How one French racecourse saved security costs by switching from mechanical keys to SMARTair® access control

London, March 2020 – Racecourse managers at the Hippodrome Côte d’Azur faced a familiar dilemma. How to stop duplicatable mechanical keys jeopardizing security for employees and visitors? And how to drastically reduce the time they were wasting in getting locks replaced when someone lost their key?

The racecourse’s 63-hectare site incorporates tracks used for many equestrian disciplines. Around 30 workers are employed full-time, but during meetings it welcomes up to 1,000 horses and 3,000 participants. Many stay in one of 130 onsite rooms. On race days, grandstands and spectator areas hold up to 11,300.

The racecourse chose a SMARTair® Update on Card access control solution for this complex site. They now control and secure access points more efficiently and effectively than with their old key system. Projected long-term cost savings and significant key management workload reduction convinced Hippodrome managers to choose this wireless solution.

With SMARTair® Update on Card, security staff encode user credentials directly for convenient access management. From among SMARTair®’s long menu of compatible RFID technologies, Hippodrome managers chose iCLASS®. They can delete users or lost cards instantly and collect audit trails when needed. Easy, flexible credential management enables them to program fine-grained, individual access to around 200 doors in six separate structures.

“In the long term, SMARTair® access control is cheaper than keys to manage,” confirms Bernard Arnaud, Supervisor for Accommodations at Hippodrome Côte d’Azur.

Multiple devices, mobile credentials

Tough, durable, battery-powered locking devices are deployed cost-efficiently at different types of opening around the Hippodrome site. During 2018, around 100 rooms and technical areas were equipped with SMARTair® readers, wireless escutcheons and wireless cylinders. Access to the accommodation building is controlled with a SMARTair® wall reader. In the past, people who had lost their key had forced their way in by kicking the entrance. Now, a SMARTair® device secures it.

The access control upgrade continues through 2019 and 2020, in racecourse offices and grandstands. Managers also plan to trial the SMARTair® Openowä app. With Openowä, administrators can send virtual “keys” directly to a visitor’s smartphone — convenient for racecourse guests arriving late at night.

To learn how easily SMARTair® wireless access control could secure your premises, download a free solution guide at