Net2 Anywhere opens the door to remote Net2 access at Polhill Garden Centre

27 May 2014

Polhill Garden Centre is a family run business, based in Sevenoaks, Kent. Established in 1976, Polhill has grown from a simple garden nursery to a hugely successful garden centre, a thriving shopping village and restaurant.

Now spanning over three sites including Sevenoaks, Cambridge and Wembley, Polhill employs nearly 200 staff, with Sevenoaks as its main site. As well as permanent staff, Polhill takes on temporary employees each year, who live in accommodation on site.

With an increasing number of visitors, Technical Director, Mark Novell, and Managing Director, Pete Bensted needed a forward thinking security solution, to control access around the site. They wanted to monitor security, enable different access permissions for staff and prevent the general public from accessing staff only areas. A key requirement was that Mark and Pete wanted to have sole responsibility of the system administration, to ensure that they were the only two people controlling access permissions for the centre, making things really simple. Keith Blackmore, Director of Martin Lock and Safe, specified Paxton’s market leading networked access control system, Net2, to meet their requirements.

Keith installed Net2 plus, Paxton’s most powerful control unit yet, which now links the three sites and controls access to 40 doors, managed centrally from Sevenoaks. Net2 plus has on-board TCP/IP to allow direct connection to Polhill’s network, which saved Mark and Pete time and money on extra cabling, and made for a quick install. Keith opted for the Net2 nano, Paxton’s wireless control unit, to control access on the main entrance gates, as cabling would have proven tricky. He also installed the PROXIMITY KP50 combined reader and keypad on the gate, for extra security.

The Net2 system successfully provides access to staff and helps to manage the flow of people around the garden centre. Due to the large number of staff that had to be added at Polhill, simple, flexible software was key.

Polhill now use Net2 Anywhere, a new online application in the Net2 Pro software, to enable them to manage the centre remotely, from any location. Net2 Anywhere has made a huge difference to the way the site is managed. As busy Directors of the company, Net2 Anywhere means that Pete and Mark can make administrative changes to their Net2 system, from anywhere in the world, allowing them to access Net2 software from a web browser or specialised iPhone apps.

The convenience and peace of mind of knowing that only the Directors have access to these administrative rights makes things really simple when following access events, especially as the site has grown. Such a large site with numerous administrators could quickly turn into an unnecessary headache.

Keith says: “As a registered Paxton installer I knew the high capabilities of Net2 access control. If a customer asks if we can do something, we say yes we can with Paxton.”

The Time and Attendance feature in the Net2 software integrates with Polhill’s existing Thinking Software program, a database that monitors staff rotas, time and attendance, providing a complete solution for monitoring staff hours, and producing an audit trail.

Mark says: “We use so many of the features in Net2 Pro software; it’s now integral to the smooth day to day running of Polhill.”

Polhill uses Net2 I/O boards and Triggers and Actions for a range of facilities management solutions that move beyond simple access control. Net2 I/O boards work with the Triggers and Actions feature in the Net2 software to control utilities, set up security alerts and respond to particular events in Net2.

Key boxes are stored around the site, containing keys for secure areas, facilities and equipment. To ensure the key boxes are secure, Polhill have set a Triggers and Actions rule in Net2 software, so that if an unauthorised user tries to open a keybox, Net2 will generate a text message alert to Mark and Pete to inform them. For additional security, their CCTV system is also integrated with Net2 and will start recording in the event of tampering, reducing time spent searching for footage and streamlining security. Polhill also set a Triggers and Actions rule so that authorised early morning shift workers simultaneously disarm the intruder alarm as their token is swiped. Staff working out of usual hours can now work freely around the site with minimum disruption and avoid false alarms.

Mark says: “Using the Triggers and Actions feature in Net2 Pro software is a great way to get value back from our investment, and really streamlines our processes. It makes the day to day running of the building really efficient and we have the peace of mind of knowing that the sites are protected in our absence."

Paxton’s Net2 Pro software has dramatically improved the smooth running of Polhill, something Mark and Pete are keen to develop. Plans are in place to use Paxton’s Energy saving reader to control and monitor use of forklift trucks in their warehouse so that only trained staff have access, minimising risk of accidents. They are also looking to extend access control to the internal doors on the staff accommodation building, which Paxton can offer in the shape of Net2 PaxLock, a smart, stylish wireless security solution in a door handle.

Mark says: “We’re always looking for new ways to improve the system and we know Paxton tech support are available to help if we have a question – although, there isn’t much that goes wrong with Net2 so we hardly ever need to call up!”

Paxton House
Home Farm Road
BN1 9HU
Brighton, East Sussex
United Kingdom

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