Versatility is the key

Electronic access control from Winkhaus secures numerous properties of the City of Offenbach.

During a break-in into the Technical Town Hall, the master key is lost. Now what? Replace all door cylinders? And what happens in the future if another key is lost? The City of Offenbach decided to switch to an electronic locking system to eliminate the time and effort required in such cases. The versatile technology now secures a wide variety of properties in the city centre.

Lost keys can now be quickly blocked in the central PC. A high degree of flexibility has also been added. "Our city is growing and repeated restructurings in the offices are inevitable. Thanks to the easy-to-administrate electronic locking system, we can keep up with this development," says Thomas Konrad,
Technical Director of the Offenbach city administration.

Since the town government places great importance on proximity to its citizens, it relies on the open town hall concept. The supposed discrepancy between openness and security is eliminated by the Winkhaus electronic locking system. It prevents unauthorised access where it matters and at the same time allows a high degree of freedom of movement – also for the around 1,350 employees.

Successive expansion
The Technical Town Hall is now regarded as the pilot project for the new access control for the Offenbach town administration. An electronic blueChip locking system from Winkhaus was installed here in 2005, which quickly impressed with its advantages: high flexibility, easy handling, installation and programming. Further buildings were added successively due to the positive experience with this solution. Today, a whole range of public properties are equipped with an electronic locking system, including rented properties. Some of these are already secured with the following generation system Winkhaus blueSmart. Both systems – blueChip and blueSmart – work alongside each other and are administrated in dual operation with the same blueControl software.

Overview at the touch of a button
Gone are the days when you had to carry around thick folders with locking system documents and every lost key meant replacing the cylinders. Now the team led by Thomas Konrad has a complete overview at the touch of a button. Winkhaus property consultant Wolfgang Fuchs accompanied the technicians during the process.

In 2006, they set out on the next project together. As part of the fire protection renovation of the listed, nineteen-storey town hall building, the locking system was also updated. The building technicians were faced with a supposedly mammoth task, which was mastered easily thanks to intelligent Winkhaus technology. During the construction work, entire departments with files and sensitive data had to move multiple times and worked on different floors. The staff council was also involved in the planning, which succeeded with a high level of acceptance due to the data protection-compliant operation of the locking system.

Seven buildings in the Offenbach town centre have been electronically secured to date – most recently the Haus der Wirtschaft in 2021. Several of these properties – such as the town hall from the Brutalism period – are listed. The building service technicians have an overview of 3,000 doors.

Flexible and virtually networked
The Winkhaus system is suited to include up to 195,000 components. This makes the Offenbach locking system flexible and allows it to be expanded even further.
In areas where the blueSmart system is already in use, the electronic door components communicate with each other in a virtual network. This takes place offline and wirelessly via the blueSmart key, which serves as an information medium.

Solution suitable for listed buildings
Due to the discreet appearance of the electronic locking system components, which fade into the background against the architectural environment, coordination with the monument protection authority went smoothly and quickly. This also applies to the conversion of the doors. The flush-mounted electronic Winkhaus cylinders have the same dimensions as the mechanical cylinders and do not need to be wired. Building service technicians can therefore carry out the work themselves in the usual way.

They also have control over the administration of the locking systems. They create locking plans, take over programming of door cylinders and keys and only rarely have to change the batteries in the cylinders, as they are extremely powerful. If the performance of a battery drops, the blueSmart system sends a notification in good time with a warning message via the virtual network. "Battery replacement is the only maintenance required by the technology," confirms Thomas Konrad. The oiling of cylinders, which is a familiar maintenance step from mechanical systems, is no longer required, as the tip of the electronic key is made of plastic and neither creates abrasion on the contact surfaces nor causes dirt to enter the cylinders.

The intelligent blueSmart ETB-IM door handles work without the need to insert a key. They control access in the more recently constructed buildings, where they blend in with their contemporary, elegant appearance. At the most important external entrances, online readers recognise who is authorised to enter. They are powered by the in-house power supply.

System administration from home
If the battery on the offline door cylinder is not replaced in time, blueSmart offers the Offenbach technicians a practical solution. As system administrators, in addition to a passive, i.e. battery-free electronic key for everyday use, they also carry a battery-operated blueSmart Active key with them, which can be used to open cylinders in an emergency. It also serves as a handy programming device, which can be used when walking around the buildings, for example. With the key and the corresponding blueSmart App, access authorisations can even be received on the go via mobile (iOS) devices.

Electronic locking cylinders, door handles and access readers can be programmed in the same way. Building service technicians can also manage the locking system from home. That’s why “the Active Key is a very important aid for us and serves as something of a universal tool. With its help, we can quickly program a door cylinder on site or read its data. We can also use it as a power adapter when the batteries in the cylinders are empty," explains the Technical Director.

Cloud-free data storage
As the blueSmart Active key takes on the role of a small programming device, the technology does not require data storage on a smartphone or in a cloud. The Active key connects to the smartphone via the Bluetooth Low Energy interface. For security reasons, the data transferred between the blueControl Professional administration software and the blueSmart Active key is encrypted "end-to-end" based on a certificate.

Sturdy keys
About 1,800 electronic keys are used in Offenbach to open the electronically secured doors. In addition to employees, external parties and city officials also enter and leave the building.

All user keys are equipped with an RFID chip and have a sturdy plastic housing that is waterproof (IP 68) and resistant to hand disinfectants, is easy to clean and fits comfortably in the hand. The door cylinders are simple to use, with a system based on the usual closing characteristics: The key is inserted and turned. The authentication check takes place in the background and unnoticed by the user. The electronic wall readers and intelligent electronic door handles from Winkhaus recognize keys contactlessly when they are held.

White paper provides tips for planning
There are many arguments in favour of an electronic locking system. That’s why the technology is now standard for public and commercial buildings. What needs to be taken into account before investing in a new system and what needs to be taken into account during planning? Which systems are available? How does the administration of the system work? The Winkhaus white paper answers these questions and more. Simply register and download.

Elektronische Zutrittsorganisation von Winkhaus bei der Stadt Offenbach


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