The Customer

The Vesper Boat Club, located on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia, PA, is one of the most celebrated rowing clubs in the nation. Founded in 1865,Vesper is a small, not-for-profit run solely by volunteers whose mission is to perpetuate its legacy of developing highly skilled and competitive rowers at all levels by providing its diverse community of members with premier rowing programs and first-class facilities and equipment.

The Challenge

On any given day, there are many people coming in and out of the historic boat house, and Vesper must protect them and the club’s boats and other equipment. In early 2016, Tom Simon, a member of Vesper Boat Club’s House Committee, inherited access control responsibility for the club and a traditional and often troublesome card/fob access
control solution.

Tom quickly discovered that both the access control system’s manufacturer and installer had gone out of business, so there were no resources for service calls or troubleshooting. What’s more, when any access changes needed to be made, Tom had to use an outdated, unsupported version of Windows, and the club had only a single, aging laptop that fit the criteria. He comments, “It was an unacceptable situation. If something were to happen to that old laptop, I would have had no way at all of controlling access”.

Vesper clearly needed to update their access control solution, but did not want to invest in hardware or technology that would quickly be out-of-date or cumbersome to manage.

“As soon as I saw it, it was a no-brainer. I immediately knew we could benefit from it.”

The Solution

A club member introduced Tom to VIZpin’s smartphone access control system. He says, “As soon as I saw it, it was a no-brainer. I immediately knew we could benefit from it.”

VIZpin’s VP1 bluetooth access control reader was installed on Vesper Boat Club’s main entrance door to support smartphone access control, and the organization immediately began realizing the benefits of transitioning to VIZpin’s cloud-based system.

Even though VIZpin’s keyless access control is simple to use, Vesper realized a transition period was necessary, so VIZpin arranged for the new bluetooth enabled door lock system to run in parallel with the old system until a total transition can be completed. Tom notes that not having to purchase fobs and keep physical inventory of them makes cost savings an additional benefit of the new keyless access control system.

Currently Vesper Boat Club has 142 users with the VIZpin smartphone app and has 140 physical fobs that still need to be converted. Tom concludes, “VIZpin did us a huge favor, allowing us to offer members the smartphone option. The system has already solved so many challenges for us”.


  • Secure Access: Because people don’t tend to share phones, the club is now more confident that only those who are granted access get into the building.

  • Scheduled Access: Vesper can easily manage tenants and event participants where access is needed for limited hours during a particular time frame.

  • Better Data & Transparency: User data is accurate and complete, and the access data provided by VIZpin is detailed and transparent

  • Ease of Use: With VIZpin, it’s very easy to show users how to use the system - even members who are not used to working with their phones or tech.