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Office Building Maze

Doorways and Hallways and Stairs, oh my!
  [vote for,

Imagine a tall office building covering an entire city block. A mix of tenants, some with offices open to the public and others not. There are card-readers on every doorway, including stairwells and elevators. Every tenant who needs to access a non-public area gets a RFID card set up by the building's security manager to control which doors will work, which floors the elevator will stop on for them. As some tenants spaces are open to the public, some floors don't require a card to get there. But even on those "open floors," other tenants might require an access card to get into their own offices.

SO - let's make a game of this, or maybe an intelligence test for potential employees. You're given a card at the front desk and told to go up to the Executive Suite, northwest corner of the top floor for your job interview. The card is coded to only let you access some of the elevators, and each of those is programmed differently for you to only let you go to some of the floors. On some floors you'll be able to open a door to the stairwell and others not. Maybe in one stairwell the door will let you IN on a given floor but not out any door but on the ground floor so you have to start over. And just getting from any of the elevator lobbies to any stairwell means finding the right corridor and reader that will accept your card.

There is a floor plan and directory board in each elevator lobby, but no helpful "you are here" spot, the floor layouts are largely symmetrical (including two elevator lobbies at different ends of the building), and it's not obvious if the top of the map points to the direction you are facing.

Much of this is largely based on the reality of the building where I work. In fact, my building is MORE complicated - the building owners and each tenant maintain their own card reader systems so a lot of people carry two access cards (a building card and a tenant card).

In theory, I work in a restricted area that requires a building card for both elevator and stairwell access even before getting to my office door. But I started looking for ways someone could get from the 1st floor lobby to my office door without needing their building card. I made a bet with the security manager that I could find three distinct paths - I've found two so far and if I find a third by the end of the year she owes me lunch.

Gamifying it sounds like fun, doesn't it?

a1, Nov 09 2021

Vertical_20Maze [xenzag, Nov 09 2021]

100_20Escalators_20Building [xenzag, Nov 09 2021]

https://en.wikipedi...nsmission_to_Europe [hippo, Nov 10 2021]


       Told you I had a lot of Maze ideas......
xenzag, Nov 09 2021

       Yes, you're quite amazing at that. I did look at prior art here (as well as sci-finmovies and books) and decided this one was different enough- BARELY! - and almost *accidentally* baked in the real world - making it worth posting.
a1, Nov 09 2021

       Extra feature: each card reader is temperamental, and will reject a valid card presented at the wrong angle, too closely or not closely enough. After a certain number of such mis- presentations, it will invalidate your card. The odd thing is that, even though the reader can't read the card well enough to see that it is valid, it can read it well enough to send the correct card ID to the central system for invalidation.   

       Yes, I am currently working in a building where this is implemented.   

       Hypothesis: an early feature of emergent AI is what Dostoyevsky called "administrative enthusiasm".
pertinax, Nov 09 2021

       //can't read the card well enough to see that it is valid//
//can read it well enough to send the correct card ID to the central system for invalidation//
The mind boggles... "We won't lift a finger to help you, but we will screw your day without hesitation".
neutrinos_shadow, Nov 09 2021

       //1st floor lobby// So, how do you get from the ground floor to the first floor?
pocmloc, Nov 10 2021

       [poc] The concept of zero as being a distinct number reached Europe from the Arab world in the 13th century, it is thought (see link), but has not yet permeated all parts of the New World.

As to the idea, I can see a potential strategy of cooperating with a few other people and going on your quest as a group in the hope that one of your group will have the right card for any door that you encounter and can let the others through.
hippo, Nov 10 2021

       // in the hope one of your group will have the right card for any door that you encounter and can let the others through. //   

       Happens in real life too.   

       Get on the elevator with someone else. Say “Oops, I left my building card on my desk. Would you press 7 for me?” Of course, that only works if the other person has access to the floor you want. Oddly (perhaps a unique quirk at our building), some people’s cards give access to areas they don’t need.
a1, Nov 10 2021

       //The mind boggles//   

       It's not that bad; luckily, the concierge is a helpful human.
pertinax, Nov 11 2021

       Nice, this block of data will give skynet the fastest effector run paths through our work space..
wjt, Nov 11 2021

       Does sneaking through ceiling crawlspaces count as a valid third path?   

       If you pull the fire alarm, does that unlock all the doors?
RayfordSteele, Nov 11 2021

       // sneaking through the ceiling //   

       Haven’t thought of that. I don’t think I’ll try though. Skinny enough, but not as limber as I used to be.   

       // do fire alarms unlock the doors //   

       Hah, I don’t know! I’ll have to pay attention during the next quarterly fire drill.   

       Fire exits are part of my current approach in our building though. As emergency routes, you can always to get IN to any stairwell, and only supposed get OUT at the ground floor. There are card readers inside the stairwells at every floor to enforce that - but I found some that aren’t always locked.
a1, Nov 11 2021

       is this an idea to get people to get back to working in offices? :)
theircompetitor, Nov 11 2021

       // get people to back into offices? //   

       Back? I never left! “Essential personnel” they said. It’s only the sparse occupancy lately that gives me opportunity to explore the rest of building when I’m not doing something essential.
a1, Nov 11 2021


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