What a campus needs to know when migrating to contactless or mobile credentials
Printing methods: Reverse Transfer vs. Direct-to-Card (DTC)
With contactless cards, it is recommended to use reverse transfer type printers to reduce the risk of ghosted images where the chip is located. Reverse transfer printers print to a thin film instead of directly onto the card surface like direct-to-card (DTC) printers. DTC printers can still be used to print contactless cards, but it is advisable to use pre-printed cards or modify your artwork so that it doesn’t include the chip location.
ID software: Does your ID software support contactless cards?
Typically with contactless cards, the ID software must be matched to the printing platform for encoding high frequency chips. For instance, if you have a Fargo printer you will most likely need to use AsureID to encode the cards or capture the pre-encoded numbers in the printer (although there are some exceptions). The same is true for other manufacturers. Also, your Campus Card Integrator may only support a certain type of ID software and printer for card issuance.
Probably the most important factor when migrating your campus to contactless is to keep the future in mind. You will want to choose a platform that will provide the greatest ability to keep your campus secure well into the future.
The latest technologies include AES encryption or asymmetric encryption utilizing digital certificates. These encryption methods provide added security and, to date, have no known vulnerabilities. Some manufacturers are even providing solutions that can be updated in the field if the encryption methods are ever compromised.
Choose a platform that will allow you to utilize mobile credentials in the future as most students are now carrying smart phones. In the past year we have seen a steady adoption of mobile solutions and we believe that will continue to increase in 2016. There are many mobile solutions available utilizing NFC, Bluetooth Low-Energy and Geo-Location.
Beginning a contactless migration can be a manageable and straightforward process when you have the proper knowledge and assistance. Organize a plan to get your necessary stakeholders on board, understand your technology options and determine any constraints that are in place with other third party hardware and software products. From there, choose a technology partner that is knowledgeable in the latest identification platforms who can both help guide you through the process and is vendor neutral yet vendor experienced.