CM Magazine

UPM Elevates Access Control with Secure, Convenient On-the-Go Authentication

Courtesy of HID Global

The Finnish company UPM has deployed Alutel Mobility mobile devices with HID Global’s mobile reader technology and Seos® smart cards at its facility in Fray Bentos, Uruguay. The solution is used to authenticate employees using its shared transportation program, optimizing access control processes to improve security, convenience and efficiency.


Determining the fastest and most secure way to identify employees is a significant challenge that industrial factories and manufacturing plants face every day. This issue was magnified for UPM, which operates 54 production plants and employs more than 19,000 people around the world. The company needed a way to identify the large number of employees that arrived together at its Fray Bentos facility each day using company-sponsored shared transportation services.

UPM is involved in a wide range of bioeconomy industries, creating sustainable and safe energy, paper, plywood and other recyclable products made of renewable raw materials. In South  America, UPM has offices in Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay. At its Pulpa facility in Fray Bentos, the company operates a first-class pulp mill that is also a significant biomass-based energy producer, accounting for 8% of the Uruguayan population’s energy. Immediately upon launching its transportation service at this location, the company struggled with the logistics of ensuring only authorized personnel could enter the facility via the transportation service buses.

When the buses arrived at the main checkpoint 1.5 km from the UPM plant, employees had to exit the bus, form a line and pass through a turnstile before re-boarding the bus and completing their trip. This process was inconvenient on many  levels, especially in cold and rainy conditions. Worse, it wasn’t possible to quickly, accurately and efficiently verify the identities of those exiting and re-boarding buses at the checkpoint. In addition, with hundreds of people following this identification sign-in process, traffic jams and major delays at the checkpoint were a regular occurrence. This led to significant loss of time and employee working hours for UPM each year.

The Solution

To resolve these many issues, Alutel Mobility recommended that UPM deploy a solution featuring its mobile devices with built-in HID OMNIKEY® smart card readers and HID Seos smart cards. This integration now allows UPM security staff to enter the corporate buses transporting its employees and quickly and efficiently verify their identities.

The process is simple. UPM employees are issued a Seos® smart card or an HID Mobile ID carried on their smartphone (Android or iOS). Employees present their card or smartphone to the UPM security personnel’s Alutel RAGTAB tablets containing HID’s OMNIKEY® mobile reader and Alutel’s Autel Mobile app. During authentication, the mobile reader on the tablet or  smartphone displays the employee’s photo to prevent identity theft. It also utilizes GPS to record location information.

“When it came to ID cards, UPM set high standards of security and quality by using Seos cards in the CP1000 iCLASS SE® format. This enables them to maintain tight control over the information these credentials contain in the most secure way  possible,” said Michel  Grudzien, an engineer and director with Alutel Mobility.

The HID OMNIKEY mobile readers can also be used without an internet connection so that the authorization process can be conducted in remote areas lacking connectivity. “While in offline mode, mobile readers can register and store up to 500,000 separate events corresponding to 100,000 individuals, and can validate their data upon reconnection to the server,” Grudzien added.

For Alutel Mobility, implementing this type of solution for its clients is simple. The only hardware they need is a smartphone or tablet. The software installation can be completed over the air, making it easy to roll out its access control in open, remote locations.

“Once clients confirm they want to proceed with a project like this, we schedule the installation, establish a remote connection with the server, complete the configuration and verify that the system works as it should. The client then assigns a team to supervise and test the deployment,” Grudzien said.

The Results

Beyond significantly reducing its employees’ transportation time, the Alutel solution with HID OMNIKEY readers, Seos smart  cards and HID Mobile IDs has given UPM an identity management system with permanent connectivity and the ability to synchronize with its database in real time. The solution has also enabled the company to avoid any discrepancies between what was saved on a card versus what was stored in its database.

“It is important for our security guards to simultaneously control access points while  reducing the possibility of intrusion,” said Gerardo Galimberti, UPM Pulpa director of security.

Additionally, the Alutel Mobility director explained that beyond its current use case, “this system is a tool that also aids in evacuation and provides security guards with logistical support.”

Galimberti said that that the Seos technology is also used for identifying employees who don’t use the company’s transportation services. “Of the 2,000 people who enter the plant on a daily basis, including those making them use the mobile authentication system since they commute using their

own methods of transportation,” Gerardo said. “These employees who use their own transportation must still be verified, so we’ve installed readers at approximately car-window height at various checkpoints. This makes it easy for these employees to drive up and gain access by presenting their  Seos® company ID cards or smartphones with HID Mobile IDs.”

Once the initial verification step is complete either on a company bus or at a checkpoint for those using their own transportation, employees can then use the same ID cards or their smartphones to enter different areas within the plant that are protected by access control. Their cards and smartphones act as digital signatures within the permissions system designed by UPM.

At the time of this publication, UPM has utilized the solution for more than a year and the mobile reader system at the UPM Fray Bentos plant registers approximately 14,000 events each month.

For Galimberti, developing and updating custom solutions is not an easy task, as these projects require ample time and dedication. According to him, the key to bringing these ideas to life is having good partners such as Alutel Moblity and HID Global.