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Bitwards – enriching the educational experience of the students of the University of Helsinki

The craft science and education department of the faculty of pedagogical studies of the University of Helsinki opened its new premises in 2021 and became fully operational this year. Bitwards provided easy and secure access throughout it´s premises.
Bitwards-provided-easy-secure-access-to-Helsinki-University

The craft science department of University of Helsinki welcomes students who need to work on their projects at varying hours. Staying in the lab for a short while or spending hours in the laboratory to finish a project on time can be critical and needs easy and secure access. These students will one day graduate to become class teachers in primary and secondary schools in Finland. Technical work is part of their curriculum.

It was clear that granting access to hundreds of students every year using a traditional method, e.g. handling physical keys, was impossible. The department develops on three floors and is served by a lift. There are several sizable machines that students learn to operate and need to access. The question was how to ensure that only authorized people could access the premises and use the machines safely and independently. 

Making easy and secure access

Erno Vähänen, the senior laboratory technician, reveals how Bitwards helped create a safe access environment. Access control facilitates students to work independently by accessing the machines in the lab. Mr. Vähänen is responsible for caring for the machines and works as a supervisor. He is also the administrator of the Bitwards platform, assigning access rights to the students.

“As from the first year, students get access rights to the doors so they can freely get acquainted with the spaces. When the study progresses, they have to pass theory and practice tests to operate the machines. These tests are strict because many of the metal and woodwork machines can be dangerous if not operated appropriately. Once the students pass, they get access rights to the 27 machines of the department. Thanks to Bitwards, they get to practice on their own”, says Mr. Vähänen. 

A student and the lab technician , Erno Vähänen, standing in a workshop environment. One of them is holding a phone, a Bitwards mobile access application in the screen. Students get access rights to the doors so they can freely get acquainted with the spaces. When the study progresses, they have to pass theory and practice tests to operate the machines.
The lab technician Erno Vähänen with Inka Hissa.


Security above all

Of course, in case of need, he or other supervisors are always there. Bitwards’s solution is specifically for high-risk machines, such as the planer, the band saw, or the circular saw. 

“The best thing for me is that I can rely on the fact that thanks to Bitwards, I can feel safe when the students are working with the machines. I know that only authorized people can access them and that those people know what they do. Bitwards gives me a sense of security.” 

Senior lecturer Antti Hilmola says the Bitwards platform is very user-friendly: “I particularly enjoy the fact that we can grant easy and secure access rights to anyone. And that we can decide on the timeframe. I think this system could be particularly suitable for vocational schools or universities of applied sciences.”

Senior lecturer Antti Hilmola, stands at the front of beige wood workshop in his blue shirt. Bitwards helped create an environment where access control facilitates students to work independently by accessing the machines in the lab.
Senior lecturer Antti Hilmola.

Students enjoying modern access control technology

During a visit to the campus, we interviewed a few students. We toured the premises by opening doors with the Bitwards app. 

“The biggest plus is that we can move freely on the campus; once the app is on our phone, we do not require any keys to open doors or cards for the lift,” says Inka Hissa, a first-year student. 

With Bitwards mobile access application students gets an easy access to all University premises like metal-and wood workshops, elevators, doors and machinery. Blue and white user interface is easy to use.



We followed two students, Melissa Lynch and Kreetta Uusitalo, to the material storage room in the basement, accessing the lift and opening the doors with the app. There is no internet reception in the basement. Still, Bluetooth technology allows the app to work even in the most remote places and, as seen with our own eyes, even underground.

 “The connection might be a bit slower sometimes underground, but it always works and we think it’s great”, they say. The app has charmed the students who, in the beginning, were wondering how it was possible to open doors and unlock machines with a simple touch on their mobile phone screens.

Text: Katariina Benedetti

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