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At ColorID we understand how important it is to do our part in using environmentally friendly products and practices every day. Thus we are pleased to introduce the following Eco-Friendly ColorID products. Contact us today to learn more or receive free samples of these products:http://www.colorid.com/
Biodegradable PVC Cardstock: Our Fully Biodegradable PVC card stock is just as durable as our standard PVC, but Biodegradable. Typically these cards only cost a few cents more than a non-biodegradable card. Read an additional article at our website regarding: Pro's & Con's of Biodegradable Cardstock.
Eco-Friendly Badge Holders: Protect your ID cards as well as the environment with our new durable Eco-Badge Holders made from a special material that can be recycled and will not contaminate the environment.
Recycled Neck Lanyards: Our environmentally friendly neck lanyards are made from 100% recycled PET materials. The lanyards are available in 3/8 inch to 3/4 inch, break-away or non-breakaway, blank or with custom imprinting.
Eco-Friendly Strap Clips: Attach your cards with an eco-friendly strap clip. Made with PVC-DOP, recyclable plastic and it's just as durable as our standard 505A strap clip.
Supply Recycling Program: We also offer a shredding service that you can take advantage of at any time. If you have unwanted cards and used ID printer ribbons, ship them to ColorID with the Attn: Supply Recycling Program and we will dispose of them safely and securely.
by: David Stallsmith
Senior Product Manager of Advanced Technology Cards
About 40 years ago, the first campus card was used to monitor access to a university dining hall. A few years later, the mag stripe card was introduced to the university campus. Since then, university ID cards have become as important as backpacks and blue jeans on campuses around the world.
One of the challenges for card offices, security, dining services, housing and IT personnel has been to decide which technologies will make their cards most successful and cost-effective on their campus. In the days of mag stripes and bar codes, this question usually answered itself. But now, with a multitude of chips available for cards, both contact and contactless, the decision has become more difficult.
Although ID Cards were first used for meal plans, it wasn't long before they began to be used to open doors (physical access). Following the lead of the hotel industry, the predominant technology used for physical access was the magnetic stripe. Also used widely for credit cards, the magnetic stripe card is fairly inexpensive and easy to program. The swipe readers on the doors around a campus could be in either online or offline mode.
Until recently, the magnetic stripe was considered secure enough for this physical access. Unfortunately, magnetic stripes have no particular inherent security and are very easy to duplicate. This is not considered a problem for the credit cards that we carry every day, because the credit card issuers (Visa, MasterCard) will not require us to pay for unauthorized purchases. This is a guarantee by the issuer and not a result of the security of the magnetic stripe. For the physical safety of the university population however, the magnetic stripe is now known to be insufficient. Recently, a number of universities have found their names in the local or national newspapers after a student had "cloned" the magnetic stripe card of a prominent university official or fellow student, and breached the system.
About 20 years ago, Prox cards with radio frequency IC chips were introduced. Transmitting at 125 KHz, they provided a much higher level of security than magnetic stripes. Not as easy to clone as a magnetic stripe card, Prox cards have become vulnerable to attacks as their technology has aged.
Recently, the Prox chip has been eclipsed by a new radio frequency chip, known as high frequency "contactless smart cards". Though they are used at the door in much the same manner as Prox cards, they operate at 13.56 MHz. Mifare, Legic and HID's iCLASS fall into this category. These chips provide a significantly more secure card-reader interface than the old Prox chips and their readers. Before the transmission of encrypted personal data, there is a challenge-and-response sequence of communications, through which the card and reader verify that each other is trustworthy for this transaction. Data stored on the card is also encrypted. A significant benefit of contactless over magnetic stripe cards is that the cards are not dragged through swipe readers, which is very damaging to the surface of the cards.
As a university considers changing to a card containing one of the newer technology chips, cost is certainly an important factor in the decision. Any card with a chip in it will be more expensive than a plain PVC card or even a mag stripe card. Installing new or replacing existing readers brings with it the costs of new readers and installation. Fortunately, new contactless card readers can often be installed in the place of existing prox or magnetic stripe readers with no significant change to the existing wiring or mounting box. There is a protocol for security wiring called "Wiegand" and it is an industry standard for many different types of readers. As plans are being made to upgrade an infrastructure, looking into the future reveals two new trends in card reader technology: Wireless contactless readers (Wi-Fi - 802.11), which can be installed in locations that are difficult or expensive to reach with wires; and IP-addressable network readers, which can be employed to interface directly with software and replace old control panels.
In future articles, I will discuss the workings of high frequency contactless cards and the new possibilities they bring for campus card use. Learn more about contactless cards here = Advanced Technology Cards, contact us Toll Free 888-682-6567 or email us at Support@colorid.com.
We are excited to announce that ColorID will be exhibiting, for our sixth consecutive year, at the GovSec show in Washington DC, March 23rd and 24th. Please drop by and visit ColorID at Booth 1219. ColorID will be featuring the latest equipment in identification systems, advanced mobile verification and biometric systems.
We are excited to announce that ColorID will be exhibiting at the ISC West show in Las Vegas, NV on March 24th -26th. Please drop by and visit ColorID at Booth 24029. ColorID will be featuring the latest equipment in identification systems, advanced mobile verification and biometric systems.
If you use Proximity or Contactless Smart Cards to secure your Government facility, you may find a new product from ColorID very useful. The PlusID can improve security for highly sensitive areas by adding fingerprint authentication to your Prox credential. The innovative design of this product puts the fingerprint reader on the personal device that the employee carries with them. These are some of the benefits of the PlusID:
One of the biggest differences between printing on blank PVC (Mag Stripe) card stock and proximity cards is the cost difference of the cards. Blank card stock may cost less than a dollar per card while Proximity cards average $3 - $8 (depending on options). Mistakes in the printing of Proximity cards can create significant financial losses. In order to protect your investment here are a couple important points you may consider.
Using Proper Proximity Printing Technology
Problem: Most blank card stock is constructed with an even flat surface, however Proximity cards contain an antenna and chip inside each card. Most dye sublimation printers are direct to card printers. The deviation in the Proximity cards surface (from its internal contents) causes the printhead to lose contact with the cards surface. The result may be a loss of printed information. Some ID offices have accepted the end result with direct-to-card printing. However, improved technology is now available to dramatically improve the quality of your Proximity cards.
Solution: Fargo offers an HDP (High Definition Printer) series ID printer specifically designed for printing on Proximity and Smart Cards. The HDP's printhead never touches the cards surface like a direct-to-card printer. The HDP prints onto a Ã¢â‚¬Ëœtransfer film' first and is then transferred to the cards surface and adhered by pressure and heat. If the cards surface is uneven, the film will cover all its deviations. In addition, the print quality is amazing when compared to a direct-to-card printer. Since the printer ribbon is not being fused into the card, its colors are more vibrant, clear and to the edge of each card. In addition, you can help protect your Proximity cards by adding the standard clear or holographic overlaminate to your cards surface. This will minimize fading and seal the card from the elements. The printer cost is only slightly higher than some direct-to-card printers. The decreased number of misprinted cards and better print quality will help pay for itself in the long run. For those needing a better print quality with vibrant colors, we would suggest a High Definition Printer.
Extended Card Life: How to Protect Your Investment
Problem: Proximity cards that are not properly protected may last only 12 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ 18 months before experiencing issues such as cracking, loss or fading of variably printed information, etc.
When was the last time your ID card printer had a thorough cleaning or tune up???
Much like other mechanical devices, regular routine maintenance is critical to keep your ID printer in top shape and to help extend its life cycle. Plastic card printers have moving internal parts that if not maintained and cleaned on a regular basis can become inoperable, causing print issues and ultimately shorten the life of a printer. Proper routine care and maintenance will prolong the life of your ID printer and insure quality printing with each card.
Here are some cleaning tips:
Please contact our Government and Industry Marketing team to receive a price quotation for cleaning supplies or to schedule an annual tune-up. We can also provide you with quotations on any of your ID printer needs: lanyards, card holders, printer ribbons, cardstock, HID cardstock, and much more.
Printing an ID card is a very familiar and straightforward process for most university card offices. Enter some data from the campus database, capture a photo, then hit Print. The Windows printing functions on the computer process all the data from the card design and send it to the ID printer. This includes data to be written to a magnetic (mag) stripe or printed as a bar code on the card. Mag encoders are a standard addition to most university ID printers, and bar codes are printed on cards with no additional printer hardware.
As soon as a contactless, prox, or contact smart card chip is added to an ID card, the workflow changes. The data read from the chip or written to the chip is not handled by the Windows printing function as in the process described above. This additional data stream has to be handled by the ID software program using the appropriate reader in the printer. The common terminology for these chip read/write devices is a bit ambiguous, since they are referred to as "readers," "writers," "encoders," and other similarly confusing names, given that some only read, some only write, and others do both. To simplify, I will use the term "reader" for these devices for the rest of the article. Be aware that it is easy to order a printer with the correct reader for your card only to find that it is not supported by your ID software. The compatibility of the card chip, reader, and ID software is crucial to successfully reading or writing data to and from a card with a chip in the printer.
Contactless (high frequency - iCLASS, MIFARE, etc.) and prox cards share a similar process for issuance, since they are usually pre-programmed by the manufacturer with an ID number in the chip to be used for physical access. The simplest and most common method is to print the card, including encoding the mag stripe, then enroll the card in the physical access system separately. This can be done at the card office or the security office. The cardholder's record is pulled up and the number from the chip is read from the printed number on the card and then typed into the cardholder's record. A simpler, less error-prone method is to tap the card on a USB desktop reader, which automatically populates a field in the record with that cards number.
A fully automated process would look like this: The card is printed and the chip number is captured by the reader in the printer. The number is passed to the database and verified before the card leaves the printer, at which time it is ready to be handed to the cardholder. In this system, the printer and the ID software must be compatible and this is usually accomplished by the manufacturers. Fargo printers with readers in them are supported by Fargo software, Datacard by Datacard, etc. There are some other ID software manufacturers with newer products that claim to be compatible with a variety of printers, but it is always a good idea to test before purchasing. The ID software used by some of the large integration vendors requires additional components to enable writing to their databases from readers in printers. Depending on how the software is written, this reading process can add additional time to the printing of each card.
There has been some interest in writing data to contactless cards in the printer. Writing data to be used for physical access is often not an option due to some manufacturer's security policies for their cards and readers. Data for other applications can be written to the non-physical access areas of the chip memories, but again, this requires support by the ID software.
Contact smart cards are beginning to make a re-appearance on campuses. These cards have a gold rectangle visible on the face of the card which is the actual contact interface for the chip. They are usually distributed in smaller quantities for special high security areas around campus, such as research labs, and are used for logical access - logging onto PCs and networks - in these areas. Contact smart cards can also contain contactless or prox chips, so they would require the same issuance workflow as contactless campus IDs. Programming the contact chips in these cards is possible in the printer, but it is usually done by IT personnel in the department that uses them.
Cards with chips in them almost invariably have some surface irregularities around the chip, caused by temperature variations during the manufacturing process. Printing on these cards can present challenges to a direct-to-card printer as the printhead moves across the surface of the card in a straight line. The best printing results are obtained by reverse-transfer printers, which print on a clear film that is fused to the entire surface of the card. Most ID printers, direct-to-card and reverse-transfer, can be configured to print on contact smart cards. Overlaminate is available with a cutout for the contact chip.
Contactless and contact smart cards can provide upgrades in security and utility for many systems around campus. They can also add another layer of complexity to the card issuance process. Be sure to discuss design and testing options with an experienced provider before you buy, to acquire the system that fulfills your expectations.
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