Newport Aquarium in Newport, Kentucky, United States is home to thousands of exotic aquatic creatures, including penguins, white alligators, sharks and stingrays.
To keep the animals, visitors, and staff safe, Newport Aquarium wanted to replace their old security system with an easy-to-use and high-security access control solution. Access control integrator Sec-Tron recommended Paxton’s Net2 to provide a scalable security solution.
Net2 is a PC-based access control system that offers centralised administration. It is also designed to easily integrate with other access control systems, so site managers can enjoy more streamlined security for their building.
Tom Riegler, Sales and Project Manager at Sec-Tron, said: “The whole aquarium is surrounded by pipes and tanks, some full of chemicals. They really needed access control at each area containing dangerous infrastructure to make sure only experienced employees could gain access and prohibiting visitors from accessing those sensitive areas.”
The IT team at Newport Aquarium also wanted a system that utilised access cards, allowing them to customise employee ID cards as access cards and increasing access convenience.
David Fortunato, Senior Regional IT Manager at the Newport Aquarium, said: “Most of our doors used locks and keys, and some had swipe card readers. At the aquarium we have a lot of doors and a lot of employees who need to carry equipment up and down stairs, so looking for keys in front of a door is not ideal. We really wanted to have one system on our exterior and critical safety doors, and also make access convenient for our employees.
“Even though the products are installed and secured in cases and locked rooms, being an aquarium, we have heavy amounts of moisture and salt in the air. It can chew up the products.”
Another factor that needed consideration when designing the installation was the possibility of integrating the aquarium’s existing wired infrastructure and security products with the new system.
Tom said: “We did a Net2 product demonstration to Newport Aquarium’s IT team. We told them we could use all the existing cabling, readers, door handles and panels. We said we could retrofit the existing hardware with the Net2 door controllers and make it a clean installation.”
The Newport Aquarium now uses employee ID cards as Net2’s access tokens. The employees scan their IDs at the staff entrance and go through physical screening to enter the aquarium. Once they are in the park, they need to present badges at each door to be given access for a certain number of hours, based on their role and duties.
David said: “With our old lock-and-key doors, it was hard to keep track of keys. It is one of the biggest benefits that Net2 has brought, that we could replace all those keys with badges and just keep a few keys for emergency. It provides better tracking, higher security, and greater convenience for our employees.”
David further explains how they maximise the features of Net2: “We use the timeline feature to tailor access hours and levels of each door. When it’s after the aquarium’s opening time, we lock the doors to prevent unauthorised access.
“Another feature we use a lot is the intruder alarm relay. If someone accidentally goes through our emergency exit, it will sound the horn through the relay and alert our staff to go check and make sure no one has gone to an area that they are not supposed to.”