Affordable, Easy-to-Use Solutions
Advances in card identity systems — from the cards themselves to card printer/encoders to ID management software — are making sophisticated ID systems more accessible to end users from both a cost and usability standpoint.
“The nature of IDs has changed dramatically in recent years,” says Tami Heimer, photo ID coordinator at VTI Security Integrators in Burnsville, Minn. “When I started at VTI 13 years ago, it used to be a Polaroid photo laminated on a piece of cardboard. The cards have evolved to do much more.”
Today’s technology cards allow integration of multiple functions into a single card. Personalizing that card with a photo increases security through visual identification. Security may be further enhanced through the addition of visual security solutions such as holographic foil stamps and holographic overlaminates.
Card printers and integrated printer/encoders are smaller and more affordable than ever. Further, systems are virtually plug-and-play, utilizing standard connectivity such as USB and Ethernet, so installation is a snap.
ID software has become equally advanced and affordable. Evaluate the available programs to determine which ones employ the most intuitive interfaces, to assure you can meet customer expectations for ease-of-use and reduce the need for training. Also, make available a full spectrum of software options — from basic to sophisticated — to match customer needs for database size, multiple location issuance, digital encoding, etc.
In the past, many small to midsized organizations may have gone outside to a service bureau for card issuance. However, card ID system affordability and ease of use are empowering organizations to manage their own card systems more effectively.
“We may act as service bureau for a customer who is launching a new program and needs to issue a large number of cards up front, but the long-term goal is to evolve the customer toward self-sufficiency. It just makes more sense for us and for them,” Rohleder says.
Sell Clients on AdDED Features
Most integrators will find the barriers to entry into the photo ID arena are relatively small. Current customers and prospects will offer plenty of opportunities. If your customer has a physical security system in place, they are likely already using cards. Integrators simply need to convert customers to the added security and efficiency that a comprehensive card identity system offers.
Assessing customer needs for a card identity system will follow a line of inquiry that is probably very similar to the assessment integrators currently follow for broader security solutions (see sidebar). Your manufacturer and distributor representatives can offer turnkey card identity system solutions, and are your best resource for guidance, training and sales support.
Most manufacturers of card printer/encoders back their confidence in the reliability of their hardware with warranties of two years or more. So don’t expect adding card identity systems to place significant additional demands on your service team.
Finally, prepare to train at least one staff member as your dedicated expert on card identity systems, including an understanding of effective graphic design for ID cards. “Don’t overlook the importance of card design and production quality,” says Heimer. “Each employee has to carry that badge around all day long. It is important that the card delivers a positive representation of both the employee and the organization.”
If you are looking for additional revenue opportunities, now is the time to add card identity systems to your customer solutions. Most integrators will find it fits seamlessly into their current mix of security solutions, adding not only project revenue, but the potential for high-margin recurring revenue along with stronger, more effective customer relationships.
Apryl Erickson is Director of North American Sales, Secure Issuance, for Fargo products at HID Global. She can be contacted at (952) 941-9470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Card Identity Systems