Star India goes whole hog on mobile

MUMBAI: Even as fierce rival Zee Entertainment continues with its ban on the use of mobiles in its corporate headquarters at Marathon Futurex in Mumbai, Star India has taken steps to make its HQ mobile friendly – a stone’s throw away from the Subhash Chandra promoted firm. 2,500 employees, who work in the 32 floor swanky Urmi Estate in central Mumbai,  can  enter the Star India premises using their handsets. Last year, the media conglomerate issued mobile IDs to employees and also installed numerous iCLASS SE readers at doors and gates throughout the building  (apparently 19 or 20 floors of it are occupied by Star India).

The solution was provided by HID Global, a worldwide leader in trusted identity solutions  courtesy its HID Mobile Access solution, powered by Seos, “As India’s largest multimedia company, we have extremely high security standards,” says Star India senior vice-president (administration & facilities) Sumir Yadav. “HID Global, known for being the market leader of access control solutions, was able to fulfill all our requirements. With HID Mobile Access, we can now take advantage of the latest technology in this mobile-first age and achieve better security without being intrusive or compromising the user experience.”

He reveals that the company relied on smart cards for building access in the past. The cards were easily damaged and often misplaced, resulting in costly re-issuance of badges. Another weakness of the card-based access system was its inefficiency. Each new or replacement card had to be provisioned manually, costing Star India time and money as it continued to grow over the years.

With the popularity of smartphones and other smart devices soaring in India in recent years, Yadav started to look for a new solution that could enable Star India to make use of employees’ smart devices for better physical security. “Mobility has always been rated highly in our offices, so from the get-go we knew the new access control solution had to work with smartphones,” adds Yadav.

The deployment, from the initial planning to the solution going online, took Star India only 12 weeks, and has been in operation since January 2016.

Mobile IDs, a core component of HID Mobile Access  were provisioned via the solution’s robust online portal, making it possible for Star India’s IT administrators to issue or revoke mobile IDs quickly, easily and efficiently. Whenever a new employee joins the company, the IT administrators can effortlessly enroll them into the system by simply sending the employee an email invitation. The system-generated email contains directions and an activation code for the recipient to download and use the HID Mobile Access App. Upon entering the code and successfully activating the app, the employee can begin using his or her mobile device to unlock doors and gates at Star India.

“HID Mobile Access is very intuitive to use and helping to create a mobile-driven and secure workplace is the goal of our mobile access solution,” says HID Global India & SAARC director of sales, physical access control Vishwanath Kulkarni. “We are pleased that both Star India employees and the company’s IT administrators managing the solution are enjoying the experience.”  

Feedback on HID Mobile Access from Star India employees has been positive, and the company is currently exploring options to deploy it to secure its canteen as well as its collaboration spaces. It is also considering expanding the scope of the solution to cover the management of its visitor and enable secure printing in the future.

HR managers are all praise for Star India’s initiative but they question how long Zee is going to continue with its mobile fatwa issued a couple of years ago wherein employees were barred from using their mobile phones at their desks; the devices are kept in custody and calls forwarded to their land lines.

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