Electronic Cylinders Bolster Perimeter Security at ‘America’s Finest Home’
Perimeter security takes on new meaning when you’re protecting the largest privately owned home in America.
The Biltmore Estate near Asheville, N.C., has been called America’s finest home and is a national historic landmark. Built in 1895 and still privately held by a descendant of its first owner, George W. Vanderbilt, the 8,000-acre property houses a 250-room, 178,000-square-foot chateau, expansive gardens and vineyards, a 75-tank winery, restaurants and shops, as well as a full-service inn and spa.
Each day, thousands of tourists, employees, vendors and workmen pass through the 16 gates spaced along the estate’s perimeter. But with Biltmore’s wide array of valuable assets, the inability to monitor gates located in more remote areas of the property, including those bordering the Blue Ridge Parkway, was an increasing concern.
Hardwiring the remote gates was not an option: the distances involved were prohibitive. If gates were left open, it was impossible to tell for how long or by whom. When temporary access was given, keys had to be retrieved, often from vendors or contractors who had left the site. If keys were lost or stolen, entire lock systems would have to be replaced or rekeyed.
According to Larry Rankine, Biltmore’s head of security, the solution was Medeco’s NEXGEN XT eCylinder, an electronic locking system that offers access control, security and accountability in one easy-to-use package that could be retrofitted into existing padlocks on the propery. With NEXGEN XT, security personnel could program key access rights via a computer or smartphone and review time/date reports of who entered each gate and when. Lost or stolen keys could be easily disabled without changing locks or keys.
“We needed a rugged, cost effective access control solution for our remote perimeter needs,” says Rankine. “Since installing electronic locks to our gates, not only have we improved our compliance in keeping these gates secure, but we’re saving money in the long run by not having to replace keys and locks on a regular basis.”
Rankine says that the NEXGEN XT eCylinders have worked so well, the Biltmore has installed additional systems in internal areas on the estate that need additional security and accountability. “Within minutes, I can access information on everyone who has entered an area and when,” says Rankine. “It’s like having a security guard in place at every location — it acts as a deterrent.”
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