The Nike Experience

You are at the right place, but absent from view are glass-on-glass high-rises compacted together over the typical concrete and asphalt corporate terrain.  But then, this is anything but typical.  You are about to enter the hallowed halls of one of sport’s holiest sites.   You have arrived at Nike World Headquarters (WHQ). 

The 185-acre campus sprawls out in front of you and the size and complexity is staggering. Everything would have to be custom-designed to reflect a perfect balance of form and function, application and aesthetics.  Nike requires that every facet of their operati on exhibit the same distinctive architectural philosophy that has made them an international mega-brand.  Nike WHQ is divided into North and South Campuses occupying 75 acres, comprised of 11 buildings mostly built in the 1990s designed to accommodate 2,000 employees.  Nike grew at an exceptional rate during the 90s employing an additional 3,500 employees located within a 10-mile radius of the WHQ.  Nike decided to centralize a majority of the off-site activities onto the campus; so in 1997, they expanded another 110-acres at the north end of the existing campus.

Nike’s Security Operations

The frequent presence of high-profile sports celebrities and the periodic unannounced visits of sightseers who mistake Nike’s beautifully landscaped front entrance for a public picnic area are only a couple of Nike’s unique security concerns.  “Nike is very large and open,” said Tim Frawley, assistant security manager for Nike WHQ.  “People come and go 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Many employees work non-traditional hours, so we don’t close any of the buildings ever.  We often have employees leave with bags full of prototype product in the dead of the night to catch a red-eye flight to a marketing presentation the next morning.   A comprehensive access control system along with a staff-intensive security operation is the only way we can provide Nike with the secure yet open environment it demands.”

Nike had an existing Westinghouse access control system installed on the South Campus in the early 90s.  Although, the system provided Nike with the access control solution they needed, it relies on proprietary technology, including coaxial cabling and card/reader protocols that limit Nike’s ability to integrate the new card access technologies that became available in the mid-90s.

When the requirements for access control on the new North Campus were discussed, Nike®’s project managers agreed that it must feature an open architecture to allow them to migrate to new technologies in the future without having to install a totally new system.  They also decided that the North Campus system must be compatible with the proprietary Westinghouse system in use on the South Campus.  While it was clear that the integration of a new open system with an older proprietary system would save Nike an enormous amount of money, how to accomplish the marriage of the two systems was not as obvious.

HID®’s MultiProx® controller provides a physical link between the proprietary coaxial cable wiring used by the Westinghouse system and provides a standard Wiegand output. By eliminating the need for rewiring, the MultiProx will save Nike about 35 to 40 percent in retrofit cabling costs.  MultiProx also makes it possible to use HID readers to read the more expensive, Westinghouse 1050 cards and HID’s popular and economical ISOProx® proximity access cards.  This additional benefit saved Nike the expense of reading each of their 6,000 cardholders while offering a clear migration path away from the costly, proprietary cards to a single card for all access points on both the North and South Campuses.

Huser, a local Integrator, reviewed Nike’s security specification and designed a system using the HID MultiProx controller, cards and readers as well as Hirsch’s Model 8 controllers and Match reader interfaces.  In addition to providing Nike with a competitively priced system that addressed each of the requirements, they accounted for aesthetic issues as well. Huser installed the readers in 3-foot-tall square metal posts positioned at the entrance to the access points in each building.   While the metal tower reader stations looked very slick and matched the architectural style of the buildings, they also interfered with the radio frequency signals emitted by the readers greatly reducing card read range.  Huser contacted HID and was advised how to adjust the voltage to each reader through the MultiProx controller to achieve the maximum read range.  Problem solved.

Transparency of transition to the cardholders was another requirement.  “The benefit of the end user is my primary concern,” said Frawley.  “I wanted a seamless transition without disrupting the card holders’ ability to access the buildings and areas they needed.  Nike gave us a great deal of latitude in designing and implementing a system that would accomplish this.”   With the HID/Hirsch retrofit package, we were able to provide access to each new building without disrupting the normal access rights of cardholders on either campus.  If the determination is made to change technologies on the South Campus, we would retrofit one building at a time, usually at night so as not to compromise building accessibility during peak hours. We would replace the existing controllers and readers with the HID/Hirsch system.  The cardholders would arrive the next morning with full accessibility, unaware that anything had changed.  Frawley explains, “So far, we are getting no response from the technology change on the North Campus at all — which is exactly what I wanted. And while my end users are unaware of this new technology, the HID/Hirsch system gives me the ability to upgrade the functionality of their cards as new technologies become available.”

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