MechChem Africa

MechChem Africa talks to Gavin Coetzer, managing director of KAG Technical Solutions about its proudly South African “Bluelock” Keyless Access Solution, an innovative approach to managing access to deployed network infrastructure such as telecommunication and electricity substation enclosures, while overcoming physical key management challenges.

Keyless access for better protection of equipment enclosuresVandalism and the theft of batteries and other equipment from these cabinets causes the disruption of local services and triggers the need for expensive repairs – often after hours.

Based on experiences of installing and testing fuel-cell and cooling technology in cell phone towers, Coetzer noticed that key management was a critical element in the telecoms space. “This, we believe, is an industry wide problem. It affects every cellphone tower, electricity substation or lamppost cabinet where critical network assets are deployed for the delivery of essential and connectivity services. Keys are routinely issued to contractors or staff, for example, but the management and recovery of those keys is seldom effective,” he says.

“Also, traditional locks, even modern electronic versions such as keypads or biometric readers for example, invite vandals or thieves to break in. Wherever there are visible security features, these elements are targeted by people convinced that the enclosed equipment has value, which is often the case. Given enough time and unguarded access, even the best physical locks can be broken and removed, giving easy access to the site, which is certain to be damaged or completely destroyed, disrupting local services and triggering the need for expensive repairs – usually after hours,” Coetzer tells MechChem Africa.

Having realised the problem, Coetzer went looking for solutions. “In Europe and the US, all sort of modern USB- and remote-based locking systems are available, but these all still require a key-like device to be handed over to the person requiring access, in the hope that it can be easily retrieved before being duplicated.

“What we wanted to achieve was an invisible and keyless site access solution, which we found locally being implemented for home security and garage access by a company called BlueLock. Based on the use of Bluetooth technology, this system replaces remotes and enables gate motors and locking actuators to be triggered from a phone.

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