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A Photo ID machine is an easy way to improve your company’s security. Whether you want to create photo IDs or have a way to read the information stored on them, an I D machine can help you secure your building and employees and maintain a professional image.
I.D. machines generally serve one of two different purposes: creating a photo ID or reading the information stored on an ID badge. Machines that create the badges come in many different varieties, with different types of features and security add-ons depending on size, price and need. In order to produce photo ID badges, ID machines work in conjunction with a complete ID card system. These systems, like the machines, come in a variety of types. Generally, ID card systems include the following items:
- Camera – Cameras integrated into an ID card system make it easy to take a photo and immediately apply it to an ID badge. Digital cameras and webcams are the most commonly used cameras for ID systems. Many of these cameras come specially formatted to take photos that do not need to be resized or altered in any way, which streamlines the ID making process.
- Software – Computer software is used to design the ID card and encode any information the card might carry. Software programs generally have the following capabilities:
- Design – A user can create a template for ID cards with a company logo and a background, or choose from a variety of pre-designed templates. Some programs allow users to modify existing templates, some do not.
- Database – Software programs have databases for card holder information and history so that cards can be easily recreated and user information can be stored. Many software programs allow you to import and export information from existing company databases to create cards. Some advanced programs even allow you to interface real-time with your databases in order to maximize efficiency. Some software programs designed for larger operations also allow users to access databases and other information across corporate networks.
- Security features – ID card software programs usually have several different security options available. The ability to encode and print bar codes is nearly universal. The user inputs the information they wish to have in the barcode and the software generates the barcode and places it on the card. Many programs also allow users to embed information in a magnetic stripe on the back of the card, but in order to add this feature, printer must be able to encode magnetic stripes and must print onto a card with a magnetic stripe on the back. This is also the case with RFID chips and smart cards, although only the most advanced programs offer these features. Some software also allows the user to print a hologram or other type of security overlay which is an added layer of security for an ID card. Like magnetic stripes and RFID technology, holographic overlays are a security feature which requires that the printer, card and software to offer holographic features.
- Printer – The printer, or ID machine, is probably the most important element of an ID card system. Printers gather information from the camera and software and print the ID. Types and varieties of printers vary widely due to how often they will be used and the user’s security needs. ID machines can print one or two sided cards; in color, black and white or monochrome; and can have the option to embed magnetic stripes or smart card/RFID information onto cards.
- ID cards - Systems often come with a number of ready-to-print blank ID cards so that you may begin designing and printing cards right away. The most popular variety of cards is made of PVC plastic, and can either come plain for simple photo IDs with bar codes, or the PVC cards can come with magnetic stripes, smart card chips or RFID antennae, or an overlay which is appropriate for holographic cards.
- Accessories – ID card system accessories vary widely from system to system, but commonly include printer ribbons (may be black or color, depending on the printer and system), a printer cleaning kit, and a tripod or a camera mount for taking the ID card photos. Some systems include more advanced photo accessories, like backdrops and lighting tools.
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