Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Card Careers: What Each Card Does

PVC, PET, Mag strip, barcode, proximity, smart and the list goes on. With all these terms being thrown around it’s sometimes hard to know what you’re even looking at let alone finding what you need.
PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) and PET (polyethylene terephthalate) cards can be just blank plastic cards. Nothing too special about them. These are perfect for printing IDs and membership cards that DO NOT function as door keys or access cards. Typically as an ID you could print your employee or member’s picture and general information such as an ID number. Plastic cards like these are perfect for visual identification. These cards could also work as business cards! These cards are available in a range of colors. These cards are perfect for simple IDs and business cards.
Next we have barcodes. They are printed on the PVC or PET cards mentioned above. This is perfect for membership cards and reward cards because with the right software you can do things such as point systems and logins. Better yet, you don’t need any special equipment to print a barcode! You just print it with the same printer that you would print the ID card with. Bar codes should make you think of rewards cards, membership cards, and ID cards.
Magnetic Stripes or Mag stripes are commonly seen on g. They are used by banks and credit card companies for transactions. These are what you use if you want to print gift cards. Another common use is as an access control. As an added layer of security, you can add swipe access to your buildings or secure areas. These cards offer a blank side and a back side with the stripe. With the blank side you are free to print it as you would any other card, full color pictures, text, whatever floats your boat. The back is typically where you would offer restrictions if it was a gift card or credit card. Many printers offer an upgrade that makes encoding these easy! You just then need compatible software to then read it. So when you look at mag stripes think gift cards, membership cards, and access cards.
I haven’t lost you yet, have I? Next we have the technology cards...
The technology cards come in multiple styles. You can get them to look like standard PVC cards where you have restrictions on how you slot them. You can get them in a style called clamshell which is a little thicker card that comes slotted. Then there are PVC disks/patches that adhere to your current card to upgrade a non-technology card without having to reprint everyone’s ID. Lastly you can get a key fob style. They are little plastic devices similar in size and shape to the fob on your car keys. They can be programmed the same way that the other options can be.
Proximity Cards are used for access cards. You are able to print barcodes on them and utilize that as well. With proximity cards you code in a key and then you are set. You can touch it to a reader to open a door. You are able to print images on them much like the other cards mentioned. Some come pre-slotted for your convenience. You can get clamshell proximity cards, proximity (prox) keyfobs, and proximity disks if you want something different than just the standard looking card. When you think proximity cards you should be thinking access cards.
The technology on the rise right now is Smart cards. They do so much more than proximity cards. These cards utilize programming such as iClass, MIFARE, and DESfire to work as access software. These can be used for more than access though. They can be reprogrammed as needed. They have memory for things such as cashless vending such as on a college dining hall. This technology is available as cards that look like standard PVC cards, clamshell cards, fobs, and PVC patches. These are ideal for college IDs, bank cards such as credit and debit cards, as well as access cards for facilities with multiple locations.
It’s a lot to look at but hopefully this helps some!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Printer of the Week Recap

Hello All!
We’re going to recap our Printer of the Week Series! Please remember that these are not all the printers we have to offer, but just highlights of some of them!

For those of you who haven't been following us on Facebook or on Google+, Printer of the Week is a special  we are doing to show just how many different types of printers there are out there and what makes them each unique. Here is what we've done so far:

Mid- to High-Range Printers

Week 1 – Zebra ZXP Series 7
The Zebra ZXP 7 is a Direct to Card (DTC) Printer. It boasts high print speeds and is available in both single and dual (simplex and duplex) printing. Encoding modules are available making this a good printer for office key cards and employee IDs.
Week 2 – FargoHID HDP5000
The HDP 5000 is a retransfer (reverse transfer) printer that first prints the image onto a film that is then adhered to your card. This works as an added level of security and makes your cards harder to counterfeit. HDP stands for High Definition Printing. Retransfer printers are showing prominence in financial institutions.
Week 3 – Evolis Zenius
The Zenius stands out as a MAC compatible DTC printer. It also utilizes a compact design to make it perfect for any office. This design helps to reduce CO2 emissions. This printer is perfect for printing employee IDs and membership cards.
Week 4 – Magicard Rio Pro                                                                               
Magicard had the unique security feature, HoloKote technology to allow you to watermark your cards without any extra equipment. It is a DTC printer that builds the watermark right into the overlay. They also offer superior color match technology so that what you see on the screen is what you get on your card. Encoding modules are available for this printer.
Week 5 – DataCard SD360
The SD360 is the Datacard DTC duplex printer. The single-sided counterpart is the SD260.  It is designed to have a user friendly LCD interface making set up and use easy to do! Encoding modules are available as well.

Wristband Printer

Week 6 – Mr.Wristbander
Wristbands can be great for visitor management! Mr. Wristbander is a stand alone wristband printer that is customized for you needs. With a programmed printer and USB keyboard you have everything you need to start printing wristbands.

Entry Level

Week 7 – FargoC50
Fargo’s newest card printer! This printer has a simple set up and use. It is designed for single sided printing and is perfect for membership cards and loyalty cards that utilize bar codes.
Week 8 – Zebra ZXP Series 1
The ZXP 1 is Zebra’s take on entry level. It is a single sided printer that is designed to print quickly but not to sacrifice quality. Once again it is ideal for tight office spaces and IDs that utilize barcodes.

Other brands to consider that we haven’t covered (yet) include IDP and Polaroid. There are plenty of printers to fit every need. Just give us a call at Modity Inc and we will help find the right printer for you!

Friday, October 3, 2014

ID Cards

ID Cards.
Everyone has them right? So I’m fairly certain you’ve never given a second thought to what goes into your ID badge. I mean it’s just that card you carry at work with the really unflattering picture of your first day, right? Nope. That’s not the case at all.

ID cards serve a wide variety of purposes other than hanging on your belt and showing that you are in fact an employee of this company or a student at that school. They add a layer of security through barcodes, mag (magnetic) stripes, and proximity access cards.

Let me break this down for you.
Mag stripes are the same ones that you find on the back of your credit or debit card. They can be coded and used with a number of readers to control access to building or rooms. These are the cards you swipe through the reader
Proximity Access cards (or Prox cards) transmit a signal to a card reader by just touching the card to it or by just being near to the reader. There are special badge holders that block this signal when you don’t want it transmitted.

Once you have the card type chosen you need to look at accessories. Does your card have a slot? How often do people need to access their card?

If your card has a slot, and your employees use them often, your best choice is a badge reel. These come with a clear strap on one end that will clip right on to your card. The clear strap is attached to a retractable cord allowing some freedom of movement without constantly fussing with putting the card away. The other half of a badge reel will clip nicely onto a pocket or belt and keep your ID on hand but out of the way.

The other nice option would be a lanyard to hold it in place. Lanyards come with a variety of end fittings that will work with a slotted card.
If you use your card for only identification purposes and it is slotted, a strap clip is the way to go. The bull dog clip end can attach easily and securely to a pocket while the clear strap holds the card in place.

But what if your card isn’t slotted? No worries! There are still plenty of options.
You choice here should probably start with a badge holder. This can be one that blocks prox signals or just a flexible clear one. The badge holder provides a slot and chain holes but it can be a little clumsy if you need to swipe your card often. In those situations a half holder is perfect! This securely holds your card but still allows the mag stripe to be swiped.

Along with the badge holders the badge reels, lanyards, and strap clips mentioned above work great.
So what’s the point? There is a lot that goes into your ID badge. Don’t even get me started on printer choices or we will be here all day. Hopefully this either helped explain why your company does things the way or does or gave you some new ideas for your IDs.