EE is the UK’s most advanced digital communications company and was the first in Britain to offer superfast 4G services alongside fibre broadband. EE run the EE, Orange and T-Mobile brands and deliver to over 27 million customers. The Card Network started working with EE back in July 2011, when they were still known as Everything Everywhere.
EE were looking for a supplier they could trust to deliver the right access control cards and consumables, so they contacted us. In July 2011, we supplied them with 2000 TDSi microcards and new printer ribbons for their plastic card printer.
At the end of December 2011, EE came back to us for corporate format HID cards. Over the next six months, we were to supply more TDSi cards, HID cards and printer consumables such as ribbons and card printing software.
Superfast broadband needed superfast delivery
In July 2012 they contacted us with a new request. With the official launch of EE and the UK’s first 4G mobile network scheduled for a few months time, all staff were going to need new access control cards. We sourced them a combined HID card that would combine several access control cards into one.
We ensured that all 12,000 HID cards and consumables were with EE well in advance of the launch of the new brand and continue to supply them on an ongoing basis.
The sheer number of access control readers and cards on the market can make choosing one bewildering. What type of reader system should you choose? Which manufacturer? What type of card or token?
The answer depends on what you want the system to do. Are you looking to simply upgrade from your traditional lock and key system, or do you want something more sophisticated, to grant different access rights to your staff for example? For some help on where to start read our blog ‘Which Access control cards system do I need?’.
One of the most common questions we’re asked is about the differences of the different access control cards. In this blog we’ll look at the Proximity Card.
How Proximity cards work
As their name suggests, Proximity cards contain information that can be detected by an access control reader when the card is near them. For the technology minded of you, each proximity card has an antenna embedded within it that transmits information encoded as a radio signal. ID badges of this kind are also called RFID or ‘Radio Frequency Identification’ cards. A proximity card reader positioned between 2.5 and 20 inches (depending on the model chosen) receives this signal and grants or denies access accordingly. Unlike contactless smart cards, proximity cards do not have the ability to have new information written onto them.
Who uses Proximity cards?
Proximity cards are often the first choice for organisations that need to restrict entry into particular areas, particularly large businesses with multiple sites. Only card holders with the right access rights will be granted entry. Proximity cards can also bring an added level of security when used hand-in-hand with ID card software. ID information about the card holder that is stored on a microchip is transmitted in a radio wave – this then appears on a computer screen to verify the pass holder’s identity.
The entrances and exits of the card holder can then be logged into a computer database, providing a record of who was in a specific area at any given time.
For these reasons, proximity cards are often used by businesses and institutions that work with sensitive information or significant sums of money, e.g. government buildings, military bases, hospitals, banks, credit card companies and insurance companies. Proximity cards are also used by schools for student and employee ID cards.
The next level of security
You can also invest in software that will immediately notify company security if an attempt is made to enter an area with an unauthorized proximity access card. Other software is available that protects your computer network by detecting invasions from unauthorised computer databases.
We stock proximity cards, keyfobs and tokens from the leading manufacturers: Paxton, HID, Bewator,TDSi, Pac, Cotag, Indala and Kantech. We also stock GenTech access products, which are lower priced compatibles that work across multiple platforms.
Security is always at the forefront of the school agenda, and never more so than recently. More educational establishments are embracing the many benefits presented by access control reader systems in terms of identifying and controlling who enters their buildings. In most cases this means presenting staff and pupils with access control key cards, fobs or tokens – which often double up as ID cards.
Biometrics offers more security and peace of mind
Some institutions are now looking at increasing the level of protection offered by access control solutions, and that search inevitably leads them towards biometrics.
Installing a biometrics system is an obvious choice for schools in many ways: it negates the threat of stolen or lost tokens, it prevents the misuse of entry cards and ‘tail gaiting’ and on a simple level, does away with the ‘But I forgot my card/fob today’ scenario. In simple terms, a system employing biometrics prevents entry to anyone who doesn’t have a right to be there.
So why aren’t more schools going down the biometrics route?
The Protection of Freedoms Act
The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 (which comes into force in September 2013) makes that decision a great deal trickier. Under the terms of the Act, schools and colleges will need to notify and gain consent from parents if they intend to use and store their children’s biometric information. But pupils themselves will also be able to refuse to participate, even if their parents have consented.
This new legislation applies to the storing of biometric information such as fingerprints, eye retinas and irises, voice patterns, facial patterns and hand measurements.
Where a pupil or parent refuses consent, the school/college will have to provide an alternative. Which means they could end up with a mix of security systems in place: not ideal for administration or equality, not to mention the bottom line.
Access control manufacturers such as TDSi see this as an opportunity for education providers rather than a threat. They regard it as an opportunity to future-proof security systems and offer real choice. They advocate a multi-format access control reader that (as the name suggests) offers multi format security options (biometric, token or pin). Doing so means there will be choice now and in the future as the security market continues to rapidly develop.
Schools and colleges will need to weigh up the pros and cons for themselves, and see if biometrics is the right route.