Proximity-card technology is one of the most secure technologies available in electronic credentials.

Proximity basically consists of a plastic card or token embedded with an electronic chip. The chip is programmed with a unique alphanumeric code, and includes a small coil of wire that acts as an antenna. The read range for such cards is from 2.5 inches to 20 inches (63.5mm to 508mm).

Proximity cards continue to gain in popularity. In addition to being one of the most secure technology options, proximity cards are also one of the most convenient, particularly for doors since they make hands-free access possible. As proximity cards continue to gain in popularity, their prices also are dropping due to competition among manufacturers.

Customized, Too

Proximity cards are manufactured using PVC or other vinyl materials. Standard cards are plain or can be customized with graphics, printed information and photographs printed directly on the card. An additional level of security can be added to this style of access card using holographic or clear images, which help prevent duplication.

The primary mission of access controls is to provide safety for employees and protection of physical, electronic and information assets. Therefore, access control must be integrated into the daily routine of any operation.

But no matter what type of access control approach, there may be open areas common for various levels of employees, clients, visitors, vendors, maintenance and janitorial services. There also are visitors and vendors who need to gain access to certain facility areas. This could include being escorted or “buzzed” in by a receptionist, or being issued a visitor badge. Once entry is gained, unescorted free rein is possible. So an identification system therefore is, needed to positively define individuals accessing interior areas.

In order for the access card to provide its secondary function as visual identification, it must be worn by the holder of the card, badge or visitor pass. There are many devices for containing and displaying access/identification cards, including lanyards. These devices include lanyards and attachments, badge holders and badge reels. Such accessories are available with custom printing and logos and in a variety of colors.

Access and ID

Access control can have dual purposes: to restrict and control physical access to a facility, building or area, and for employee, staff or visitor identification. The addition of security features such as holograms, clear marks and other devices protects the card and the access control system by rendering the card very difficult to reproduce.

Personalized access card creation systems come from a number of manufacturers.

The systems often include a specialized printer and software to generate the card images and control the printing. Some systems are personal computer-based while others can run along a network with card printers "hanging" off the network where needed. There are some systems designed to issue visitor badges, also.