Posts Tagged ‘zebra printing’

Zebra Introduces Enhanced ZXP Series 3 ID Card Printer!

Monday, July 29th, 2013

Enhanced Zebra ZXP Series 3 ID Card Printer

Advantidge is excited to introduce the enhanced version of Zebra’s ZXP Series 3 ID card printer. Zebra’s enhanced ZXP Series 3 is fast, reliable, easy to use and everything you could want in a professional ID card printer.

The enhanced ZXP Series 3 is ideal for mid-volume ID card printing applications requiring excellent print quality with minimal operator training. Zebra ZXP Series 3 ID card printers provide advanced features, high print speeds and high capacity media options for excellent, secure ID card printing!

Enhanced ZXP Series 3 Features:

  • Easy-to-use ID card feeder accepts multiple ID card sizes, from 10-40mm
  • Integrated output hopper & single card feed
  • LCD display with operating prompts
  • True Colours® ix Series™ ZXP 3 high performance ribbons with intelligent media technology
  • High capacity, Eco-Friendly Load-N-Go™ dropin ribbon cartridges
  • PrintTouch works with NFC enabled devices to provide support & diagnostic information.
  • ZRaster™ host-based image processing
  • Secure lock slot

The enhanced ZXP Series 3 ID card printer is designed to work only with Zebra True Colours ix Series ZXP 3 high-performance, high-capacity Zebra ID card printer ribbons. Zebra ix Series intelligent technology automatically detects and authenticates ribbons and an integrated cleaning roller is included on each ribbon.

Contact us today at [email protected] or call 800-965-5932 to order the enhanced & updated Zebra ZXP Series 3 ID card printer for your organization’s professional ID card system! We provide excellent customer service.

Zebra Introduces New ZXP Series 1 ID Card Printer!

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

Zebra ZXP Series 1 ID card printerAdvantidge is excited to present the new Zebra ZXP Series 1 ID card printer, ideal for low-volume, single-sided color or monochrome ID card printing applications, offering a complete ID card printing solution with minimal upfront investment.

The ENERGY STAR™ certification and eco-friendly print ribbon cartridges of the Zebra ZXP Series 1 make it the best entry-level ID card printer on the market!

Ideal For:

Printer Features:

  • Eco-Friendly Load-N-Go™ drop-in ribbon cartridges
  • ZRaster™ host-based image processing
  • Auto calibration of ribbon
  • Integrated output hopper & single card feed
  • PrintTouch works with NFC enabled devices to provide support & diagnostic information
  • Easy to use card feeder accepts multiple card sizes, from 10-40 mm
  • Quick replace Load-N-Go ribbon cartridge
  • LCD display with operating prompts

Contact us today at [email protected] or call us at 800-965-5932 to learn how you can purchase the new Zebra ZXP Series 1 ID card printer for your ID card system. We provide excellent customer service!

Smart ID Cards For Education

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

Contactless ID Card with Gen 2
From universities to primary schools, a revolution in technology is taking shape. Twenty-first-century innovation is bringing automation and improved security to school campuses world wide with school security systems. With education costs skyrocketing, departments at all levels are looking for ways to do more with less, trimming expenses while maximizing staff productivity. Add the looming threats to campus security, and educators must make decisions that balance quality of education with protecting the safety of their students and staff. The 2011 Campus Safety magazine’s “How Safe Is Your Campus?” report revealed that 52 percent of faculty said their institutions fail to dedicate sufficient resources to campus safety and security.

The same technology that corporations use for access control system: secure smart ID cards, can be used to improve school campus security as well. Embedded with “smart” features such as radio frequency identification (RFID) and tamper-resistant overlaminates, education campuses can realize a wide range of benefits, from tightening security, to streamlining admissions, to improving paid services with these types of ID card technologies.

Education is Ready For The Smart Card Revolution

Educators at all levels are seeking ways to leverage current technology to improve the quality of learning, simplify administrative tasks and protect students. However, leaner budgets, growing numbers of students and rising costs per student mean that schools must improve efficiency. Answering this challenge demands innovative solutions that will automate facility and class access, improve campus security and streamline campus services such as meal and library programs.

In many ways, schools have been slow to adopt technologies commonly used in the private business sector to streamline their operations. Student admission is still a manual, time-consuming process at the majority of primary education school campuses. Institutions of higher education campuses have adopted online admissions and class registration, but students still must stop by a main office in person and stand in line to pick up their student identification cards. Inefficiencies resulting from manual processes extend beyond the first week of school as student tardiness is an ongoing issue. Often students must stop by an office to pick up a handwritten tardy slip, wasting time better spent doing class activities. Many school districts depend on attendance numbers to maintain their funding levels and lower student attendance means fewer school budget dollars, but advances in smart ID card technologies and the surrounding infrastructure offer educational institutions the optimal solution for streamlining school administrative tasks.

Smart Access Cards What They Are, How They Work

The Intelligence of Embedded RFID

The term “smart access cards” in education, business and government applications encompasses a wide range of technologies. The common feature of most contactless, proximity card based solutions relies on embedded high-frequency (HF) RFID technology. Most contact type ID cards use magnetic stripe technology, which in this context requires students to manually swipe their ID cards through an ID card reader, slowing down student access and creating bottlenecks in the flow of people entering and exiting. Magnetic stripe cards are also a less reliable ID card technology as they can be easily de-magnetized.

Education access ID card applications can benefit from UHF Gen 2 RFID’s ID card long-read range and fast identification capabilities. Schools can eliminate single-file, one-at-a-time ID card reads. Using Gen 2 RFID ID cards and card readers, groups of students can move through large, open entry and exit points, rather than having to pass through narrow doorways, gates or turnstiles single file. While conditions change in the business world, education facilities need solutions that can stand the test of time, future-proofed to last a student’s campus tenure. Made from durable materials such as polyester and PVC, secure ID cards can last the entire term of a student’s education, saving the institution and students the recurring costs of annual ID card replacement.

Security Efficiency and Cost Reduction

Just imagine: one ID card for everything! Smart cards can serve as the foundation for a wide range of ID card security applications, providing opportunities to streamline security and administrative tasks across an entire campus. The process starts during student admission or when faculty/staff receive their new hire orientation. It is here that the school issues a durable, smart ID card embedded with RFID technology. Once an education district implements smart ID cards, the technology serves as the ideal foundation for ongoing benefits, campus wide.

Tighten Physical Security and Facility Access

Student, Staff and Visitor Management

Security is more than just ensuring that visitors casually check in at an office. Protecting the safety of students and staff has become increasingly important. Other than hire enough security guards to police every facility and access point, what can education departments do to improve security today? Throughout the nation, many colleges and universities use visitor management systems to improve security and protect students against unauthorized visitors and people posing as students. While visitor management may seem like an issue only for K-12 facilities, college campuses are an open environment, making it difficult to monitor activity. School security departments must know who is on a campus at all times. The first step to doing this is to strictly enforce visitor sign-in and issue the visitor a temporary RFID-enabled ID smart card with track-and-trace technology capabilities. Upon sign-in, school visitor software can also determine if a visitor is wanted by law enforcement or if the person in question is registered in the sex offender database.

Access Control for Secure Buildings or Rooms

RFID enabled smart cards present the optimal solution not only for visitor management, but for access control for all people campus wide. Issuing a smart ID card to all faculty, students, staff and visitors allows security departments to control who has access to what, where and when. Campuses can improve dormitory safety, secure labs with high-value equipment and ensure research departments performing specialized projects only provide access to those with authorized credentials.

Optimally, schools can integrate their enterprise resource planning (ERP) system with their ID card system, and in doing so, provide a single point of management for allowing or denying physical access to students attending classes in different buildings.

Time and Attendance Tracking

For many school districts, tracking the amount of time students spend in class is vital for planning and funding. To improve security and increase attendance rates, the Spring school district in Houston, Texas has distributed RFID enabled ID badges to 13,500 of its 36,000 students since December 2008. The technology replaces the manual attendance tracking that faculty previously had to perform for each class session and for each student. With RFID-enabled plastic ID card personalization and integration of digital ID camera photo identification solutions, schools can move from a handwritten to an automated approach. Smart access ID card solutions deliver a new level of accountability and enforcement that can help reduce the number of tardies. This wise investment of the school budget directly gives students more in-class time, while saving administrative time and money.

Streamline Library Access and Inventory Management

Campus libraries, printers and copy rooms should remain exclusive to students. With RFID ID card readers at the door, students entering a library or copy room can use their student ID card to gain access to the facility. Students can then check out books automatically, with all information recorded and loaded into the student database, eliminating the need for library checkout cards while also providing real-time information on the status of overdue books. Schools can use this information to lock students out of privileges until they return the books or deduct the book cost from the student’s debit fund.

Expand Paid Services

Electronic Payment for Food, Beverages and Bookstores

While on campus, students not only fill their minds, but also their stomachs. Students can load their multi-use ID cards with meal credits, allowing the use of ID cards like a debit card, at vending machines and in dining halls. ID cards can include a pre-paid spending account that students can use to make purchases at student stores and food service locations, as well as at school events. Parents and students can access accounts online to view transactions, add funds and establish automatic allowances. The benefits extend well beyond food and beverage purchases. Students can also use their smart ID cards to purchase books, pay for temporary parking on campus and resolve parking citations.

Expand Off-Campus Affiliate Programs

The large student populations at universities and college campuses fill the surrounding community with a captive consumer audience. Smart ID cards bring the campus and community together to generate value-added opportunities for local stores, restaurants and service providers when students use their school ID cards as retail and restaurant loyalty cards. Students can use their ID cards on or off campus and accrue credits and incentives for further purchases. Affiliate programs can also extend outside the local community into large franchises. When coupled with customer relationship management (CRM) databases, smart card purchases can provide valuable data for marketing metrics, enhancing affiliate programs even further.

Smart Card Printing Technologies

All the access card technologies described in this paper, including barcode, RFID, magnetic stripe, smart card, graphics and photo security features, can be printed on demand, wherever and whenever. Switching from pre-printed access cards, temporary ID cards and passes to on-demand ID card printing systems provides an immediate benefit by removing the worries related to managing and securing costly materials.

A barcode is the most widely used data storage format for security printing applications, and RFID is the fastest growing one. Common linear barcodes easily meet most needs for encoding visitor and employee ID cards. Two-dimensional (2-D) barcodes can encode significantly more text than linear codes and store digitized photos, graphics, fingerprint files and other biometric data. Smart card RFID ID card printing solutions provide multiple encoding and security technologies, including ID card holograms and magnetic stripes.

ID Card Printers

Digital plastic ID card printers offer the ability to create custom ID cards tailored to any application, at the point of issuance. System administrators can invalidate lost or stolen cards and issue replacements immediately. Unlike traditional ID card systems that lacked customization and which required time consuming photo processing, cutting and laminating, today’s digital print-on-demand (POD) ID card systems enable completely automated production of highly customized, secure ID cards. A wide variety of ID card printers exist to meet user needs, including high-duty cycle models for applications that require the printing of thousands of ID cards annually, such as at large universities and institutions.

Digitally printed plastic ID cards provide numerous technological features but start with a blank plastic ID card customizable with any combination of artwork, graphics, text, digital photographs, barcodes, logos and more. The ID card printer can encode additional machine readable information such as magnetic stripes and smart card chips. The image quality of plastic photo ID cards produced with digital ID card printing technology is far superior and tamper resistant compared to those produced through the traditional method of trimming printed photos and laminating them onto the ID card. Different ID card materials and overlaminates provide additional protection from tampering.

Magnetic stripe ID cards carry more data than standard barcodes but require media that costs more. Card issuers can stock blank magnetic stripe ID cards and encode them on demand as needed. RFID enabled smart cards can hold the most data of any medium, up to 100 times more than a magnetic stripe ID card, and often include a processor chip that enables multiple applications. Multifunction smart ID cards offer several easy and cost effective ways for campuses to raise the level of protection and quality of education. Today’s smart access ID card technologies provide superior range and read performance, enabling educational institutions to improve efficiency and security at multiple levels.

Print-on-demand ID card printers can create secure staff and student ID cards so campuses can maintain a safe learning environment. With ID cards ranging from basic functionality to smart cards, schools can streamline records management, simplify class registration and attendance, and control access to secure areas. Fast throughput of student ID cards allows on-demand, in-house ID card printing to serve students faster and as needed. With smart ID cards and POD solutions, parents and faculty alike can gain peace of mind knowing that their students and campuses are protected. Educators can now do more with less, while creating new opportunities to enhance the educational experience.

A global leader respected for innovation and reliability, Zebra offers technologies that illuminate organizations’ operational events involving their assets, people and transactions, allowing them to see opportunities to create new value.

Zebra’s extensive portfolio of marking and printing technologies, including barcode, RFID, GPS and sensoring, turns the physical into the digital to give operational events a virtual voice, enabling organizations to know in real time the location, condition, timing and accuracy of events occurring throughout their value chain. Once events are seen, organizations can create new value from what is already there. See our selection of Zebra ID card printers.

Email Advantidge today at [email protected] or call 800-965-5932 to learn how you can create a school security ID card system. We provide excellent customer service!

Smart ID Cards For Education – Zebra PDF

Achieve Your Federal ID Card Credentialing Goals

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

Federal ID Card Credentialing

Identity management and verification depend on trusted ID card printing technologies and U.S. federal, state and local governments and private enterprises alike are seeking ways to improve security, not just for facility access, but also for single sign-on into cyberspace.

Non-federal issuers of identity cards also demand cost-effective, compliant methods to produce ID cards that interoperate with federal government Personal Identity Verification (PIV) and PIV-Interoperable (PIV-I) systems. Beyond government applications, the private sector also stands to gain from secure ID card credentialing standards and technologies. The PIV-I government ID card is a non-federally issued ID credential designed for use by state and regional employees, including first responders.

The PIV-I ID card meets all FIPS 201 standards and is recognized and trusted by the federal government. PIV-I ID cards can provide states, local jurisdictions and enterprises a single, interoperable, secure credential usable across multiple application areas. The result is a more secure infrastructure, and better services for employees, contractors, businesses and consumers. This white paper provides an overview of FIPS 201 compliant smart ID cards and shows the significant benefits this technology enables. The paper also shows how to produce PIV-I compliant access ID cards that contain tamper-resistant coatings, radio frequency identification (RFID) and other features using the latest ID card printing technologies.

Introduction: Credentialing Has Strict Requirements

Today’s threat-filled world calls for new methods to enhance security, increase efficiency, reduce identity fraud in the production of fake ID cards , and protect personal privacy. Finding a method to ensure the right person accesses only the information and facilities he or she is authorized to remains a top priority for both government and private industries. Whether it is protecting a cloud data center or single sign-on through the Web, enterprises require secure ID card credentialing standards and a trusted, repeatable implementation framework.

On August 27, 2004, the U.S. government issued Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12 (HSPD-12) calling for identification standards for government employees and contractors. Since then, The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) created the Federal Information Processing Standard Publication 201 (FIPS 201) for secure and reliable forms of identification. The FIPS 201 requirements for physical and logical access for federal employees and contractors are defined by the federally issued PIV I and PIV II standards. Note that PIV-I refers to PIV-Interoperable, whereas PVI I and II refer to the actual background check, software and hardware requirements.

Created initially in response to terrorist threats, HSPD-12 directs the use of a common identification credential for both logical and physical access to federal controlled facilities and information systems. HSPD-12 requires that the federal credential be secure and reliable. In support of HSPD-12, the FIPS 201 standard includes two stringent requirements: PIV I and PIV II. The PIV I requirements define the control objectives and security requirements described in FIPS 201, including the standard background investigation required for all federal employees and long-term contractors. The standards in PIV II define the technical interoperability requirements described in FIPS 201. PIV II specifies the hardware implementation standards for implementing the identity credentials. This directly affects all smart cards designed for use in federal applications. FIPS 201 requires agencies to:

• “Establish roles to facilitate identity proofing, information capture and storage, and card issuance and maintenance.”
• “Develop and implement a physical security and information security infrastructure to support these new credentials.”
• “Establish processes to support the implementation of a PIV program.”

Deployment of PIV is rapidly gaining momentum. In fact, the U.S. government has issued over 5 million FIPS 201 standard PIV cards to federal employees and contractors since 2005 in a wide range of trusted identity applications.

Smart Cards and PIV: What You Need To Consider

Most of today’s identification and badging ID card systems depend on magnetic stripes, barcodes, or simple photographs. Newer, contactless identification ID badges integrate UHf radio frequency identification (RFID) technologies. While these approaches can associate the ID badge to the access point, they cannot verify that the right person is in possession of the ID card in the first place. In most cases, these technologies cannot fulfill the requirement of delivering strong security while still guarding personal privacy. Traditional ID badges are tamper prone, can be counterfeited easily and provide insufficient protection for the ID card’s stored data.

When used in a properly implemented system, smart card ID cards enable all the security features required to enhance privacy protection. Smart cards contain an embedded chip providing built-in tamper resistance along with memory to securely store data, execute logical functions and interface with a smart card reader using barcodes, magnetic stripes, or contactless RFID technology. The result is an identity management system with strong information, privacy protection and ID security. In addition, the smart card’s embedded microprocessor enables encryption, decryption and biometric matching for authenticating information access. When organizations choose smart cards, they can significantly expand privacy protection while verifying personal identity.

Multi-factor Authentication

PIV-compliant smart cards provide secure, multi-factor authentication at a high level of assurance. They combine a cryptographic private authentication with a personal identification number, fingerprint biometric template and tamper-proof digital ID camera photograph. The security department issues the credentials after running a detailed background check on a person. When used with biometric technology, smart cards provide very high levels of assurance for confirming a person’s identity. Once the security department programs the smart card and associates it to the user, it provides a trusted identity usable for a wide range of cyber-based and physical access transactions.

Agencies and businesses planning to move to the PIV (or PIV-I Interoperable) standard should carefully consider each aspect of their infrastructure and security processes, from the smart card itself, to the ID card reader, to the security database. They also need to understand the PIV-I data model.

PIV-I Logical Data Model Requirements

FIPS 201 section 4.1.5.1 details the PIV-I card logical data model definitions. To support a variety of authentication mechanisms, PIV-I card logical credentials contain multiple data elements for verifying the cardholder’s identity at graduated assurance levels and are mandatory. These include:

• Card Capability Container
• Cardholder Unique Identifier (CHUID)
• Logical authentication key that consists of one asymmetric key pair and a corresponding certificate
• Card authentication key that consists of one asymmetric key pair and corresponding certificate
• Two biometric fingerprints
• Facial image buffer
• Security object

In addition, the logical data model defines several optional elements that are extensible to meet application or organization-specific requirements. The optional elements include:

• Printed information buffer
• Discovery object
• Key history object
• Retired key management keys
• Digital signature key
• Key management key
• Symmetric key associated with the card management system

Once an organization deploys PIV-enabled smart cards, they can begin to realize the significant benefits the technology delivers, and this is in addition to simply meeting government or industry mandated compliance initiatives.

Trusted Identity Enables Benefits Industry-Wide

The standards and best practices within FIPS 201 set the foundation for a wide range of applications for both industry and government. In fact, FIPS 201 leverages existing ANSI, ISO, IETF and other highly proliferated standards that are critical to thousands of applications. As a result, most operating systems, mobile and enterprise applications, services and physical access control systems automatically support PIV-I credentials.

Controlling Access to Facilities

Agencies from law enforcement, to emergency response, to federal entities can all benefit from FIPS 201. Secure access to facilities and cyber resources allows interoperability across multiple jurisdictions, strong proof of cardholder identity and the ability to authenticate identity and attributes electronically. Adoption of FIPS 201 means that agencies only require the issuance of one ID card, instead of multiple IDs. Doing so helps reduce redundant security credentialing efforts and expenditures, and increases security policy effectiveness.

In the private sector, PIV-I enabled smart cards allow businesses to improve security at places of employment using employee ID cards to restrict access to sensitive areas and reduce incidences of theft. Most losses do not occur from overt break-ins or elaborate employee fraud schemes, but from simple crimes of opportunity. Ensuring that only the right people have access to facilities, equipment and supplies can prevent a significant amount of unauthorized activity.

Securing Cyberspace

With information security a top priority in both the public and private sector, FIPS 201 provides a trusted way for Web users to access information and purchase products and services online. Recently, the General Services Administration (GSA) implemented a co-op purchasing program for state and local governments. With FIPS 201 compliance in place, government workers can use their PIV-enabled government employee ID smart cards to acquire products through the online GSA portal securely and cost-effectively.

Strong credentialing also protects against identity theft, reducing incidents of fraudulent benefit, entitlement, or service payments to individuals who misrepresent themselves. Financial institutions can ensure that their employees and customers are only accessing authorized information, while meeting compliance mandates. Government agencies and private enterprises can use FIPS 201 credentialing to enable secure collaboration and information sharing between organizations including email, intellectual property and personal information stored in human resources databases. Additionally, organizations can reduce physical paperwork and streamline processes by using digital signature capture technologies that authenticate each user.

Printing SolutionS for FIPS 201 Compliant Smart Cards

Achieving FIPS 201 compliance requires that all processes and infrastructure align with requirements, which includes smart card printing technology. All smart card technologies described in this paper including barcode, RFID contactless smart card, magnetic stripe, graphic and photo security features can be printed on demand at the user’s own facility, wherever and whenever. However, not all ID card printers are FIPS 201 compliant. The GSA operates independent testing procedures to validate and approve products that comply with FIPS 201 and publishes the results as a publicly accessible Approved Products List (APL).

Smart Card Printers: Why They Are Critical

Digital-quality plastic ID card printers offer the ability to create custom ID cards tailored to the application, at the point of issuance. System administrators can invalidate lost or stolen cards and issue replacements immediately. Unlike traditional ID card systems that lacked customization or required time consuming photo processing, cutting and laminating, today’s digital print-on-demand (pod) ID card systems enable completely automated production of highly customized, secure ID cards. A wide variety of ID card printers exist to meet user needs, including high duty cycle models for applications that require thousands of ID cards annually.

Digitally printed smart cards provide numerous technological features, but start with a blank plastic ID card customizable with any combination of artwork, graphics, text, digital photographs, barcodes, logos and more. The ID card printer can encode additional machine readable information, such as magnetic stripes, RFID and smart card chips. The image quality of plastic photo ID cards produced with digital ID card printing technology is far superior and tamper-resistant compared to those produced through the traditional method of trimming printed photos and laminating them onto the ID card. Different ID card materials and laminates provide additional protection from tampering.

FIPS 201 compliant security class ID card printers from Zebra allow agencies to print highly secure and durable ID cards. Designed for both the private and public sector, the FIPS 201 compliant Zebra ZXP Series 8 laminating retransfer ID card printer delivers high throughput and print speed. On-demand printing of vivid color plastic ID cards helps increase operational efficiency without sacrificing image quality for a wide range of applications including:

• Employee ID and access control cards
• Government-issued driver licensing
• High-security ID and access control cards
• Instant-issuance bank cards
• National ID and voter registration cards

Also approved as FIPS 201 compliant, the Zebra p640i ID card printer supports dual-sided lamination and a wide range of tamper-resistant features for the highest-security applications including:

• Government-issued driver licensing
• High-security access control and ID cards
• Government employee ID cards
• Secure airport ID cards
• Law enforcement/correctional facility ID cards
• National ID and voter registration cards

Interoperable trusted credentials are a cornerstone of security, both physical and cyber. Meeting the PIV-Interoperable, PIV I, and PIV II requirements as detailed in FIPS 201 moves agencies and organizations beyond simple access control into the sphere of trusted identity. With these ID card systems only the right person has access to the right facilities and information at the right time. Trusted identity establishes the identity of the cardholder, and only PIV-enabled smart cards can meet this standard.

Adopting PIV-enabled smart cards means that organizations can streamline their infrastructure while protecting information and personal identity. Private and public sector enterprises can meet the requirements for collaborating with federal government and relying parties. Secure, print-on-demand Zebra ID card systems enable completely automated production of highly customized, secure smart cards. Now, enterprises seeking to implement trusted identity applications can rest assured that each part of their infrastructure, including their ID card printers, meets the most stringent requirements of FIPS 201.

A global leader respected for innovation and reliability, Zebra offers technologies that illuminate organizations’ operational events involving their assets, people and transactions, allowing them to see opportunities to create new value. Zebra’s extensive portfolio of marking and printing technologies, including barcode, RFID, GPS and sensoring, turns the physical into the digital to give operational events a virtual voice. This enables organizations to know in real-time the location, condition, timing and accuracy of the events occurring throughout their value chain.

Email Advantidge today at [email protected] or call 800-965-5932 to improve security at your facility with a personalized ID card system. We provide excellent customer service!

Achieve Your Federal ID Card Credentialing Goals – Zebra PDF

Contactless ID Card Read Range Extended with Gen 2

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

Contactless ID Card with Gen 2
Contactless ID cards, tags and key fobs make life easier for millions of people by providing a fast and convenient way to open locked doors, enable cashless payments and eliminate the need to scrounge for tickets or exact change for public transit fares.

Traditional contactless ID card technology is very reliable and effective but is limited in use, because of the actual read range of the radio frequency (RF) signal, but as the RF read range of ID cards increases, so does the potential for applicability in various scenarios. Radio frequency identification (RFID) cards do not need to be within a few inches of an ID card reader in order to work, as is the case in most cashless payment and access control applications. With Gen 2 ultra-high frequency (UHF) RFID technology ID cards are securely readable from up to 50 feet away. Only recently it has become convenient and practical for organizations to print and encode long-range ID cards in house.

Gen 2 and other UHF technologies remove many of the limitations traditionally associated with contactless ID cards. This white paper explains how organizations can take advantage of the range, speed, security, and memory of Gen 2 RFID cards to create effective ID card systems for employee and customer identification, security, asset management, and customer service.

Gen 2 UHF Technology

Gen 2 technology while not widely used for personal identification, is the technology behind some of the largest, highest profile and most secure ID card printing programs in the world such as the United States Passport Card program, which uses Gen 2 RFID to increase speed, efficiency and security at U.S. land and sea border crossings, and also in potentially millions more state-issued driver’s licenses. Gen 2 contains all the elements for successful ID card technology; it is secure, standardized, supports high throughput and is widely supported. Some of the largest companies and public sector organizations in the world use Gen 2 RFID systems for mission-critical operations. Applications for personal identification continue to grow rapidly for two main reasons: organizations now have convenient options for producing and issuing Gen 2-based ID cards and many people now realize they have a choice of RFID ID card technologies and understand Gen 2 capabilities.

EPCglobal developed the Gen 2 standard so users could accurately identify multiple items simultaneously at distances not possible with legacy RFID technology. EPCglobal submitted the technology to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), which ratified Gen 2 as an international standard for use world wide. Gen 2’s range and fast identification capabilities bring significant benefits to ID card applications and eliminate the need for single-file, one-at-a-time ID card swiping. Groups of people can move through large, open entry and exit points, rather than having to pass through narrow doorways, gates or turnstiles.

Frequency

The Gen 2 standard specification supports RF transmission in the UHF frequency band between 860 and 960 MHz. While Gen 2 technology affords worldwide uses, the entire frequency range is not available in every country because of different national telecommunications regulations. In North America, Gen 2 systems typically operate between 902 and 928 MHz. European systems operate between 865 and 867 MHz, and Asia tends to use the higher end near 960 MHz. Frequency is an important variable to how RFID systems perform, affecting system range, transaction speed, and also immunity to RF interference caused by the physical environment.

Range

The most obvious and dramatic difference between Gen 2 and traditional contactless ID card technologies is range. Gen 2 ID card readers can identify standard, low-cost ID cards without batteries from about 50 feet away (actual range depends on the installation location and other variables). Range for 13.56 MHz technology is limited to a few inches. The range of any RFID technology depends on the frequency and the amount of ID card reader power that the tag receives. Gen 2 users can adjust the range of their systems by adjusting the power output and by using different antennas, which allow optimizations for range, sensitivity, directionality, and other factors.

The same Gen 2 ID card may be readable from more than 50 feet away in one area but only from near contact in another. The ability to set range gives system designers tremendous flexibility. For example one ID card could provide employee access both to a company parking area and the building. In this case, a long read range would be desirable for the parking area so the gate could open as the employee vehicle approaches, but to prevent unauthorized persons that might enter just ahead of or behind the cardholder, ID cards would not unlock any further secure areas beyond the parking area from long distance reads. Variable read range technology lets facility operators personalize ID card systems for the proper blend of security, range and convenience.

Security

Security provisions in the Gen 2 standard include multiple levels of data protection and device authentication to prevent unauthorized card reads. Several additional optional security features can be activated during the system setup. For example, Each Gen 2 chip contains a unique, preprogrammed static ID number. Users can temporarily or permanently encode additional data in the chip memory and apply different levels of security to various memory blocks. The “permalock” feature locks data into Gen 2 chip memory to prevent unauthorized users from overwriting it. Another option is 32-bit password protection that enables chips to be read or rewritten. Password protection can be applied to all or part of chip memory. Gen 2 chips can also be set only to communicate to authorized known ID card readers, a valuable authentication feature that helps prevent hacks and skimming of secure ID card information. Many common IT and network security protocols can also be applied to networked Gen 2 ID card readers and ID card printer/encoders.

Support

Gen 2 has received strong support from users and technology developers because it meets the need for long-range, secure high-speed identification, with reliability and cost effectiveness better than alternative technologies and protocols. Most of the billions of Gen 2 RFID tags deployed have been for applications that identify assets and products, not people, but Gen 2 ID card systems are growing in use in Gen 2 enabled ID cards and documents. The U.S. government validated the effectiveness and security of Gen 2 for personal identification systems by selecting it as the technology to be used for Passport Cards, enabling fast and efficient land and sea border crossings for U.S. citizens who frequently travel to Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean and Bermuda.

In this scenario, as travelers approach a border control officer a Gen 2 ID card reader accesses a serial number on the Passport Card from several feet away, prompting a secure database lookup. By the time the traveler reaches the checkpoint the computer screen displays the traveler’s photo and pertinent information, allowing the officer to quickly verify the traveler for entry into the U.S. Prior to the Passport Card program, Gen 2 identification proved effective for border crossing and security as part of the FAST, SENTRY and NEXUS programs for commercial truck drivers.

After the U.S. Federal Government chose to use Gen 2 for their Passport Card program, four U.S. states quickly adopted the technology as well. Arizona, New York, Washington and Vermont now use Gen 2 technology for their enhanced driver’s license (EDL) programs. The Passport Card and state initiatives place Gen 2 based ID card programs into the hands of millions of U.S. citizens and today, Gen 2 technology is inside every U.S. passport ID card as well as every U.S. Green Card.

Uses For Gen 2 ID Cards

With better read range, speed and memory, Gen 2 ID cards are especially beneficial for organizations that would like to:

• Relieve congestion or enable identification where it is impractical to install a short-range ID card reader
• Conveniently support a second form of identity validation, such as biometric and facial recognition
• Provide high throughput entry/exit for convenience and crowd control
• Automatically monitor specific zones and areas
• Associate people with assets
• Combine long-range identification with other shorter-range applications, such as cashless payment or access control
• Identify customers for loyalty and VIP programs to enhance service and customer experience
• Link personal experience with emerging social media platforms, automate “Check-Ins” and virtual “likes”

Long-range ID card reads can relieve crowd congestion by identifying, validating and counting multiple persons simultaneously, making it possible to use larger exits and entryways for facilities. Extended read range is also beneficial when an ID card reader does not afford easy installation at the desired read location. Sometimes it is advantageous to identify a person before he or she reaches a specific point, such as in the U.S. Passport Card program where by the time a Passport Card holder reaches the front of the line, the border control officer’s computer screen already displays their picture and information. This happens as a result of the UHF ID card read that took place several feet prior. In addition to the card data, the ID card photo provides an additional form of identification for the officer to validate the person when checking their credentials.

Gen 2 ID card readers are commonly used in monitoring zones for security and asset management applications. Whenever a tagged item enters or leaves a specific zone, the tracking system records the action and can issue alerts if asset movements are suspicious or fall outside of set guidelines.

Security

Gen 2 ID cards used today for securing U.S. borders can easily be adapted for use within the private sector. Businesses can use long read range contactless ID cards along with biometrics, video surveillance and other security technologies to create a layered high security access control system for their facilities, employees and goods.

In standard contactless access control systems, an RFID reader looks up the unique identification number of an ID card, triggering a database search that determines a cardholder’s access status. Higher security systems transcend basic ID card authorization by retrieving a photo record of the authorized cardholder as in the U.S. Passport Card program. Sophisticated security systems can also direct a digital ID camera to capture an image of persons entering a facilities for identification by biometric technologies such as facial recognition software. Gen 2 allows ID card programing to specify personalized levels of access control so that for example, an employee may have 24-hour access to a building, but will be restricted from entering certain non-authorized areas during all normal working hours. Increased ID card read range provides benefits even when added security is not needed. For many facilities, increased ID card read range simply provides increased convenience. With Gen 2, the system can identify employees as they approach a door so it unlocks just as they arrive, resulting in faster access that surpasses the speed of a system requiring the presentation of ID cards one at a time to a wall-mounted ID card reader.

Long-Range Identification

Area identification coverage can save valuable time and lives during emergencies. RFID is widely used in tracking workers in dangerous environments, though often these monitoring systems use battery powered active RFID tags, which can cost $100 a piece and so being deployed in only select high-risk environments. With the development of standardized Gen 2 technology wireless area monitoring has extended to many additional environments as the ID card readers and ID cards are more affordable.

Gen 2 ID card readers are easily installed both indoors and outdoors, enabling use in diverse applications such as managing workers in hazardous and disaster environments like mines and areas where exposure to chemicals, gases or radioactivity requires monitoring. Workplace regulations limit the amount of time workers can spend in a hazardous environment. These cases are excellent opportunities for installing Gen 2 ID card readers to cover the site and automatically record all entries and exits of authorized personnel, tracking the amount of time they spend in the area and calculate the real time cumulative totals and automatically generate alerts (by e-mail, pager or even alarm) as workers near their time thresholds. A network of ID card readers covering rooms, labs, test facilities, tunnels, mineshafts and other areas can produce a real-time view of employee location information that is invaluable in case of emergency.

The same application principles can also be applied to non-hazardous environments for situations where administrators require accurate, real-time information about the location of people within a building or on a campus, such as at hospitals, assisted living residences, schools, daycare centers and other facilities responsible for the custody and safety of residents, patients, visitors, students and guests.

Schools use Gen 2 staff and student ID cards to take automatic attendance daily, saving time for teachers and office staff by eliminating the need to manually enter attendance data into the computer records system. An automated Gen 2 ID card system’s ability to provide dynamic, up to the minute information is its key benefit. Traditional attendance systems provide a record of who was in the building at the start of the school day, but an RFID system can track people throughout a day or during an evacuation for real-time location information on each student and staff member. RFID ID card readers can monitor classrooms, hallways, playgrounds and other areas.

If students or any other persons attempt to enter restricted areas or leave the campus at unauthorized times alerts can automatically be issued. This visibility can extend to school buses and other vehicles as well to ensure and/or confirm where and when students board and exit the vehicles. RFID wristband and ID card systems are already widely used in hospitals to prevent infant abduction and detect patients wandering from Alzheimer’s and psychiatric wards. RFID ID card systems are installed at prisons and security services to monitor guard locations and they could be incorporated into school security systems as well.

Patron Management And Customer Service

Customer service and patron management applications can greatly benefit from using Gen 2 loyalty ID cards, passes and ID badges. RFID tickets, ID cards and passes are being used increasingly at ski resorts to control access to lifts as well as provide operators with up-to-date information about where skiers are located on a mountain; life saving information in case any avalanches or accidents should occur. In addition, resorts are using RFID technology to enhance the skier experience, enabling them to capture information, connect with fellow skiers and share through social media networks.

Retailers can employ RFID technology similarly to analyze customer ID cardholder data on their locations within a store in order to determine how much time customers spent in various parts, and which types of merchandising and displays seem to be effective. The next level in RFID technology includes building an application that communicates alerts or exception notices triggered when particularly high traffic occurs in a specific area, allowing retailers to deploy resources to these places if necessary. This application is well suited to large retail areas, such as garden centers and warehouse clubs where managers may lack visibility into the entire facility. Real-time customer location data also enable customized interactive marketing campaigns, where ID card reads can trigger in-store multimedia displays or kiosks to promote special offers or services based on customer profiles.

The ability to redeploy staff based on customer or guest locations is also especially valuable to resorts, theme parks, cruise ships, museums, clubs, sports and entertainment venues, exhibit halls, and other service and hospitality environments as well. Businesses can tailor RFID ID card applications to serve VIPs and top customers or for general operations to ensure beverage, food service, merchandise, ticketing and service areas remain adequately staffed.

Asset Protection And Management

This white paper has highlighted how proven RFID applications can be adapted and enhanced by using Gen 2 ID cards. Asset management operations represent some of the best opportunities for improvement with the use of Gen 2 ID card systems. RFID asset tracking applications typically provide complete return on investment (ROI) in less than ten months, the fastest of any application and combining asset management with other applications, such as ID and security reduces the ROI period even more.

Companies can leverage existing asset tagging systems by integrating Gen 2 ID cards so that checked out assets are automatically associated with the people who remove or use them. When the asset tag is read the ID card of the person checking out the item is simultaneously and automatically read with a date stamp applied to the readings thereby associating the asset with the individual who checked it out, building accountability into systems and reducing time spent searching for assets that are already in use.

Document tracking applications can verify the current up-to-the-moment location of important documents at all times. For example Law offices can associate documents with a lawyer’s ID card to assist in time billing, and in courthouses clerks can move documents to the appropriate courtrooms on time, by authorized personnel only. By extending read range from inches to feet, Gen 2 UHF technology increases the potential uses for ID card applications and the convenience and security benefits they provide. However, no technology including Gen 2 is optimal for all ID card systems and user needs. The most effective ID card systems take advantage of capabilities to support the organization’s desired business processes to maximize safety, security and convenience for employees, guests and customers.

Zebra Technologies offers the most robust product line of RFID printers and encoders in the industry, manufacturing and delivering thousands of Zebra ID card printers that support traditional high-frequency RFID encoding. Zebra was the first company to offer Gen 2 encoding integrated on the Zebra ID card printer. UHF-enabled models use the same ID card printer drivers and ID card printer ribbons as non-UHF models. The only requirement for RFID encoded ID card printing is using ID cards with embedded UHF Gen 2 chips, which Zebra also designs, providing a totally complete UHF ID card printing solution.

The cards support all EPCglobal Gen 2 and ISO 18000-6C RFID security standards and provide 96 bits of password-protected memory. Enterprises can use Zebra’s UHF enabled ID card printers to create non-RFID ID cards and maintain all their standard features, including support for magnetic stripe encoding, barcode printing, full-color ID card printing as well as support for a variety of ID card materials.

Email Advantidge today at [email protected] or call 800-965-5932 to learn how you can add UHF Gen 2 technology to your Zebra ID card systems. We provide excellent customer service!

Contactless ID Card Range Extended with Gen 2 – Zebra PDF

Understanding Technologies for Creating High-Security ID Cards

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

High-Security ID Cards

ID Cards and Printers

Security is an important priority for organizations today more than ever. Having secure access control and identification technologies in place is essential to protecting people and assets. Tamper-proof ID cards play a critical role in high security identification processes. This paper introduces different ID card printing technologies, security features and considerations when creating ID cards.

Before you invest in an ID card system, make sure you have identified your specific security and identification needs. Based on these factors, you will be able to choose the right ID card printer and the right ID card technology for your application:

• The type of ID card you plan to use
• How many ID cards you plan to print
• How often you need to print ID cards
• What elements you need to incorporate into your ID card
• The quality of ID card images
• Type of encoding required on the ID card

There are five major factors to consider:

1. Card size: Most plastic ID cards found in wallets and purses have the same physical dimensions. This is the standard CR-80 ID card, measuring about 3.375” x 2.125” (85.5 mm x 54 mm). The standard thickness is 30 mil (0.75 mm), but can range from 10 to 60 mil.

2. Printing speeds: ID card printers come with a variety of ID card printing speeds depending on whether you need to print both sides or just one side of the card. In general, the faster the ID cards are printed, the more expensive the ID card printer. The needs of the ID card printer speed will be determined by the application (e.g., on-premise/ on-demand printing, mass duplication printing (same ID card design printed multiple times) or one-offs).

3. The physical properties of the ID card printer: If you are limited on work space, you will want an ID card printer with a small footprint. If other work must be accomplished while the ID card printer is printing, you will also want to make sure you purchase an ID card printer that is relatively quiet. While the size and loudness of an ID card printer may not be a concern in a factory, it might be important in an application such as a small office, retail store or cruise ship.

4. Ease of use: An ID card printer should be easy to use right out of the box, especially if the user is not familiar with ID card printers.

5. The type of printing you want: Thermal, dye sublimation, mass transfer ID card printing, or direct-to-card (DTC) or retransfer ID card printing. These are discussed in detail below.

Thermal Printing

Like all other computer-based printers in the office, today’s photo ID card printers are digital. Resolutions of 300 dots per inch (dpi) or more are common in office printers, so the problem of jagged edges is largely a thing of the past. Most photo ID cards are printed by digital thermal transfer, a process by which color is transferred from a single-use ID card printer ribbon to various kinds of ID card receptor materials.

Dye Sublimation Printing

The variable size and density of each color dot is the secret to the photo-quality printing possible with dye sublimation, bright colors and no jagged edges. YMC dyes penetrate the receptor and color migrates from the dye ribbon into the surface. The spread of the dye dot (its amount of diffusion) depends on the amount of heat applied by the printhead element. On reaching a dye panel boundary, the printhead is lifted to allow the ID card to back up. The head then lowers to print the next color.

Yellow, magenta and cyan are combined in varying proportions to print photo-quality images. When “fully saturated,” the three colors together print “process black” text and graphics, which is similar in appearance to “black resin printing”, but is not infrared readable. The K panel is not a dye. It is instead a “mass transfer” black resin used for infrared readable barcodes and other data. A second K panel (YMCKK) is sometimes provided to allow black resin printing on both sides of the ID card. An overlay panel or O panel is available to protect the image from abrasions and fading. The number of images per roll varies based on the type of ID card printer ribbon or number of ribbon panels and the manufacturer.

Mass Transfer Printing

With a mass transfer panel, the printer cannot control either the ink dot’s size or density. It is either there or it is not, which is not good for continuous tone images such as photographs. To create the illusion of continuous tone from discrete dots of ink, printers use a process called dithering, exactly the same behind the scenes operation your computer performs any time it sends a picture to a laser printer.

A mass transfer ribbon is a layer of monochrome resin on a thin backing film. The resin is usually black, so this type of printing is also referred to as “black resin printing.” When heated, the resin is stripped from the backing and deposited as a physical layer on the receptor. Mass transfer delivers sharp text and graphics plus infrared readable barcodes. Photo reproduction is adequate for many applications calling for high printing speed and low cost.

Direct-To-Card Print Technology

Using dye sublimination and/or thermal transfer ID card printing methods, heat is used to transfer a digitized image from the ID card printer ribbon directly to the flat surface of a blank plastic ID card. The relatively small number of affordable, durable ID card materials that accept dyes limits the types of ID cards used and limits the intensity of colors that DTC printing can reproduce. The DTC process depends on uniform, intimate contact between the printhead, the dye ribbon, and the ID card surface; therefore, uneven ID card surfaces cannot achieve high color density and uniformity when dye is transferred directly to the ID card.

Retransfer Print Technology

Retransfer printing uses a process called reverse thermal transfer. Unlike traditional dye sublimation ID card printers, which use a printhead to transfer the image through a dye ribbon directly onto the ID card surface, retransfer ID card printers use a two-step process:

1. In the first step, the retransfer process prints a high-resolution image in reverse directly onto a clear receiving layer carried by a flexible, intermediate film. The dye sublimation process prints the image to the film, just like in DTC printing.

2. Next, the ID card printer uses heat and pressure to thermally transfer the image and the entire image receiving intermediate film onto the ID card surface. During this process, the layer thermally bonds to the ID card surface, and the printed image resides underneath the clear image receiving layer.

The benefits of retransfer ID card printing include:

• Superior image quality
• Prints on more types of ID cards
• Improved security and tamper resistance
• Lower printhead costs

How Printing Can Make ID Cards More Secure

Security comes from a combination of media features, printer capability, database verification, and special security (e.g., unusual, covert and forensic features). Media features include surface quality, durability and built-in security elements. Printer capability encompasses high-resolution graphics and reliable barcodes plus covert features printed at the time of issue. Database verification consists of a central archive of cardholder data, including a photo, personal statistics, employee number, date, time and place of issue. Special security features are only shared with customers in order to protect their covert qualities.

Start With High-Quality ID Cards

First and most important, the ID card itself has to be tough. In this security-conscious age, government ID cards and ID cards of other large organizations rely on custom-designed ID card media of ever-increasing sophistication. This is for two main reasons. First, multiple security features create greater counterfeiting difficulties. Second, guards can quickly and easily validate unique features known only to the organization’s security force.

Your ID card media should offer an array of security features, any or all of which may be incorporated into custom designs such as custom ID holograms. Today’s ID cards must be extremely durable. For example, your ID card stock should be ten times the flex life of regular PVC ID cards. It should meet or exceed all international standards for resistance to cracking, permanent adhesion of overlaminate film, and durability of image. Choose ID cards that do not tear easily. Look for unique tear-resistant designs. The ID neck lanyard slot in a regular PVC ID card is often fragile. If the slot tears, an unauthorized user needs only to change the photo to go past a careless inspector.

To increase durability, higher capability ID card printers feature fully integrated hot roll laminating stations that apply 0.6 or 1.0 mil laminate patch materials, with or without holograms. ID cards with overlaminates will provide up to seven years of wear. Such lamination is especially recommended for abrasion-intensive applications such as frequent barcode or magnetic stripe reading. Depending on volume and how quickly one needs to print ID cards, there are ID card printers that laminate one side or both sides of an ID card at once.

Modern Print Features Are Hard To Copy

To prevent alteration, duplication or counterfeiting of fake ID cards, there are many techniques that companies can use with digital ID card printers. First of all, they can position multiple security images or holograms. One security image alone increases the difficulty of counterfeiting; two makes it at least twice as hard. The ID card holographic image lamination process also provides a very rich looking ID card. Multiple screenings of the same photograph increase integrity. This is the standard for most driver’s licenses. Unique graphic identifiers, such as allowing only the red-bordered cardholders to access an area, help differentiate security levels.

You can also purchase ID card stock with pre-printed security features, including ultraviolet-visible text and graphics that are available in the colors of green and blue. With micro-printing, text can be added to a user’s specifications, with deliberate random font changes and misspellings if desired. Character height is five thousandths of an inch (0.125 mm). Pre-printed serial numbers can also be incorporated into ID card stock. Laser etching is another option. Fine-line Guilloche patterns with hidden micro-text are aimed at foiling counterfeiters, and micro-printing of text and miniature graphic elements are also difficult to duplicate.

An overlaminate ID card film adds security to the printed ID card. The inner surface of the laminate can be preprinted with OVI ink or UV-visible ink in one, two or three colors. In addition, today’s high tech ID card printers can also laminate with holographic metallization, including embossed micro-text. Applications for such security enhanced ID cards include driver’s licenses; national health cards, social security cards and voter registration ID card programs; ID badging for the armed forces, law enforcement and government agency personnel ID cards; and access and identification cards for educational institutions, industry and transportation.

Keeping Track Of Critical Information

It is important to keep track of ID card transactions in the ID card printer’s host computer. For example, Zebra Technologies‘ ID/Log records the applicant’s personal data, together with other point-of-issue data. This data set can provide a means for security officers to validate the ID card by comparing a photo ID card with this centrally located data.

Card serialization also adds security. ID card printers with magnetic stripe encoder, proximity encoder or smart card contact options can be set up to function only with serial numbered ID card stock and also to add serial numbers to the data recorded by the ID/Log.

Here’s how card serialization works: All ID cards supplied to an organization using this system are pre-printed on the front or back with a serial number, which is also recorded on the ID card’s credential medium, such as magnetic stripe, proximity chip or smart card integrated circuit (IC). The ID card printer is configured to accept only serial numbered ID cards and will eject without printing any ID card without the appropriate encoding. If a valid serial number is detected, the ID card is printed.

The serial number read from the credential medium is recorded in the printer’s host computer, where it is linked with the license or employee number and other data such as date, time and location. This data set is available for uploading at any time to the organization’s central database. As a result, the security officer can read any ID card that is linked to a serial number in the database on-the-spot and without any special equipment. When transmitted to the central database, the serial number can, in turn, trigger a download to a local terminal. Now, in addition to the usual comparison of photo and subject, it is easy to instantly check the correlation of ID card serial number and credentials.

Email Advantidge today at [email protected] or call 800-965-5932 to learn more about Zebra ID card systems. We provide excellent customer service!

Understanding Technologies for Creating High-Security ID Cards – Zebra PDF

Zebra Retransfer Technology Delivers the Optimal ID Card Printing Solution

Monday, June 10th, 2013

Zebra Retransfer Technology ID Card PrintingThe Need For Retransfer ID Card Printing Is Real

A wide range of industries today are realizing the significant benefits that personalized access control, ID cards, financial, retail and smart cards can bring to their enterprises. The rapid expansion of on-demand issuance of ID cards for identification, tracking and monetary applications calls for an innovative ID card printing solution. However, with an ever-increasing emphasis on security, flexibility and efficiency, organizations now face the need to produce ID cards with the highest image quality, using a diverse range of ID card materials, with the broadest array of chip-encoding options.

Retransfer ID card printing technology is the optimal on-demand ID card printing solution for meeting the stringent image quality and encoding standards that advanced ID card applications require. In the past, desktop retransfer ID card printers offered low ID card printing speeds and image quality, thus limiting their applicability in many ID card issuance applications. This lack of performance and quality slowed the adoption of retransfer printing technology industry wide. Today, however, innovative technology for retransfer ID card printing delivers a fast, flexible and affordable solution.

While direct-to-card (DTC) printing will continue to be the technology of choice for many standard ID card printing applications, fast retransfer ID card printing promises to expand a much broader range of possible applications, from high-security ID cards, to retail loyalty cards, financial cards and beyond. In fact, retransfer technology offers a quantum leap beyond DTC ID card printing. Retransfer printing commands 8 to 10 percent of the current market, with the current market expected to grow to 12 to 15 percent within three years (based on a 2008 survey of select markets).

Retransfer Card Printing Delivers Key Advantages

Zebra Retransfer technology uses a process called reverse thermal transfer. Unlike traditional dye sublimation ID card printers, which use a printhead to transfer images through a dye ribbon directly onto the ID card surface, retransfer ID card printers use a two-step process:

1. In the first step, the retransfer process prints a high-resolution image in reverse directly onto a clear receiving layer: a flexible, intermediate film. The dye sublimation process prints the image to the film, just like in DTC printing.

2. Next, the printer uses heat and pressure to thermally transfer the image and the entire image-receiving intermediate film onto the ID card surface. During this process, the layer thermally bonds to the ID card surface, and the printed image resides underneath the clear image-receiving film layer, inside the plastic ID card.

Superior Image Quality

When it comes to demanding government ID card and business applications, photo image quality is essential. Security depends on photos that accurately portray the cardholder, and businesses expect sharp graphics and faithful reproduction of colors to communicate their brands effectively. With retransfer technology, the days of fuzzy photos and dull graphics have become a thing of the past. The challenges of printing directly to a hard plastic ID card surface fundamentally limit the image quality of the DTC printing process. The relatively small number of affordable, durable ID card materials that accept dyes limits the types of ID cards used, and limits the intensity of colors that DTC printing can reproduce. In addition, the DTC process depends on uniform, intimate contact between the printhead, the dye ribbon, and the ID card surface. Because of the unevenness of many ID card surfaces, DTC printing cannot achieve high color density and uniformity when transferring dye directly to an ID card using this process.

Retransfer ID card printing separates the image creation step from the ID card application step, relieving many of the inherent constraints of DTC printing. In retransfer ID card printing the intermediate film is thin and flexible, making it easy to maintain uniform printing pressure. In addition, the retransfer process can optimize the dye for print quality—regardless of the ID card material so unlike DTC printing, retransfer technology reliably prints on uneven card surfaces such as those found with proximity cards. This ability to print first and then transfer the image to the ID card opens up new possibilities for high image quality.

Greater Flexibility

Identification cards and smart cards use a variety of materials in their production. Enterprises in the public and private sector demand flexibility when choosing ID cards that meet specific cost and application requirements. Built with a wide range of materials, smart cards contain circuitry such as a microprocessor and memory pre-loaded with information. In reality, DTC dye sublimation printing requires a porous surface available only with PVC-based ID cards, thus limiting ID card material options.

In many sophisticated plastic ID card applications, such as retail loyalty, smart cards and finance, it is important to cover the ID card surface entirely with background graphics, yielding a more professional look. Traditional DTC ID card printers leave a small white border around the outside perimeter of ID cards due to the difficulty of maintaining contact all the way to the edges during printing. This white border detracts from the look of the ID card and discourages adoption for high-end applications.

Through over-the-edge ID card printing, retransfer technology enables true edge-to-edge images, giving users access to the entire ID card surface. Retransfer printing prints the image onto the intermediate film in a slightly oversize form factor, so that the transfer to the ID card surface occurs with complete edge-to-edge coverage. This full over-the-edge effect produces a sleek, photo-like appearance that is very different from a traditional ID card.

The retransfer process is relatively insensitive to ID card material, permitting the printing of high-quality images on a wide variety of ID card materials including biodegradable ID cards, making retransfer printing eco-friendly, enabling “green” initiatives! These advantages clearly differentiate the retransfer printing process from DTC ID card printing, and provide a significant advantage to many applications.

Improved Security and Tamper Resistance

With all forms of theft on the rise, government agencies and businesses must take every precaution to secure their workforce and assets. The transfer film used in retransfer printing technology inherently provides protection against counterfeit activities that would attempt to make fraudulent fake ID cards since the overlay film easily shows evidence of tampering. Any attempt to tamper with data on the ID card also damages the film, which cannot be easily repaired or re-used. Users gain the edge-to-edge protection of a security credential, with durability exceeding a comparable DTC printed ID card.

In addition, for added security users can use laminates with a multitude of security features such as holographic ID card images, optical variable ink, and morphing for an even greater layer of security.

Lower Printhead Costs

In traditional DTC ID card printing, the printheads must contact directly the rigid ID card substrates, creating excessive wear. When printing to the ID card edge, DTC printheads often suffer premature failure, or outright damage. Because retransfer ID card printers print on soft transfer film panels instead of onto the card surface itself, printhead life span improves dramatically. The result is a reduction in overhead for spare printheads, lowered maintenance workload and significantly improved return on investment (ROI).

Key Considerations When Choosing ID Card Printers

Retransfer ID card printing enables a wide range of applications for the public and private sector. In federal, state, and local government, identification and smart cards find significant use in access control, tracking personnel, smart driver’s licenses, voter registration cards, and national ID cards. In the private sector, manufacturing, retail, and financial enterprises use ID cards for employee ID card access control, gift cards, loyalty cards, and cash cards in markets such as gaming, cruise lines, and entertainment. DTC ID card printing addresses specific applications but may not meet the criteria of all applications.

When choosing an ID card printer, consider the following benefits of retransfer technology:

High print quality and flexible options for ID card materials:
• DTC diffuses dye onto the surface of an ID card substrate to create an image, potentially compromising image quality on non-smooth surfaces.
• Retransfer printing delivers high print quality, the ability to print on uneven ID card surfaces such as smart cards and on non-PVC ID cards. The result is a more durable and abrasion-resistant ID card that lasts longer than traditional materials.

Built-in fraud protection, as Retransfer film is inherently tamper evident:
• In government and financial applications, security is a top priority. Agencies and businesses require provisions to prevent counterfeiting and reduce ID card tampering.
• Retransfer is the only printing technology that offers the encoding flexibility, compliance options and fraud protection that smart card users demand.

True edge-to-edge images via over-the-edge printing
• DTC printing yields low-throughput ID card printing that can waste ID card surface area. The lack of over-the-edge printing capability can lead to excessive printing supply usage and printhead burn rate.
• With retransfer ID card printing, users can immediately benefit by printing so images are placed across the entire surface of the ID card.

The Zebra Retransfer Printing Solution

For ID card applications that require photo-like images, fast print speeds, rich encoding options and intuitive system integration tools, the Zebra ZXP Series 8 ID card printer and ZMotif photo ID software deliver the optimal retransfer ID card printing solution. The ZXP Series 8 achieves the fastest print speed on the market today while maintaining top image quality and the highest cost efficiency.

Sharp Images and Graphics that Stand Out

Zebra’s innovative reverse thermal transfer process delivers superior image quality, allowing users to issue ID cards that match the brand expectations of their customers. Zebra Technology‘s technical expertise in the photo ID card printing business served as the foundation for the ZXP Series 8 ID card printer. The ZXP leverages sophisticated image-processing algorithms to compensate for image errors normally caused by high printing speeds, enabling photo-quality images and print resolution even at increased print speeds.

High Throughput Enables Efficient Printing

The ZXP Series 8 ID card printer solution achieves print speeds that exceed any other retransfer ID card printer in its class. In fact, the ZXP delivers speeds that are comparable to many of the fastest DTC ID card printers currently on the market. Traditional retransfer ID card printers must mechanically flip ID cards in order to print both sides, while the ZXP Series 8 dual-sided uses a simultaneous dual-sided process to transfer the front and back images from the intermediate transfer film to the ID card at the same time. This exclusive, patent-pending architecture significantly increases the transfer speed and simplifies the retransfer system.

The ZXP ID card printer also gains speed by printing the ID card images over the short dimension of the ID card rather than over the long dimension. This “landscape mode” approach is a highly efficient way to reduce print time per color panel and reduce the time required for mechanical retraces between color panels. The combination of simultaneous dual-sided ID card printing and landscape mode printing enables 100 percent use of ID card area, regardless of the ID card materials. The result is improved process efficiency and use of print resources.

Unmatched Integration and Ease of Use

The ZXP Series 8 ID card printer includes ZMotif XML-based software for easy integration with enterprise-based applications. Built around an intuitive user interface, the ZMotif printer management software speeds up implementation of custom projects, while reducing startup and migration costs. The software uses Microsoft® Windows® certified drivers to help ensure application ease of use, compatibility and investment protection within existing infrastructures.

The ZMotif graphical user interface (GUI) presents ID card printer configuration tools and utilities that provide an IT department complete control over all ID card printer functions and features. Graphics designers benefit from an XML-based software development kit (SDK) and ID card printer interface language, enabling flexible project customization and design reuse. In addition, users can access networked ZXP ID card printer resources from within the familiar Windows printer environment, enabling the best ROI value.

Modular Hardware and Software Drives Scalability

The ZXP Series 8 ID card printer offers a full complement of encoding options suitable for a variety of applications. These options include encoding magnetic stripes, contact smart card and a variety of contactless smart card encoding options. When adding a new module selection, IT departments can benefit from easy setup and faster deployment because the ZXP automatically detects and configures the device. Businesses can purchase options with the initial ID card printer or add the options later as departmental demands grow.

Optimize Your ID Card Printing Operations

IT professionals and operations managers deserve the best from their ID card printer infrastructure. Zebra’s ZXP Series 8 ID card printer and ZMotif software can help eliminate traditional barriers to ID card applications that require high photo quality or embedded technology. The ZXP solution delivers the crisp images, highest throughput, and cost-effective retransfer ID card printing value available today. Now, businesses and government agencies can achieve simple, quick rollout of identification cards, driver’s licenses, ATM, debit and non-embossed credit cards.

The security and efficient operation of your organization is important! Email Advantidge today at [email protected] or call 800-965-5932 to learn more about adding Zebra retransfer ID card printing technology to your ID card system. We provide excellent customer service!

Zebra Retransfer Technology Optimal ID Card Solution PDF

Control Access and Protect Assets with Zebra Print-on-Demand Intelligent ID Cards

Monday, June 10th, 2013

Zebra Retransfer Technology ID Card PrintingFraud and theft are constant threats to any organization, and the protections put in place against malicious activities must constantly evolve. To solve this challenge, businesses are deploying multiple levels of security, of which access ID cards are a critical component. Innovative, print-on-demand (POD) solutions enable a new generation of “intelligent” access cards that contain various technologies such as barcode, magnetic stripe, smart card contact and contactless, and radio frequency identification (RFID) technologies. Additional security can be applied to ID cards through tamper-resistant overlaminates and/or preprinted ID cards with security features.

This white paper defines how human resources and security departments can print intelligent ID cards to identify employees, visitors and patrons, and manage access to facilities, equipment and services through a range of “intelligent” access ID card technologies.

Business Security Risks Are Escalating

Whether the requirement is to control entrance to facilities, or specific areas within a building, businesses must find a way to limit who gains access to what, when and where. Locking down security is essential for reducing theft, ensuring compliance to safety regulations, and protecting employees.

Consider the following troubling facts:

• The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation reports that employee theft is the fastest growing crime in America.
• Employee theft is responsible for 30 percent of all business failures according to U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates.
• A National Retail Federation (NRF) study found inventory shrinkage cost retailers 1.75 percent of annual sales, with losses from internal employee theft far exceeding losses from shoplifters.
• The U.S. Chamber of Commerce calculated that counterfeiting and piracy costs are directly responsible for more than 750,000 U.S. job losses, cost the U.S. economy between $200 and $250 million annually, and cost the global economy $650 billion.
• The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in 2007, workers suffered over 17,500 chemical- related injuries and illnesses related to chemical exposure, many of which were due to unauthorized employee access to hazardous areas.

Automated access control ID card systems can significantly reduce the damages from these crimes. The best security is proactive, not reactive. By integrating access control into human resources, facilities and security departments, organizations can deter fraud and theft by making themselves unattractive targets for dishonest employees and opportunistic criminals. Access and identification systems are highly effective and visible deterrents that protect against many types of security threats. Businesses can use multi-layered identification and tracking systems to protect people, facilities, fixed assets, products and information.

Access Security Applications of Intelligent Access Cards

Many organizations use employee ID cards and access control systems to prevent unauthorized people from walking through their front doors. Unfortunately, most organizations suffer more losses from their own employees than they do from outsiders. With no way to associate an employee with a product, retail employees now steal 50 percent more merchandise than shoplifters, according to the NRF.

Businesses face even greater threats from white-collar crimes. Pilfered office supplies and unauthorized use of photocopiers, scanners, digital ID cameras, color printers and other equipment may seem innocent, but these acts burden employers with higher service and operating costs and untold lost productivity. Organizations should carefully consider their access policies and protections. ID cards with barcodes, magnetic stripes, or RFID provide seamless integration with ID card readers and building infrastructure to control access to supplies, computer rooms, copy centers and equipment.

Access Control

Most losses do not occur from overt break-ins or elaborate employee fraud schemes, but from simple crimes of opportunity. Limiting access to facilities, equipment and supplies can prevent a significant amount of unauthorized activity. For example, the Renaissance Tower, a 56-floor office complex in Dallas, installed an RFID ID card printing system that not only permits employees to enter the building, but also controls access to specific floors with ID card readers on the elevators and stairways. After the ID cards replaced the honor system, the Renaissance Tower’s director of security reported a significant decrease in thefts and an 80 percent improvement in operations.

Visitor ID

Companies can also extend their protection by issuing ID badges to visitors, temporary workers, service and delivery personnel and contractors. With POD Zebra ID card printing solutions, employees at reception desks, receiving docks, or guard stations can create professional-looking visitor passes on the spot.

Employee Tracking for Improved Safety

Area tracking coverage can save valuable time and lives in emergencies and is a key enabler for emerging personnel-tracking applications. For several years, businesses have used expensive, battery operated RFID tags to track workers in dangerous environments such as mines or areas where exposure to chemicals, gases, or radioactivity requires monitoring. The development of low-cost, standardized Gen 2 UHF technology makes it practical to extend wireless area access ID card monitoring across many diverse environments.

Businesses can install Gen 2 ID card readers outdoors or indoors, and use them in many ways to manage workers in hazardous and disaster environments. For situations where workplace regulations limit the amount of time workers can spend in an environment, businesses can install readers to cover the area and automatically record all entries and exits. Access control system software can track the amount of time each individual worker spends in the area, calculate real-time cumulative totals, and automatically generate alerts as workers near their time thresholds.

Using RFID-enabled access cards completely automates the data entry and calculation processes and quickly generates and stores necessary records. A network of ID card readers covering rooms, labs, test facilities, tunnels, mineshafts and other areas can produce a real-time view of employee locations, information that is invaluable in case of emergency. The same access card principles also apply to non-hazardous environments where security departments require accurate, real-time information about where people are in a building or campus.

The Intelligence of Embedded UHF Technology

Today’s RFID technology enables ID card readers to detect and scan RFID-embedded ID cards up to 10 meters away for secure tracking and access control. EPCglobal developed the Gen 2 UHF standard so users could accurately identify multiple items simultaneously at distances not possible with legacy RFID technology. While Gen 2 is widely used for asset management and product identification applications, it is now gaining widespread use as a contactless access control solution to track people.

The read range of Gen 2 and fast identification capabilities deliver key benefits for access card applications. Magnetic stripe, barcode and even smart cards require swiping or line of sight scanning through a reader. Deploying Gen 2-enabled access technology eliminates the need for single-file, one-at-a-time card reads. Groups of people can move through large, open entry and exit points, rather than having to pass through narrow doorways, gates, or turnstiles. Security departments can track employees and visitors throughout a facility, and know exactly who is where and how long they remain in a location. In addition, security provisions in the Gen 2 standard include multiple levels of data protection and device authentication to prevent unauthorized reads.

Globally, RFID technology is rapidly gaining momentum for use in personnel identification. At the federal level, the U.S. government’s PASS Card program uses Gen 2 RFID to replace traditional passports to improve the security and convenience of border crossings. At the state level, Arizona, New York, Washington and Vermont are deploying RFID enabled, enhanced driver’s licenses (EDL) by the millions.

Identification Printing Technologies

All the access ID card technologies described in this paper including barcode, RFID, magnetic stripe, smart card, graphics and photo security features can be printed on demand at the user’s own facility—wherever and whenever. Switching from preprinted access cards, temporary IDs, and passes to on-demand ID card printing systems provides an immediate benefit by removing the worries related to managing and securing costly materials.

A barcode is the most widely used data storage format for security printing applications, and RFID is the fastest growing. Common linear barcodes easily meet most needs for encoding employee and visitor ID cards. Two-dimensional (2-D) barcodes can encode significantly more text than linear codes and store digitized photos, graphics, fingerprint files, and other biometric data. ID card printing solutions provide multiple encoding and security technologies, including holograms and magnetic stripes.

ID Card Printers

Digital plastic ID card printers offer the ability to create custom ID cards tailored to the application, at the point of issuance. System administrators can invalidate lost or stolen ID cards and issue replacements immediately. Unlike traditional ID card systems that lacked customization, which required time consuming photo processing, cutting and laminating, today’s digital POD ID card systems enable completely automated production of highly customized, secure ID cards. A wide variety of ID card printers exist to meet user needs, including high duty cycle models for applications that require printing thousands of ID cards annually and retransfer printing technology for ID card applications with the highest standards.

Digitally printed plastic blank ID cards provide numerous technological features, but start with a blank plastic ID card customizable with any combination of artwork, graphics, text, digital photographs, barcodes, logos and more. The ID card printer can encode additional machine-readable information, such as magnetic stripes, RFID, and smart card chips. The image quality of plastic photo ID cards produced with digital printing technology is far superior and tamper-resistant compared to those produced through the old method of trimming printed photos and laminating them onto the ID card. Different ID card materials and overlaminates provide additional protection from attempts to tamper with and create fake ID cards.

Magnetic stripe ID cards carry more data than standard barcodes, but require media that costs more. Card issuers stock blank magnetic stripe ID cards and encode them on demand. Smart cards enabled with a smart chip can hold the most data of any medium, up to 100 times more than a magnetic stripe card, and often include a processor chip that enables multiple applications. Security departments can use intelligent ID cards to securely store employee access records and facility privileges for later use.

Access ID Card Security Features

Adding tamper-resistance and visual verification aids to prevent counterfeiting and unauthorized alterations improves access control security to facilities. Today’s on-demand ID card printers can print variable text, and create vibrant ID photos for visual ID confirmation. For higher ID card security and durability, forensic features can be preprinted directly to the ID card, or added to the ID card through the application of ID card overlaminates.

There are numerous forensic security features that fall into the following categories:

• Overt visual security elements (holographic foil, complex patterns, and photos), which are visible to the human eye, are easy to authenticate and very difficult to forge.

• Covert elements (micro-text and hidden imagery) require a device to make them readable by the human eye.

• Forensic elements are microscopic (nano-text) and the most difficult for a counterfeiter to detect and replicate.

Such features are critical when security mandates call for a mix of remote employee traceability coupled with a need to verify that the access ID card belongs to the intended person. Tamper resistance makes it much more difficult for criminals and dishonest employees to counterfeit or duplicate fake ID cards. This is a critical requirement for businesses in a wide range of industries including the financial sector, Department of Defense (DoD) contractors and other security-sensitive enterprises.

Intelligent access ID card technologies offer several easy and cost-effective ways for organizations to raise the level of protection for their people, products, and property. Raising the bar on security prevents many problems by forcing opportunistic perpetrators to seek easier targets. Today’s contactless access ID card technologies provide superior range and read performance so that organizations can:

• Relieve congestion or enable identification where it isn’t practical to install a short-range reader

• Conveniently support a second form of identity validation, such as facial recognition

• Provide high-throughput entry/exit for convenience and crowd control

• Automatically monitor specific zones and areas

• Associate people with assets

Zebra Technologies delivers innovative POD access and ID card printers that integrate a wide range of intelligent access ID card technologies and security features. The ID cards, ID card printers and encoders support all EPCglobal, ISO and other applicable standards. With Zebra, businesses can feel more secure that their facilities, employees, and assets remain protected today and tomorrow.

Email Advantidge today at [email protected] or call 800-965-5932 to learn more about Zebra ID card systems. We provide excellent customer service!

Zebra Print-on-Demand Intelligent ID Cards PDF

Zebra ZXP Series 7 ID Card Printer World Globe Laminates Now Available

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

Zebra ZXP Series 7 ID Card Printer World Globe Overlaminates
As part of the recent release of Zebra’s ZXP Series 7 ID card printer, Advantidge announces the availability of Zebra World Globe ID Card Laminates for the ZXP Series 7.

Zebra World Globe Laminates include a number of enhanced security features that use an intricate pattern, which remains simple enough to not overly complicate the design of any printed ID card.

 

Zebra ZXP Series 7 World Globe ID Card Laminate Holograms offer Levels 1, 2 and 3 in security features:

Level 1

  • Flip image – Set 1 flips from Americas to Europe/Africa when the image is tilted left to right. Set 2 flips from Europe/Africa to Asia/Australia when the image is tilted left to right.
  • Black/White image switching – The three globes at the top of the image switch from non-diffracting black to matte diffracting white when turned 90 degrees.
  • Guilloche pattern – Viewable without any tools and difficult to reproduce. The Fine Line design has a line thickness of 0.006″ with a very bright kinetic diffraction movement when the image is tilted left to right.

Level 2

  • Micro text – Viewable with a simple magnification tool. The wavy lines are comprised of the words “Authentic, Genuine, Security, Valid” and are 0.006″ in letter height.

Level 3

  • Nano text – Viewable only with a high-powered magnification tool. Within each bullet surrounding the type inside the rings around the 3D maps are the letters “OK” that are 0.004″ in letter height.
  • 3-D embossed effect – The map images have a surface relief effect, making the image look like it was embossed.

Email us today at [email protected] or call 800-965-5932 to order the new ZXP Series 7 World Globe ID Card Laminates and improve the security of your ID card system!

Introducing Zebra Technologies Virtual Printware ID Card Printer Software Solution

Friday, March 29th, 2013

Zebra Technologies Virtual Printware ID Card Printing Software
Advantidge is excited to announce Zebra Virtual PrintWare™, a software suite of solutions that allows customers with ZXP Series™ network-based Zebra ID card printers to:

  • Better manage their network-based ID card printing environment using PrintMonitor.
  • Manage closed-loop ID card printing performance and scalability, and simplify integration of ID card printing and issuance into existing enterprise and legacy applications using PrintManager.

Zebra Virtual Printware Software Solutions:

PrintMonitor:
Standalone software solution that can monitor and manage ZXP Series ID card printers from a single management console. It can be installed with little to no integration or system engineering effort.

PrintManager:
Complete software solution for closed-loop ID card printing that enables print job load balancing across multiple networked ID card printers for throughput, scalability and performance. PrintManager also enables template-based printing for easy ID card issuance and integration into existing or legacy applications. It includes the PrintMonitor product as part of the complete solution. PrintManager requires some knowledge of systems engineering and software integration skills to fully deploy and utilize.

Email us today at [email protected] or call 800-965-5932 to learn how the new Zebra Virtual Printware Software can improve your ID card system!