Entrance security at Dexus’ Gateway office building in Sydney’s Circular Quay has been upgraded through the integration of touchless fingerprint scanning technology. Following a demand from tenants who sought enhanced protection for their employees, visitors and data, Dexus decided to introduce sophisticated entrance security measures at Gateway.

Gateway is Australia’s first office tower to use fully integrated touchless fingerprint scanning to allow authorised office workers and guests into the building.

The building’s new entrance solution involves a complex integration of security and technology experts, including Boon Edam, Schindler Lifts, Honeywell and IDEMIA (the manufacturers of MorphoWave fingerprint scanning technology). The solution had to work seamlessly to enhance the user experience and building security for tenants and visitors at the 46-storey landmark building in Sydney’s CBD, owned by Dexus Wholesale Property Fund.

“Tenants have a duty of care to protect their employees and visitors as well as valuable data and intellectual property, and they need the cooperation and support of a responsible and innovative building manager such as Dexus to manage secure entry into the building,” says Michael Fisher, managing director, Boon Edam Australia.

Dexus’ senior project manager Stephen Hodge confirmed that this was a major reason for the Gateway upgrade.

“We have tenants in Gateway who requested ground floor security, so we went out to tender to seek the best combination of sophisticated security and elegance, without being obtrusive to the building’s users,” he said.

For the entrance security upgrade, Boon Edam provided the speedgates – the slimmest in the market – which added to the aesthetics, and helped with design considerations within the width of the existing lift lobbies.

Gateway’s access solution begins with a sign-in system for guests, while authorised tenants will have their unique finger pattern saved. The guest pass, or the finger ID pattern, is then used on a MorphoWave fingerprint, which grants access to authorised personnel.

MorphoWave scans and verifies four fingerprints through a simple hand wave gesture, during which the sensor takes several 3D photos of the fingerprints to extract biometric data and compare with the authorised fingerprints stored in the device. If they match, the user is granted access. The entire process happens in less than one second.

Each MorphoWave scanner is connected to Schindler’s PORT Technology, which then receives the user’s credential data and cross-checks it in the base building access control database. If the user is valid, a command is sent to the Boon Edam Lifeline Speedlane to open. This interaction is surprisingly quick with limited latency.

A major part of the solution involves lift destination control, whereby a user’s credentials automatically assign a lift as they are verified and allowed access through the speedgate. This seamless integration was assisted by an existing global partnership between Boon Edam and Schindler Lifts.

The partnership enables Schindler’s PORT 4 mini technology to be embedded into the speedgates at the manufacturing stage in the Boon Edam factory. The design also incorporates a high-level interface between Schindler’s PORT Technology and Boon Edam’s speedstile to control the speedgates.

Using an advanced algorithm and the integrated Schindler PORT 4 mini lift destination control for visual and audio feedback, a lift is automatically assigned at the same time the gate is opening for optimum efficiency. The security is controlled by Honeywell’s access control system, integrated with Schindler’s PORT Technology.

Honeywell has been managing the security and building management systems for the Gateway building since it was first opened in 1990. Honeywell Asia-Pacific solution architect leader Rhys Crabb says early engagement at all stages and a commitment to a collaborative approach enabled Dexus to select the best available technologies. 

“Dexus placed customer outcomes first and foremost in the project brief, ensuring the delivery of a product that provided tenants and visitors with a premium, modern and secure user experience that is flexible and easy to use,” said Crabb.

“With so many stakeholders, and a strong need for reliability and quality, it was important that everyone knew the goals of the project and worked well together. I’m pleased to say that it was like a perfect jigsaw and everything came together smoothly,” said Hodge.

“What was important to Dexus is that we were pushing the boundaries to create better experiences, but we’re only doing so with proven products. Boon Edam’s speedgates have been installed globally and locally, and this gave us added confidence that they were the right product for this forward-looking project.

“Another significant help with this project was that the companies involved built a prototype located at Schindler’s Head Office based in Sydney, so that the Dexus management and technical teams could test the solution well in advance of implementing it at Gateway. It gave us peace of mind that we’d selected the right suppliers,” Hodge added.

Fingerprint scanners were chosen to control access to secured floors and areas of the building, because they provided an extra level of privacy that was attractive to tenants.

“A computer algorithm converts each person’s unique fingerprint signature into binary code – zeroes and ones – and uses that code to grant access,” explained Hodge.

“Boon Edam speedgates have the ability to integrate facial recognition, which could be highly valuable in other projects, but the fingerprint scanners were the right fit for this building. Boon Edam made it simple to integrate them with their speedgates, which helped us meet project deadlines,” he said.

Installation was challenging for all the partners in this project since the building was being used by people, adding to the complexity.

Dexus’ facility manager at Gateway, Bill Garrett was impressed by Boon Edam’s service and installation team.

“The Boon Edam installation team always ensured safety was the number one priority and they did a quality job, even with some very difficult to access areas,” he said.

“I’m delighted with the result of the project. One of the major benefits of the new entry system is that there’s a dedicated underground entrance for tradespeople, couriers and deliveries, which removes congestion and bulky trolleys from the main lobby. It’s all about enhancing the user experience, and Gateway will set a new benchmark for a seamless, secure and aesthetically pleasing entry.”

Tenants were introduced to the new system using a staged approach, says Garrett. At first, the speedgates were left in the open position; then some gates were closed, so that tenants could trial entering using the new technology if they wished, in advance of the entire system being fully implemented.

“In addition to this staged approach, we met with key tenants and allowed them to trial the system in advance. The testing, combined with the staged approach, allowed for a smooth transition to the new security technology,” said Garrett.

Following the success of the technology upgrade at Gateway, Dexus is looking at other locations that could utilise the same harmony of security technologies.

“We are continuing to assess opportunities to implement touchless technologies in new developments as well as in our existing buildings,” said Hodge.

Boon Edam Lifeline Speedlanes

“The stylish and secure entrance at Gateway has been ideal through the COVID pandemic. It manages flow, queries guests on visits to hotspots, if they are feeling any symptoms and can record all entrants to the building, helping us meet Government requirements. And the same features will be beneficial in a broader context, too, to help mitigate against unauthorised entry,” he concluded.