Swipe Card entry system

sotonfan

Member
For the last few years, our theater has used a custom-designed keypad entry system on all backstage doors. The system is very flexible, and its computer interface allows us to assign/revoke codes on the fly for visitors and performers. I give a tour manager their code for the day, they share the code with the crew, and then everyone can get in and out of the backstage area when they need to.

We are a city-owned entity. This week I learned that the city IT department wants to move us to a swipe-card entry system at all doors. This would make us fit in with how things are handled in every other city building.

I'm uneasy about the change. Does anyone have experience using a swipe-card system for backstage doors? Especially for concert tours? How do you handle having a large number of tour members needing access to the building on a single day? Do we have to print and validate cards each time? How about the education wing in our basement? Or visitors for that area? If every person coming to visit the building at odd hours needs a swipe card, what can of worms are we opening up here?

OR... is this actually a really good idea? In many ways I would be glad to be told swipe cards are cool and to just relax and enjoy the ride.

Andrew
 

MRW Lights

Well-Known Member
I can't provide specifics about my situation due to security, but I can tell you that I LOVE our Swipe Card access system. See if your town has swipe only, or tap, in which case you could also enable NFT TAP and send a registration link via email/text that can register a users device for a specified zone/door/time.

Access control systems can be great as long as your municipality is helpful to you with access, programming and repair... I would make friends who the person in your IT department that manages it and have them help you help them...
 

SteveB

Well-Known Member
We had a $90 million building built with a renovated theater and a beautiful orchestra rehearsal hall, no locks on any doors. Our backstage rolling door cannot be locked. Anybody who can stroll past a sleeping guard has access. Happens all the time. Our orchestra director decided not to follow University CV protocols and was proping open an emergency exit to the street so his friends could get into his performances without following CV entry requirements. They have this on camera. Tenure sometimes protects the wrong people,.

EDIT, Apologies, rant over.
 
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Ben Stiegler

Well-Known Member
I sell, install, and support card / fob access control systems ... here are a few thoughts.

1) You could suggest that they create a hybrid system - so that permanent users (staff, etc.) use RFID cards or fobs, and the "here for a day or 2" users can still use a keypad code. The keypad can be connected to the RTE (request to exit) input on the card access system, so that they can remain separate in administration, but converge in function. Or the system the city already has might have keypad functionality baked in.

2) The NFC / emailed token approach is also quite neat - but in the rush of a show, there's gonna be a gaffer/rigger/musician who didn't bring their phone that day (home charging, lost it at the bar last nite) and so you should have the keypad or some other approach for them to be able to get in.

3) If the city will be doing all the administration, you gotta make clear to them the last-minute nature of needing to add/delete/extend the time frame of a temporarily authorized user -- theater and music won't fit nicely into their 4pm-midnite authorization window - what if strike runs late, etc. I'd say its crucial that you and your assistant retain some admin rights - so that you can issue (time-limited) access on the spot to users as needed.

What part of the country/world are you in?
 

Crisp image

Well-Known Member
My swipe card system at work has the ability to have swipe access and keypad access. It is also worth making sure that the access are not 24/7 but are based on times of the day. The last thing you need is a person accessing the space in the time where the duty tech is not there.
I can set key codes and then have them automatically expire on a date determined by me. The keypads are also RFID readers so one device will work for both purposes.
Regards
Geoff
 

JimOC_1

Active Member
Ben Stiegler. Any advice on how far to separate (or shield) back-to-back wall units servicing one door? I worked in a building a few years ago where no offset interfered, causing problems for ~10% of our full-time folks. I moved before getting the full story. Is it something sotonfan may run into?
 

almorton

Well-Known Member
1) You could suggest that they create a hybrid system - so that permanent users (staff, etc.) use RFID cards or fobs, and the "here for a day or 2" users can still use a keypad code.

That's what we're doing. One of our staff (we're a volunteer run theatre) installs and specifies alarm and security systems at his day job. The "permanent" crew will have fobs to get into areas but the cast (for example) will be given a key pad PIN which will change for every show run. This will also stop cast re-using a code they were give on a previous show in order to let themselves backstage on a whim.
 

TimMc

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
At our PAC they use RFID proximity card systems with magnetic door locking. Employees, contractors, vendors, tenants... all are issued cards that can be day/date/time/door/elevator/floor restricted. Temporary venue users are issued cards from an inventory of expired passes with the access privileges updated.

The PAC also uses the CyberKey system for exterior doors, tenant office doors, and dressing rooms. The RFID system paid for itself by not needing staff to go unlock each CyberKey door between halls and other public areas.
 

LLDeen

Active Member
Andrew's assistant chiming in: To add additional info to the original post, with our current system we also have a touchscreen at the back door that is connected to the system and displays who is in the building. When you leave, you touch your name off the screen. This helps us know who is still in the building and who isn't when the last person goes to leave and set the alarm.

Also, we have levels to our security system. So if a manager isn't in the building, those underneath management can't get in. Same with our building partners. If one of their staff aren't in, those with rehearsal codes or codes for lessons can't get in. In addition, we have keypads at both exterior entry doors, a backstage door from the lobby, and a keypad on the door to the office area. Not all codes work on the door to the office as we don't want all code holders to enter that door.
 

blueeyesdesigns

Active Member
I know it's not an ideal solution, but you might also be able to have certain doors programmed to stay unlocked during periods of time when you have a lot of folks coming and going. We have a prox card system run by our campus PD and if I need to I can call over and have them leave some doors unlocked for a while. Now if only I could get them to add it to all of the doors...
 

Ben Stiegler

Well-Known Member
Ben Stiegler. Any advice on how far to separate (or shield) back-to-back wall units servicing one door? I worked in a building a few years ago where no offset interfered, causing problems for ~10% of our full-time folks. I moved before getting the full story. Is it something sotonfan may run into?
I think you mean 2 readers were mounted back 2 back, perhaps with a large hole thru the sheetrock between them? That's interesting. Few thoughts:
- replacing the readers with newer/better ones
- replacing one reader with a mullion version (mounts on the metal door frame, which then shields it from the other one)
- make-your-own Faraday cage with some thin steel stock, solder a ground wire to it, place it between the 2 B2B readers, and ensure the ground wire ties to the ground wire on 1 of the reader cables.
 

RonHebbard

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
I think you mean 2 readers were mounted back 2 back, perhaps with a large hole thru the sheetrock between them? That's interesting. Few thoughts:
- replacing the readers with newer/better ones
- replacing one reader with a mullion version (mounts on the metal door frame, which then shields it from the other one)
- make-your-own Faraday cage with some thin steel stock, solder a ground wire to it, place it between the 2 B2B readers, and ensure the ground wire ties to the ground wire on 1 of the reader cables.
Possibly one reader on the hinged side, the other opposite nearer to the lockset?
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
 

Ben Stiegler

Well-Known Member
Possibly one reader on the hinged side, the other opposite nearer to the lockset?
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
A solid idea RF-wise, not sure ADA and building codes would allow a reader that's not on the business side of the door.
 

RonHebbard

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
A solid idea RF-wise, not sure ADA and building codes would allow a reader that's not on the business side of the door.
I noticed while hospitalized they're located ~8 to 10' from the doors to facilitate porters activating the doors prior to colliding with them.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
 
As someone that works in high school theatres a lot where everything uses a physical key it would be so much nicer to have key cards as they can be issued more easily to people that are external contractors or even students but each can have they’re own access levels and doors they can actually unlock with having to constantly go and pester staff members that are focusing on directing the show and running rehearsals for their keys to unlock something especially as a lot of the doors lock when closed.

I’m also sort of interested in what everyone’s opinion on here is about having access control systems such as keycards in high schools specifically in theatres?
 

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