PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) opts for contactless all-on-one-card solutions at its new prestige Swiss offices using LEGIC® technology

Trust combined with added value

PricewaterhouseCoopers, the renowned and trustworthy partner to multinational groups, public institutions, SMEs and private individuals, provides global solutions in the fields of financial accounting, audits, financial and legal advice, and management consultancy. The company’s declared international objective is to provide an outstanding and consistent quality of services. PwC characterises quality as individually meeting each one of its clients? needs, and in its employees and consultants having an excellent knowledge of their customers’ industries. PwC also expends effort in providing optimum working conditions for its employees, which ultimately benefits its clients.

State of the art offices at the centralised site

The trust that its clients place in it, has positioned PwC at number one in Switzerland; it currently has 15 branches throughout the country. In November 2005, folloing a long period of evaluation and planning, the offices in the city of Zurich, which numbered more than ten, were centralised into a single new PwC building at Oerlikon, all within a period of two weeks. The aim is to implement resources to the full, while utilising synergies. As project manager, Corina Gerber, Facilities Manager at PwC, oversaw the centralisation process from the planning stage right through to implementation. She is now also in charge of operating and after-control, in addition to many other follow-up projects. Peter Binz, CFO and COO was the overall project director.
The modern architecture and state-of-the-art technology at PwC in Oerlikon, Switzerland

Round-the-clock access control and security

Since the company is internationally networked – and also due to the highly confidential and urgent nature of its services – its staff often need to work at irregular times of the day. For many employees night shifts and weekend work are not exceptional. So they need to be able to enter their workplace at any time of the day, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, without lengthy security controls and laborious identity checks. One of the challenges facing the new system was to provide a cleverly devised access system, to provide optimum security yet which at the same time was to be as easy to use as possible.

High level requirements: multifunctional and future-proof

But, according to Corina Gerber, PwC had even more requirements to make of the new system: Employees ID cards were also to be used to make e-payments, book flexible workstations, and operate the “Follow&Secure” system, an innovative office automation concept. These are clearly very intensive demands, which arise from the needs of a dynamic and complex organisation. But with LEGIC’s contactless all-in-one-card technology it was a simple matter to bring all these requirements together.

During normal office hours PwC employees identify themselves at the various entrances using their contactless staff identity cards, which also open staff turnstiles, lift doors and the entrance doors to the facilities on the various floors. Once they have passed these identification stations, they can move around freely. For access and security outside these times, two entrances have been additionally equipped with biometric fingerprint readers, capable of identifying employees biometrically – also contactless.

Many PwC employees regularly carry out their duties at clients’ premises, so do not need a permanent workstation in Zurich. The new premises take this into account. Flexible short-term workstations ensure that available office space is used to the best possible effect – thus avoiding empty offices. In all, there are 1064 workstations for more than 1200 employees. 102 of these can be booked when required using the “hotelling”, or hot-desking, system. For example, members of staff from another city who need to work in Zurich for a short time, identify themselves at the entrance using the LEGIC contactless smart card, and use the same card to book a desk at one of the three hotelling consoles in the foyer. When they leave the building in the evening, it is an easy matter to release the desk again, using the LEGIC smart card.
Biometric identification guarantees security even outside normal business hours.

Print authorisation using the staff ID card

PwC employees can also pay contactless for food served in the canteen and from company snack vending machines using their contactless staff ID card. This is very practical and convenient, and is a well-known application on a LEGIC card. An innovative application of the contactless staff ID cards is that of identifying authorised users in order to operate the printers. At the new offices in Zurich, PwC has dispensed with individual printers.
e-payment at the canteen and at snacks dispensers

Instead, some 60 very modern and efficient multifunctional devices are easily accessible to everyone on every floor, ready to print, scan, make copies and send faxes. Print jobs can be queued from any workstation, and they remain in a central queue for a maximum of 72 hours; jobs are called and actuated at the printer device itself. PwC calls this concept “Follow&Secure”. Follow, because print jobs, identified and initiated contactlessly through the smart card, are allocated uniquely to the employee concerned.

Secure, because security is greatly improved. “Now that print jobs are actuated only at the printer fewer stray documents are found lying around,” said Corina Gerber. Despite initial scepticism since its introduction, there has been no resistance to the new system. According to Gerber there is a pleasant side effect in that staff have to get up from their desks, thus meeting other people around the printer. So the new concept brings with it social and health benefits.

     
Contactless identification using the LEGIC smart card to open a lift door Short-term desk booking at a hotelling console in the foyer Using the contactless LEGIC smart card print jobs can be triggered directly at the printer, and allocated to the cost centre concerned

Previous good experience with LEGIC

Even before the centralisation process, LEGIC technology had been in use at one of the Zurich offices. It was the good experience there that aided the decision once again to entrust LEGIC with this large project. The contactless all-in-one card technology is very convenient and provides almost limitless options. With up to 127 applications that can be programmed onto a contactless LEGIC smart card, it is easy to expand, and thus also future-proof – and it is compatible with PWC’s own internal operational systems. For example all the data for contactless identification is transferred from existing HR systems. Moreover, LEGIC technology provides the option of biometric person identification, which was important for PwC’s 24-hour working day.

Implemented in teamwork

Such a broad system consisting of so many and such complex details requires teamwork. In addition to LEGIC, selected for its contactless technology, Kaba was responsible for the overall design concept, and with supplying all the locking systems. Kaba Gallensch�tz of Germany supplied the turnstiles and the high quality safety glass doors. LEGIC’s partner Interlock is responsible for the ID cards and the printers.

The cards are printed in-house complete with the employee’s photograph, and then programmed with the relevant applications. In the basements of the building, programmable keys are used instead of ID cards, and these also communicate with the security systems. For security reasons these keys are not handed to individual employees on a permanent basis, but – again contactless – issued from the central key deposit using the employee?s ID card. In this way it is easy to see who has used which key and for how long.

Only good experiences

Corina Gerber emphasises the excellent experience that PwC has had with LEGIC contactless technology: ?We are very pleased with the new systems. Our expectations and requirements have been met in full. As an employee I value very much the fact that with the LEGIC smart card I only need to carry one ID card on me. But also from the facilities management perspective, we have had excellent experience of the contactless all-in-one-card technology. Maximum security, clarity, user-friendliness and perfect operation were important aspects to us. We also wanted to be certain that the new systems could be extended, and that we could integrate other applications. We would choose LEGIC again!”

Stephen Neff, Vice President Sales & Business Development at LEGIC Identsystems Ltd is delighted with the successful implementation of LEGIC smart card technology. “The new security system at PwC serves as an excellent example. It shows how complex tasks can be efficiently solved with reliable partners and the most up-to-date technology. PwC has invested in the future with us.”