The answer might not be as simple as you think.
Access control systems are a huge asset for many businesses, but there are several things to consider when choosing your components. Be sure to articulate your needs to your security adviser. Let’s talk a little about one particular access control component: the access cards.
Beyond shape and style, cards come in a variety of formats. The two we deal with most often are HID prox and iCLASS cards.
A standard prox(imity) card holds just one piece of information – an identifying code (which sometimes includes a facility code). A reader sends that information back to a computer that matches the code with an access level and, if the information matches, the user is granted access.
An iCLASS (or smart) card carries with it a little more information and they do it more securely. Data transmitted between the card and the reader is encrypted using an algorithm so it changes every time. And while these cards can be used as proximity cards, they can also be used for biometric authentication, cashless vending, ticketing, loyalty programs, and more.
With everything an iCLASS card can do, why would you even want a standard prox card? In short – they’re cost effective and, almost always, suit the needs of the average access control user. Most facilities won’t need the additional functionality of a smart card. But, if you think you might – even in the future – it will definitely be more cost effective to keep that in mind as you’re contemplating your installation. Prox and iCLASS cards use different readers.
Access control systems have a lot options and there’s no doubt that there are system configurations that are right for you whether you’re a one door user or a multi-facility user. We’ll talk more about the various components of these systems in the future. Keep an eye out for articles tagged access control for more information.