The benefits of school branded lanyards

 

Branded lanyards are used by all types of organisations to promote unity

School branded lanyards don’t just aid security in terms of identification, they can also help to unite pupils and students by promoting a sense of belonging.

Most schools like the idea of bespoke lanyards branded with the school logo, but the idea is often rejected (or not fully researched) due to concerns about cost.

They’re often viewed as a ‘nice to have’, whereas the reality is, school branded lanyards have a role to play both in terms of security and community.

Security benefits

  • They make it difficult for third parties to ‘blend in’ to the school environment.

Whereas it’s easy for someone to source a standard ‘staff’ or ‘visitor’ lanyard so as not to arouse suspicion, it’s extremely difficult for them to create their own branded one.

  • They make students more visible, both on campus and out of campus.

Apart from the ‘truancy’ benefits, school branded lanyards are also helpful for visibility on school trips or days out.

Let’s not forget the parents here either: surveys show that parents particularly value the security and visibility benefits of school custom lanyards.

Promoting a sense of school community

School custom lanyards also help to boost school spirit amongst teaching staff and pupils, and promote a sense of belonging. Print your school’s logo or mascot and use your school colours to create a lanyard that will be worn with pride.

Great for different classes and school clubs

School custom lanyards are also great for school clubs and organisations, where they give a sense of belonging to a select group.

They’re also a great way to identify specific classes or groups within the school, for example junior students and senior students could have different colours.

By creating a different lanyard for senior students or the sixth form, it’s also far more likely that they’ll be worn without complaint. Junior pupils will ‘aspire’ to having one as they move through the school and the sixth form will be happy to have a visible badge of their seniority.

Then there’s the price point…

The price of bespoke school branded lanyards used to make them accessible only by fee-paying schools with considerable budgets. But the cost is coming down all the time. For example 100 school branded lanyards in a single colour start from just £139.05.

Is it becoming easier for schools to embrace biometric technology?

With Paxton recently announcing the integration of biometrics within its Net2 access control system, is one of the main stumbling block for schools – that of cost – about to be negated?

The argument for and against biometrics within schools and educational establishments has been rife for some time now. For many parents and pupils, the argument against implementing biometric measures such as fingerprint or iris scanning centres around the invasion of privacy.

This, and the fact that they make the act of tracking and monitoring of pupil’s movements and behaviour seem ‘normal’.

For the establishments themselves, there is almost always a financial consideration too. Biometrics technology comes at a cost – not just in terms of the technology itself, but also of the administration time needed to turn it into a reality.

For smaller schools with smaller budgets, these considerations mean it just hasn’t been a realistic topic on the agenda.

But is all that set to change?

One of the most popular access systems used by schools, colleges and institutions around the country is the Paxton Net2 system. The reasons for this are many. It’s competitively priced and easy to install and manage. The associated keyfobs, cards or tokens aren’t expensive either, so ongoing costs are kept at a minimum. In short, Paxton are known for their reliability and for being user friendly, without breaking the bank.

Until very recently, if you wanted to bring biometrics in to school, you would most likely need to invest in an entirely new access system.

However Paxton has just announced that Suprema’s industry leading biometric technology is to be integrated into the Paxton Net2 system.

Which means what exactly?

According to Paxton’s press release, this new integration “seamlessly connects Suprema’s biometric access control readers and Paxton’s Net2software”. It means you’ll be able to ‘plug in’ biometric capabilities into your existing Paxton Net2 software, allowing you to enroll users and create ‘biometric tokens’.

It means that the argument against using biometrics due to financial constraints or heavy administration requirements just lost some ground.

Smaller schools who previously rejected the idea as an impossibility may soon be bringing the subject up again for debate.

Let’s not forget the benefits

Biometrics enable ‘true identity’ – a fingerprint or iris/vein scan can’t be borrowed or copied in the way that an ID card can. Then there’s speed and convenience when it’s used in the library to check out books, for example. And the ‘cool’ factor from the perspective of the pupils – it’s fun to scan your finger to pay for your lunch (and it facilitates equality too, as no-one knows who qualifies for free school meals).

But as with all things of this nature, the implementation of such measures needs to be handled with caution, and with proper consultation with parents.

A piece of research published last year by Big Brother Watch based on data from the 2012-13 academic year revealed that an estimated 40% of schools in England are already using biometric systems. It therefore surmised that fingerprints have already been taken from more than one million school pupils; many without their parents’ consent.

Do you think that the integration of biometric technology into the Net2 system will pave the way for biometric measures being more widely used within schools? Let us know what you think.

Read more at https://www.supremainc.com/en/node/1609

Fluorescent plastic cards & why they’re brilliant

Plastic cards that can’t be ignored – even in the dark

You might not choose lurid fluorescent yellow for your next lot of business cards, but having a card that leaps out at you in the gloom is extremely handy in certain situations.

Bar tabs & cloakroom tags

fluorescent plastic cards
Fluorescent plastic cards stand out & are more difficult to lose

Down you go to the Cellar bar for a much needed gin and tonic.

Then follows a few embarrassing moments scrabbling around trying to locate your bar tab card, eventually resolved by shining your phone camera light into your bag (queue building behind).

Repeat the same process upstairs when you’re trying to pick up your jacket from the cloakroom.

Fluorescent plastic cards are perfect for bars and clubs, making it easy for you – and the bar person – to find them.

We’ve recently printed some bar tab cards for the Club at the House of St Barnabas in London’s Soho because they wanted something that would stand out. Job done.

Theatres/cinemas and any sort of ‘after dark’ show

Same principle applies here really. As well as making great tickets (much easier to check seat numbers in the dark), they’re ideal for staff in these kinds of settings, making them easy to spot.

Festivals

Fluorescent plastic cards are perfect for festivals that stretch into the evenings, for both security staff and festival-goers. They make it much easier to check tickets, identify people and locate the tickets in the first place. That, and a fluorescent audience is going to look kinda cool in the photos.

In the workplace

If you have staff working in lower light situations, fluorescent plastic cards are the ideal platform for health & safety details, helpline numbers or any other important information. Even if it’s not low light, they’ll certainly stand out.

Fotodek fluorescent cards
Available in yellow, orange, green or pink

On school trips

We’ve noticed that schools are using the cards on school outings; their high visibility making it easy to spot and count children.

Promotional use

If there’s a lot of ‘noise’ around you from other companies or brands, for example during Fresher’s Week when you’re trying to promote your offer above everyone else’s, fluorescent plastic cards will help you stand out. They’ll be there shouting ‘look at me! look at me!’ whilst everyone else’s cards are quietly whispering their wares.

Print your own, or have them printed for you

You can buy packs of fluorescent plastic cards for use in your own plastic card printer very inexpensively. We sell 100 Fotodek Fluorescent cards in green, yellow, orange or pink for just £24. These are the same thickness as a standard credit card. We would recommend you print mono on them – ideally black, to get the best results.

However if you’re printing larger quantities, or want to include a magnetic stripe or signature strip, you’re best having them professionally printed. If this is something you’re interested in, please contact our friendly team for a quote.

Biometrics in schools: big win or big brother?

“If you don’t know the password you can’t come in.”

It’s a phrase often heard in school playgrounds up and down the country, as children play games with their friends.

But frankly, passwords could soon be irrelevant if biometrics continue to take off in the way that they have.

A piece of research carried out by Big Brother Watch based on data from the 2012-13 academic year, and published earlier this year, revealed that an estimated 40% of schools in England are using biometric systems. It therefore surmised that fingerprints have already been taken from more than one million school pupils; many without their parents consent.

These fingerprints are the necessary ‘password’ to access many of the school’s services, from paying for their lunch to checking out a library book.

The argument ‘for’

biometrics in schools
One upside can be the increase in library books being checked out

Supporters of using biometrics in schools are quick to point out a number of benefits. The most obvious one being security – a fingerprint can’t be copied or lost in the way that an ID card can. Then there’s the speed and convenience: no more queues at a card scanner when arriving at school or rummaging around for coins, holding everyone up, at lunchtime.

Let’s not forget the ‘cool’ factor in all of this as well. Opponents to fingerprinting in schools tend to be the parents, not the kids themselves, who generally welcome the idea, and look forward to the whole ‘sci-fi’ deal that goes with it.

One of the unexpected benefits was found in the library. Some schools reported a big jump in books being borrowed – the kids liked using the fingerprint scanner so they took out more books. Always having the means to check out a book ‘on them’ meant they were more likely to do so.

The solution also helps to ensure equality at meal times. With everyone using their fingerprint to ‘buy’ their lunch, it’s impossible to tell who qualifies for free school meals, which means no-one is singled out.

The argument against

For all its supporters, there are certainly those who are passionately against the use of biometrics. The concerns range from worries over privacy and the ability to ‘steal’ and misappropriate personal data, to the fact that these systems normalise the act of tracking and monitoring pupil’s behaviour.

Some of those responding to the report released by Big Brother Watch talk about the danger of biometric information lying on a database somewhere, at the mercy of hackers or lost by those clumsy enough to leave a laptop on a train. Biometrics providers are quick to point out that records of the actual fingerprint aren’t stored; rather it is encrypted into a series of digits. This is what’s used to confirm ID against the fingerprint presented.

One comment, left by Anonymous, sums up the concerns around privacy in the future:

Future generations will not have any privacy or know what it is like to have privacy if we do not stop the erosion of privacy now… Yes it might be easier for kids to provide a fingerprint to get a library book out now but can they really be sure that it won’t come back to bite them in the future removing any possibilities of choice and privacy that they might want?”

The Freedom of Information Act

One of Big Brother Watch’s major issues is the fact that as many as 31% of the fingerprints were taken without gaining consent from the parents. With the introduction of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, which was passed in 2013, this should be a thing of the past.

The legal framework states that colleges and schools must follow these rules for biometric recognition systems:

– For all pupils in schools and colleges under 18, they must obtain the written consent of a parent before they take and process their child’s biometric data.

– They must treat the data with appropriate care and must comply with data protection principles as set out in the Data Protection Act 1998.

– They must provide alternative means for accessing services where a parent or pupil has refused consent.

A moot point for many schools

Let’s not forget that installing a biometric system doesn’t come cheap, so it simply won’t be realistic within some school’s budgets. But for those who can afford it, what will be the real price?

You can read the full Big Brother Watch report here

Does your school use a biometric solution? What kind of feedback have you had from parents and the children themselves? We’d love to know what you think.

Paxton Net2 new v5 software: perfect for one-off events

At The Card Network, we sell more Paxton Net2 Keyfobs, cards and readers than any other manufacturer – by quite a margin. The Paxton Net2 access control system continues to be one of the most popular in the country, especially amongst schools.

Paxton Net2 cards
Paxton Net2 access control is more flexible than before

And with the launch of their new v5 software, the Paxton Net2 just got smarter and more flexible.

So what’s new?

–   Grant temporary access to workers

This will be good news for users who have shift workers or contractors that need access to the building for specific periods of time.

–   One-off time period feature for special events

Set temporary access permissions to a specific door, for as long (or as short) as you need to. This ‘custom days’ feature also makes it easy to modify access for special events or one-off occasions, such as a parents evening at school or a client entertainment / presentation after work. When the time allocated elapses, the system reverts back to its original privileges set-up. NB: this is only available on the Pro version of the software.

–    New Landlord Tenant feature

This new feature ensures that certain users only have access to relevant areas of the Net2 system, and only control the access levels pertinent to them. For example, department heads will only be able to view the information of their own staff, rather than those in other departments. (Again, this is only available on the Pro version).

Other features of the new Paxton Net2 software include:

–          Triggering actions such as turning on a light when a door is opened

–          Customising how long a door remains open for – catering to the needs of disabled users for example, or for delivery people who need extra time

–          The use of the ‘double tap trigger’ – present a token twice in quick succession to trigger an action

–          The ability to automatically reset the fire alarm.

As you’d expect from Paxton, the software is intuitive: easy to use and get around. Paxton reckons you can confidently have it up and running in two hours.

There is free Paxton Net2 Training available – see here for more information.

Watch the Paxton cartoon on YouTube for a fast & easy to absorb picture on the features.

 

Printed Mifare cards now available

 

Genuine mifare cards printed
Choose from a range of options and security features on your printed Mifare cards

The Card Network now provides double-sided print on Mifare Classic 1K and 4k chip cards.

This new printing service offers businesses, schools and organisations the flexibility to brand their printed Mifare cards, and choose from a range of features including numbering, variable text, signature panels, barcodes, as well as encoded & unencoded magnetic stripes.

Why use printed Mifare cards?

Mifare cards use NXP-Semiconductors trademarked chips, which are widely used in contactless smart cards and proximity cards. Thanks to their reliability and low cost, the cards are used by all kinds of organisations for different applications.

Printed Mifare cards are commonly used for access control, ticketing, transportation and as a smart ‘wallet’

Schools and colleges commonly choose printed Mifare cards because they’re capable of many functions. As well as being used for access control (for entry to the library for example) they can also be used for cashless vending (where a student ‘swipes’ for their lunch), to check out library books, or to access the computer system.

Printed Mifare cards are also well suited to environments where a low level of security is required. Sports clubs often use them as a means of allowing members to enter the locker rooms, and because they can also allow them to access their account at the bar.

The cards also act as perfect tickets – use them as season membership cards for example, and swipe them to get through the turnstile at a football match. They’re also widely used by transport providers as electronic tickets.

Genuine chips, high quality print

All the cards we supply contain genuine NXP Mifare chips: we don’t sell compatibles from the Far East. Our modern print set up doesn’t use surface print, so both the card and chip remain safe under the laminate overlay.

The chips in the card are supplied unencoded. If you have any special requirements for your printed Mifare cards, or you’re not sure which type to order, please get in touch and we’ll be happy to discuss your project. All our prices include design and artwork.

250 full colour, double-sided 1K printed Mifare cards start from £399.00.

 

Proud to still provide printed ID cards

As more ID card suppliers in the UK switch to offering card printers only, The Card Network continues to offer printed ID cards in quantities as small as 10.

Supporting small enterprises and charities

Printed plastic ID card
Our high quality ID cards start in packs of 10

Many of the people who buy our ID card packs are charities, who need small numbers of ID cards for their collectors or fundraisers. Our packs of 25 or 50 cards are also popular with smaller companies and primary schools that want to badge their staff.

Neither has the money to invest in costly card printers. Whereas larger organisations with a regular need for ID cards may benefit from a plastic card printer, the return on investment simply isn’t there for the smaller player. We don’t believe you should be penalised for your size, which is why we continue to offer small runs of ID cards.

Use only what you need and ‘bank’ the rest for later

All our ID card packs also come with our ‘card bank’. This means we only print the number of cards you need now, then save the rest until you need them. So if you only need 17 ID cards at the moment, buy the 25 card pack and you can call on the remaining 8 ID cards throughout the year. You can ‘call off’ the remaining cards as many times as you like – the only charge will be a new posting fee.

10 ID cards, clips & card holders start from just £93.09. We can also add signature panels or magnetic stripe for extra security from as little as £1 extra. Our prices also include design & artworking – simply send us your details and we’ll do the rest.

The Card Network is committed to supporting small enterprise. We supply our high quality, low cost ID cards to schools, colleges, healthcare organisations, charities and companies all over the country.


 

School custom lanyards boost school spirit

School custom lanyards don’t just aid security in terms of identification, they can also help to unite pupils and students by promoting a sense of belonging.

Custom printed school lanyard
Increase security & foster a sense of belonging at the same time

If you’ve been tasked with re-stocking the shelves with school lanyards, don’t just default to the standard ones before you’ve considered the benefits of custom designed.

School custom lanyards aren’t as expensive as you might think and have a number of benefits. Along with school ID cards, they help with identification and security. They make students more visible for a start, and whereas it’s easy for a third party to source a standard ‘staff’ or ‘student’ lanyard to blend in, it’s extremely difficult for them to create their own branded one.

They’re also a great way to identify specific classes or groups within the school, for example junior students and senior students could have different colours.

Let’s not forget the parents here either: surveys show that parents particularly value the security and visibility benefits of school custom lanyards.

Promote a sense of school community

School custom lanyards also help to boost school spirit amongst teaching staff and pupils. Print your school’s logo or mascot and use your school colours to create a lanyard that can be worn with pride.

By creating a different lanyard for senior students or the sixth form, it’s also far more likely that they’ll be worn without complaint. Junior pupils will ‘aspire’ to having one as they move through the school and the sixth form will be happy to have a visible badge of their seniority.

School custom lanyards are also great for school clubs and organisations, where they give a sense of belonging to a select group.

500 school custom lanyards designed to your own specification start from just £252.00.

 

Safeguarding with school ID cards: Deyes High School

All schools have a responsibility to provide a secure and safe environment for pupils, staff and visitors. Pupils need to feel safe, parents need to be confident that procedures are in place to safeguard their children and staff need to feel that everything has been done to make the working environment a safe place to work.

But this doesn’t mean putting up expensive security barriers or other costly access systems – a lot can be achieved through common sense and by investing in some cost-effective paper or card solutions.

School ID cards help to improve security

Many primary and secondary schools are now looking into printing school ID cards for staff and pupils. As well as improving security by identifying the wearer and whether they have the right to access the building, school ID cards also promote a sense of community.

Deyes High School in Liverpool saw the benefits of school ID cards back in 2010. They contacted us in the early part of the year about the best way to print ID cards in-house, when they needed to.

We recommended a Pronto printer with the right software to help them easily and quickly print school ID cards throughout the year. As promoting the community of the school was also important to them, they also had some custom lanyards printed with their own branding and school colours – something that parents in particular always appreciate.

The following year, Deyes High School upgraded their entry-level plastic card printer to the Evolis Dualysis printer – capable of much more powerful performance, and continue to order consumables from us.

A different look for sixth form

Custom printed lanyards don’t just help to unite the school together; they also act as a visual identification. Deyes High School ordered some custom lanyards in 2011 specifically for their sixth form students – making it easy to identify pupils from a distance.

100 custom printed lanyards, printed to your own design start from just £130.20.

Search our range of school ID cards or plastic card printer packages.

The future of school ID cards?

A new integrated smart ID card solution has been developed by Multicard in Australia specifically for the education market.

Rather than allowing schools, colleges and other Education providers to just verify the identity of a student as most school ID cards do, it also tracks and reports attendance; acts as a library card; takes payment as a cashless vending card; controls access to school/campus services and even validates students’ exam papers.

The card uses contactless smart card technologies, making it easy for pupils and students to use, and for administrators to connect with their existing databases and produce new IDs.

Can we expect this to roll out across our schools and Universities?

School ID card
Turn your school ID card into a smartcard

You might be thinking Big Brother, especially in terms of being able to track a student’s whereabouts, but do the pros outweigh the cons?

Multicard clearly thinks so. They gathered the views of several Universities during development, to understand what they want from the system. They are encouraging institutions to upgrade from their regular school ID cards to this more personalised, powerful solution that enhances security and could make falsified exam papers a thing of the past.

The solution can be located anywhere on school or college premises through a mobile application, which means an ID check can be set up outside an exam room or lecture theatre for example.

Would it benefit your school?

We’re interested to know if you think this solution would benefit your school or college. Do you have school ID cards at the moment? Do you see the need? Is verifying the identity of students at exam time a key attraction?

If you’re interested in creating school ID cards which can also act as an access control card or cashless vending card, please give us a call.

For more information see www.multicard.com.au