At the Les Roches Marbella campus, students study not only at one of the world’s leading hospitality business schools but also live in a sophisticated living environment that mirrors the exceptional experiences they will facilitate in their future careers.
In addition to delivering academic rigour, the institution also aims to foster innovation and entrepreneurship among its 1,000+ students from all around the world. This training site for elite hospitality professionals must reflect the luxury living and progressive comforts expected from high-end accommodations.
Administrators wanted to ensure Les Roches is always ahead of the curve when it comes to exemplary learning using cutting-edge technologies. In Spain, they hoped to enrich their coastal Mediterranean property by integrating “digital badge” access.
Students’ plastic access cards were replaced with smartphone-based digital IDs. The verification would cover daily physical access as well as digital touchpoints (e.g., vending machines, restaurant reservations, etc.). It would help the school drive digital transformation and student efficiencies.
“Everything here is about the student experience,” said Mano Soler, Director of Student Services and Operations at Les Roches Marbella. “It is our main driver and the reason we embrace and foster innovation — because innovation makes our students’ lives easier and supports their well-being through secure technology. The students will eventually leave this campus and, in turn, take that know-how and excellence into the world with them.”
Updating from RFID to Mobile
For 10 years, Les Roches Marbella relied on an RFID (radio frequency identification) card-based system to identify and grant access to students. This was a fundamental tool that nearly 1,000 individuals needed to have with them at all times to validate themselves day in and day out.
Supporting their quest for digital transformation, as part of the school’s Spark incubator program, the leadership team wanted a mobile solution to fit specific campus requirements such as swiftly granting/removing accesses, avoiding disruption when students lose/forget cards and accommodating a multi-system environment.
Through modern technology, management also aimed to improve back-office processes and procedures to save time and resources. It was critical to achieve better efficiency around the school’s new student intake registration/check-in process each semester for this particular mobile initiative. Each of the 1,000+ ID credentials was loaded individually onto RFID cards and then printed, resulting in the possible need for corrections along the way.
Yet, the transition to mobile didn’t come without a series of obstacles and serious consideration. Each touchpoint where a card was to be replaced with smartphone technology required deep analysis and complex integration work — specifically involving seven to eight different brands whose products were already deployed throughout the premises. Les Roches required an access partner with solutions compatible with the many other products already in play within its existing infrastructure, and an ability to successfully address former system re-adaptation.
In addition, the mobile technology needed to support both Android and iOS phones, as well as physical card technology (the RFID ecosystem would remain intact for non-student purposes and serve as a migration path for other areas not yet mobile). The school wanted a single company to supply both the hardware and software elements. And, as a higher education establishment with upscale expectations and an outstanding reputation, the Les Roches decision-makers required a proven partner of this same ilk.
40 plus access points go mobile
To transform technologies and reach new degrees of onsite productivity and novel amenities, Les Roches Marbella selected HID Global for its mobile access portfolio. HID’s experts designed a system to meet each requirement from the school — resulting in a tremendous collection of 40+ access points featuring mobile identification, app, portal and reader technologies.
The integration project was completed within an accelerated time frame to ensure it was in place before students set foot onto campus that fall. HID Global components that comprise this robust mobile ecosystem include OMNIKEY readers and reader modules (OMNIKEY 5427, OMNIKEY 5127CK Mini, OMNIKEY 5127 Reader Core), HID Signo™ access control readers, HID Seos® mobile credentials and more.
With a slight tap or wave of their smartphone, students interact easily with the mobile ecosystem and via the digital Seos credential to authenticate themselves as they move throughout the property each day. HID Global access technologies are embedded in:
“You cannot discount the value of mobile when it comes to today’s student populations,” said Soler. “It is their way of life. They were ‘born digital’ and they have an expectation when it comes to smart living — for them, it’s a mobile-first world. We get it. We embrace it. And, we intend to attract and retain students by offering them an unparalleled educational experience while here in Marbella.”
Tying back to one of the original reasons for this mobile initiative, registration check-ins are now streamlined, and Les Roches Marbella has gained immediate improvements around this important event that takes place each semester. Now, 100% of students use the mobile access system on campus. Students register digitally — with the option to do so in-person, ahead of time or remotely with no human interaction. HID Global credentials available now via a smartphone make scaling individual access up and down significantly easier for IT, faculty and students.