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Contactless technologies used in safes, lockers

by Admin 10. October 2012 14:51

Contactless ID cards are gaining momentum across a number of industries. While the accessories are becoming well known to educational facilities and access control, the list of possible uses is nearly limitless. In addition to being used for traditional building entry, many lockers, safes, cabinets and other storage containers are beginning to be incorporated with electronic access control systems that can be opened with proper credentials.

The Unified Fire Authority in Salt Lake City recently implemented such devices when the organization needed to securely store and track the narcotics carried by its firefighters and paramedics, according to a report by Contactless News.

"We know who enters the safe, when they open and close it, so we have exact documentation of everybody who goes into and out of the safe," said Mike Bohling, captain of the Unified Fire Authority, according to Contactless News.

In addition to ensuring only authorized individuals can open sensitive storage containers, access control tools using ID cards also make it so decision-makers don't have to worry about losing keys, contactless access control expert Mike Mahon told the news source.

"Replacing lost master keys can cost thousands up to hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on the size of the facility," Mahon said. "With these, you never have to rekey the facility and you can control and restrict zones 24 hours a day."

A separate report by Global Industry Analysts forecast the market for worldwide electronic access control to generate more than $14 billion in revenue by 2017. As the technology continues to mature and evolve in the coming years, it will likely be leveraged in a range of industries, enhancing the security of physical assets in a wide variety of ways.

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Princeton University adds access control to individual dorm rooms

by Admin 10. October 2012 14:49

Princeton University in New Jersey recently implemented a new access control system throughout dormitories that gives individuals the ability to use their contactless student ID cards to gain entry to their specific rooms. Previously, pupils used the same program to enter the building, but this will be the first time it is used for access to their bedrooms, according to a report by CR80 News.

"The housing department wanted something more robust," said Keith Tuccillo, system administrator for life safety and security systems at Princeton, according to CR80 News. "This is to avoid students choosing 1-2-3-4 as their PIN."

The ID cards are unique in another fashion, as the devices communicate directly with the lock to determine if a specific badge is permitted entry, which eliminates the need to connect with a centralized database during transactions, the news source said. This also allows the cards to carry data from one reader to another, so if an individual's access privileges are taken away, he or she cannot use the device anywhere.

This revoking technique is different from traditional access control systems that would communicate with readers online and, as a result, may not be able to prevent entry in locations that are temporarily offline, CR80 News noted.

A separate report by Blackboard said that contactless ID cards are becoming increasingly popular in colleges and universities around the country, as the devices are more convenient and easier to use for students, faculty and staff members. By implementing an advanced access control system using these accessories, decision-makers may be able to make communities safer, which is always among their top priorities as administrators.

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New Hampshire works to equip voters with valid ID

by Admin 9. October 2012 10:20

Officials in New Hampshire are preparing for the early November presidential election by ensuring all goes smoothly with the new voter ID law, according to a published report.

People who are eligible to cast ballots and whose names are on a checklist of voters but do not have the appropriate form of identification now are able to pick up a voucher that enables them to acquire a complimentary voter ID card at the office of their city or town clerk, The New Hampshire Union Leader reports.

With Election Day being four weeks from today, the voucher can be swapped for a special voter identification card at motor vehicle offices in the state.

"This is an opportunity for those voters whose names appear on the checklist but do not otherwise have an acceptable form of photo ID to be able to obtain one at no charge from the state of New Hampshire," deputy attorney general David Scanlan said while announcing the voucher program, according to the publication.

Earlier this year the New Hampshire Legislature passed new election law changes that require use of the vouchers.

Following a visit to the motor vehicles office, the voucher is swapped for a temporary identification card. Sometime within the next 14 days the actual photo card will arrive, which underscores the importance of acting quickly in order to enable voting on November 6.

There is a difference between non-driver's license photo identification cards and the voter ID cards; their appearance and purposes are different.

"The intent is that this card be used only for voting purposes," the deputy attorney general said.

The Associated Press reports New Hampshire accepts driver's licenses; a non-driver photo identification card issued by the state; a valid photo identification distributed by the federal, state, county and municipal governments; and a photo identification card termed valid by election officials.

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Voter ID issue centers on Minnesota vets

by Admin 8. October 2012 10:18

Efforts are well underway in Minnesota to present veterans on the forefront of the proposed voter identification issue – both for and against the debate as the general election is roughly four weeks away, according to a published report.

Supporters of the measure are relying on veterans as the public face of preserving integrity during elections, Minnesota Public Radio reports. But those who resist the proposal are noting the challenges that veterans are likely to face when they attempt to vote.

A 91-year-old veteran of World War Two is cited in an advertisement of Protect My Vote, an organization that supports the measure. Robert McWhite was a prisoner of war in Europe and discusses defense of the U.S. and what it stands for.

"Nothing is more central to America's success than the right to vote," the Minneapolis resident says during the 30-second advertisement, according to the news source. "That's why I'm supporting the effort to protect that right by showing photo ID."

But opponents of the measure say it poses a threat against soldiers' capacities to cast ballots.

Spokeswoman Greta Bergstrom with the anti-amendment campaign Our Vote Our Future said the ad with McWhite makes the issue sound simpler than it actually is.

The ad also does not inform voters that it could assemble procedures that serve as obstacles for voting by service members.

"We know that there are over 11,500 military and other overseas voters that are in this position overseas that absolutely rely on and depend on mail-in balloting," the spokeswoman told the news source. "If this amendment actually were to pass, their ability to self-certify their absentee ballot will actually go away."

Minnesota Daily reports a debate late last week at Metropolitan State University featured individuals who argued both sides of the issue.

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Process of acquiring ID cards simplified for U.S. service members, families

by Admin 5. October 2012 11:49

Members of the U.S. military and their loved ones should have an easier time acquiring identification cards, according to a published report.

The American Forces Press Service reports the Defense Manpower Data Center has unveiled Real-time Automated Personnel Identification System, which is a self-service method of permitting members of the service and the reserves who are equipped with a common access card to apply for identification cards.

More colloquially known as RAPIDS, the program also allows for easy updates to online status of dependents.

As many as 3.7 million members of the service are eligible to use the new program, according to the U.S. Department of Defense.

"The idea is to try to make life easier for our military members, their families and for veterans," director Mary Dixon with RAPIDS told reporters during a conference call. She said the center "has been working for some time now to try to improve and transform our whole ID card application process so people can do things online and not spend long hours going to a site and waiting to be seen."

She said some people have greatly suffered while waiting in line to get identification cards.

Prior to the new program, members of the service, retirees and their families had no choice but to go to a Defense Manpower Data Center together to solicit an application form.

They then had to patiently wait during construction of the identification card.

"This is big project," the director said. "It takes away time from your work, and if you are separated - maybe the spouse is out on a ship or on deployment or your child is away at college - it makes it a huge problem."

A military identification card helps people get on base, enter the commissary, access child care and get healthcare, according to military.com.

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Texas academic system works toward generating new student IDs

by Admin 4. October 2012 13:50

Texas schools have laid plans to upgrade student identification cards, an administrator with the system told a news source on Wednesday.

Additional features like attendance verification and the capacity to access GoPrint Services are under exploration and forecast to cost $106,000, finance and fiscal services associate vice chancellor Pamela Ansboury with Alamo Colleges told The Ranger.

The system will have to generate identification cards for roughly 65,000 individuals. The newly released identification cards serve as a replacement for Alamo Cash cards and enable students to get to their money by pulling money from an ATM.

The student identification cards presently in use have the encoding of students' Banner numbers, which permits confirmation as to if the student is enrolled in the school. The Banner number also enables a student to borrow books from libraries in the college system.

The use of the ID cards will aid the district with requirements outlined by the U.S. Department of Education, district comptroller Ann DeBarros told the news source. The federal agency decides how to award aid to the district.

"So if we had an attendance method of tracking attendance, we could more clearly track when a student stops attending, withdraws, all their classes, and adjust the financial aid accordingly," the district comptroller told the news source.

The associate vice chancellor said the student identification cards are projected to be used for GoPrint services. But she noted that process has not advanced very rapidly thus far.

She also said that it remains unclear when this step will be implemented.

"It is on the project plan," Ansboury told the news source. "We haven't rolled that out yet because we need to stabilize some things before we add other functionalities."

The five colleges of the Alamo System include San Antonio, St. Philip's, Palo Alto, Northeast Lakeview and Northwest Vista, according to the website. The schools offer associate degrees, certificates and licensures in occupational programs.

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Pennsylvania judge throws out voter ID law

by Admin 3. October 2012 11:39

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is not required to enforce voter identification laws at this November's general election but the state will be permitted to implement the controversial law next year, a judge ruled on Tuesday.

Exactly five weeks prior to Election Day, Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson based his decision on two days of testimony, The Associated Press reports. The ruling also arrived after the State of Pennsylvania attempted to ease the process of acquiring an identification card that enables voters to cast ballots.

Simpson heard about driver's license centers with long queues and misinformed clerks as well as identification requirements that make the process more difficult for some registered voters to acquire a photo identification card issued by the state.

Bloomberg reports the law could cause confusion at the polls on November 6, when the nation decides between re-electing Democratic President Barack Obama for a second term or replacing him with Republican challenger Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts.

Poll workers still may request voters to present identification cards, Bloomberg reports.

But voters who do not have an identification card may still cast ballots, which will be counted in the election.

"While we're happy that voters in Pennsylvania will not be turned away if they do not have an ID, we are concerned that the ruling will allow election workers to ask for ID at the polls and this could cause confusion," states an email to Bloomberg authored by co-director Penda D. Hair with advocacy group The Advancement Project. "This injunction serves as a mere Band-Aid for the law's inherent problems, not an effective remedy."

Advocates of the voter ID law argue it helps stave off threats to the integrity of general elections while opponents believe it has the potential to disenfranchise legitimate voters who do not have the necessary identification card.

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NFC access control systems invade college campuses

by Admin 2. October 2012 13:42

Keeping students, faculty and staff members safe is among the top priorities for higher education facilities. For this reason, among others, many colleges around the United States are deploying advanced access control systems that use near-field communications technologies.

The University of San Francisco and Villanova University in Pennsylvania are just two of the many academic organizations embracing NFC-enabled access control systems, according to a report by CR80 News. These schools, like others, have transformed personal smartphones and other gadgets into ID cards by turning the gadgets into identity authentication tools.

"NFC is the wave of the future. Students need their smart card and their smartphone to get through the day. Why not make them the same?" said Jason Rossi, the director of the University of San Francisco's One Card and Campus Security System, according to CR80 News. "Our students are very tech savvy, so we knew this would be right up their alley."

How NFC is changing access control
In the past, access control systems needed complicated ID badges to authenticate a user's identity. While this is still the case, the rapid adoption of mobile devices is allowing organizations to change how these badges are presented, transforming them from traditional smartcards to personal smartphones, tablets and other gadgets.

By leveraging NFC-enabled access control systems, companies can improve physical security while simultaneously boosting service and user satisfaction, CR80 News noted.

"It increases security by acting as a de facto tool for secure access and transactions," Rossi said, according to the news source. "It improves service because students enjoy the convenience of using their phones instead of their cards. And we project it will reduce costs by reducing the number of lost cards, meaning we won't have to carry as extensive an inventory of replacement smart cards."

A separate report by Frost & Sullivan confirmed the growing adoption of NFC-enabled smartphones, noting that there will be more than 83 million devices, or approximately 53 percent of the overall market, using NFC technologies by 2015.

As mobile technologies continue to evolve and become more intuitive, the gadgets will likely embrace NFC technologies more fluently in the coming years, allowing educational facilities and a wide range of other industries to implement advanced access control systems.

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Chicago university mandates new IDs

by Admin 2. October 2012 13:35

All members of a Chicago school's community are mandated to acquire new identification cards, according to a published report.

Students, staff and faculty members at Roosevelt University must go to the Office of the Registrar so they may get the cards that will allow access to two buildings, the Wabash and the Auditorium, The Roosevelt Torch reports.

University registrar Sheila Coffin told the news source that the effort is being spearheaded by the office of Campus Safety and Transportation.

"The need for controlled access to the Wabash Building student residences and controlled access to the new Pharmacy College facilities in Schaumburg led to the adoption of the new smart ID cards," the university registrar told the news source.

Students may hold on to their old identification cards but those are not equipped with technology that permits access to the buildings.

The new cards must be acquired by November 1, but that deadline is hinging on other factors, the registrar said.

"Students, faculty and staff without the new ID cards after Nov. 1 will only be able to access the building by checking in with the security personnel," she told the news source. "The ... deadline is somewhat tentative depending on the installation schedule of the turnstiles in the Michigan Avenue lobby."

Policy at the school requires students to carry an identification card during their entire stay at the school.

The cards should not be defaced, exposed to magnetic fields or used by anyone other than the bearer.

"The ID card is the property of Roosevelt University and must be presented upon the request of an appropriate university official and may be revoked at any time by the university," the registrar told the news source.

Roosevelt University offers 126 degree programs, according to the school's website.

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California county prepares to distribute veteran IDs

by Admin 1. October 2012 09:32

A California county will begin distributing identification cards that allow veterans and military retirees reduced prices on various goods and services, according to a published report.

The Veteran Discount ID cards are available from the Solano County Veterans Services Office and local businesses are expressing gratitude for their military service and drawing their business, according to The Reporter.

But some veterans indicated they encountered challenges acquiring ID cards, particularly after they served short periods of time in the military.

"In the past, the only way veterans could prove their military service was to show their DD Form 214," officer Ted Puntillo with the Solano County Veterans Services told the news source. "That's too precious of a document to carry around in your wallet. The Veteran Discount ID card solves that problem."

The ID cards will be ready for distribution next month. At least 40,000 U.S. veterans reside in the county and the office Puntillo serves is expecting sizable interest.

The military ID cards will be available for pick up from October 9 through October 12.

"This is an innovative way to connect veterans to vet friendly businesses," Puntillo told the news source. "We are also hoping to introduce veterans to the many other benefits they earned by serving their country."

Honorably discharged veterans may acquire the ID card by bringing a copy of their DD Form 214 and cards will be available shortly thereafter.

Members of the community, organizations that serve veterans and local merchants are covering expenses and costs associated with production of the cards.

Solano County is located midway between San Francisco and Sacramento and has been repeatedly recognized as having strong future prospects by the America's Promise Alliance, according to the County website.

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