
The appliance of science
The ability to expand the scope of the GDX5 system into a remote monitoring platform is down to the use of internet protocol (IP). The IP revolution has had a dramatic effect on the physical security equipment industry, allowing the development of new technologies that would have been unimaginable just a few years ago.
PAC & GDX’s Lloyd Palmer says, ‘IP means that not only can access control technology be managed remotely, specific personnel can even be granted or denied access to certain areas at different times, making it not only good for security but also, in some environments, for health and safety. Also, in the event of a theft or antisocial behaviour, it is possible to pinpoint exactly who was where.’
IP based access control offers virtually unlimited system expansion capabilities that, in turn, enables an abundance of cost saving and centralisation benefits. This scalability also means that existing systems can simply be added to, offering Wolverhampton Homes the benefit of knowing that the cost of their system will be proportional to the number of doors it needs to control.
‘Similarly, the use of IP means that Wolverhampton Homes can access information via their remote monitoring operation,’ comments Lloyd Palmer. ‘All the information traditionally gathered by an on-premise IP access control system is then stored and retrieved from its database. Remote diagnostics, technical issues and servicing can be carried out, and it’s also possible to remotely view status, reset a system and access an event log. It also offers other practical benefits, e.g. if someone loses their fob we can access their personal information, carry out an authorisation check, let them into their abode and deactivate the missing device.’
Features and benefits
GDX5 has made a huge contribution toward ensuring that each building is kept clean, safe and secure. With audio communication between the Concierge Control Room and all the buildings, Wolverhampton Homes can monitor traffic, address antisocial behaviour and take appropriate action to minimise the impact of any events by deploying personnel or, if required, notifying the emergency services.
Wolverhampton Homes has even worked with PAC & GDX to enhance features to the access control system. John Hopkins explains, ‘I wanted to implement a non-intrusive way that we could be notified if there was a potential problem within a home. In collaboration with PAC & GDX we have developed an alert based system that notifies the remote monitoring centre if a resident’s key fob hasn't been used for a specific period of time. If an alert is activated, we can send someone over to check on them, notify next of kin or the relevant authorities. We also have the ability to remotely open entrance doors to the block to allow access for the emergency services.’
Although vandalism is infrequent, GDX5 is particularly robust and if a component is damaged or any other type of technical malfunction occurs through normal use, a notification is sent to the Concierge Control Room, so remedial action can be taken. The design of the devices and good levels of availability means that any problems are quick and easy to resolve.
Onwards and upwards
The relationship between the two organisations continues to go from strength to strength and Darren Baggs of Wolverhampton Homes concludes, ‘There’s no doubt that PAC & GDX’s access control technology has helped to improve security, safety and protection across our estate and allows for a quick response to incidents. The on-going developments and improvements PAC & GDX makes to its technology obviously has a big part to play in the success of our relationship, but so too does the level of help, advice, service and support we continue to receive.’