Multiple buildings.  300+ access points.  Heavy annual footfall.

A flexible, integrated access control system which operates easily with third party functions was needed to ensure a stress-free experience for students, staff and visitors alike.


A ‘One card fits all’ solution now in its 8th year. This allows for individuals access rights, third party functionality and powerful management reporting, helping to tailor and improve the service the University offers.

Grosvenor Technology’s Access Control system is at the heart of the University of Salford’s One Card project, which allows students and staff access to a wide range of buildings and services throughout the campus.  The University has used Grosvenor Techology’s Access Control solution in its original campus buildings for over 8 years, with 300+ card readers providing site-wide access control.  The One Card project was conceived in 2011 when the University developed its high-tech digital learning, teaching and research campus at MediaCityUK, the leading international hub for the creative and digital sectors in Salford Quays, Manchester.

When a student enrols, specific details of their program are uploaded to the system where an access profile is appended to the student profile; allowing them access to their distinct learning areas. In addition, the system is further complimented by collaboration with the Condeco room management system to allow staff and students to book rooms for study groups, etc. This affords an additional layer of access for students without the need to update profiles within the access control database.

“Grosvenor Technology was pivotal in successfully bringing together several key strategies into a ‘one card fits all’ solution,” said Derek Drury, CIO, Information Services at the University. “With just one card our staff and students link into parking, secure access, the library, follow me printing, leisure centre and fund loading for catering and printing. It is one of the most complex implementations in the University touching multiple systems across the campus. The success of the project has been measured in the wealth of integration across the entire University enjoyed by all.”

The open database structure of they system provides the central storage for all of the information required to manage the One Card solution and allows a seamless interface to a number of external systems including the Ricoh printing solution, room booking with Condeco along with data feeds to sports and library facilities. On enrolment at the university the student’s image, if not already available, is captured by the card services bureau and uploaded in real time to a central store for access by other university databases and services. Grosvenor Technology’s Access Control system has helped to streamline and dramatically speed up the registration and card personalisation services at the start of each year thus providing the student with a stress free start to university life.

The biggest challenge for the One Card project was to get all the third-party integrations to use a single unique credential, a DESFire EV1 card. To achieve this, multiple methods of student identification from the single card are required across all the platforms. This includes the internally AES encrypted number, a 56-bit DESFire unique ID, a 32-bit classic Mifare emulation, and encoded magstripe and printed barcode. Each of these components are captured at the time of card personalisation and made available for each system in real time.

The system includes powerful management reporting that allows detailed analysis of card access and events. One example of how the University uses the reporting facilities is the Library, which analyses how many students and staff are using the facility at any given time or period each day. The reports can determine the peak and average usage and to which school or college the user is assigned. How much time people spend in the Library is another useful source of information. All this management data helps the Library to better plan and improve its services to students and staff.