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SecurityWorld Online Magazine

CCTV Surveillance

Access Control

Biometric ID

Alarm & Detection

Security Parts & Devices

Integration & Convergence

Access Control

Access Control & Security for Innovative Offices

PricewaterhouseCoopers opts for contactless all-on-one-card solutions at its new prestige Swiss offices using LEGIC technology.

The modern architecture and state-of-the-art technology at PwC in Oerlikon, Switzerland.  (Photo by LEGIC Identsystems Ltd.)




PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), 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 characterizes quality as individually meeting each one of its clients’s needs, and in its employees and consultants having an excellent knowledge of their customers’s industries.  PwC also expends effort in providing optimum working conditions for its employees, which ultimately benefits its clients.




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, following a long period of evaluation and planning, the offices in the city of Zurich, which numbered more than ten, were centralized 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 utilizing synergies.  As project manager, Corina Gerber, Facilities Manager at PwC, oversaw the centralization 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.


Biometric identification guarantees security even outside normal business hours.  (Photo by LEGIC Identsystems Ltd.) 





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.




e-payment at the canteen and at snacks dispensers  (Photo by LEGIC Identsystems Ltd.)


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 organization.  But with LEGICs 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’s 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 1,064 workstations for more than 1,200 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.




 Using the contactless LEGIC smart card, print jobs can be triggered directly at the printer, and allocated to the cost, center concerned.  (Photo by LEGIC  Identsystems Ltd.)

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 authorized users in order to operate the printers.  At the new offices in Zurich, PwC has dispensed with individual printers.  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.




Even before the centralization 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.




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 Gallenschuz 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.


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