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The use of ID cards has grown steadily in recent years, expanding to a variety of new industries and applications. Part of this increase is due to a heightened need for security, but it also has a lot to do with improved ID card technology. Today's ID cards can range from simple photo IDs, to highly sophisticated smart cards with embedded electronics and a range of functions and security features.
Some of the more common ID card applications include student IDs, employee badges, membership and loyalty cards, gift cards and government IDs. If you open your wallet right now, it's likely you'll find multiple ID cards – a driver's license, maybe a health club card, a student ID, and perhaps a loyalty card for a retail shop or grocery store. And that's just a conservative guess. You might have more!
Over the years, the potential functionality of these cards has increased significantly. Consider student ID cards, for instance. On university campuses, students IDs have been commonplace for quite sometime. Originally serving simply as a form of photo identification, theses cards can now be used for such applications as cashless payment, library and equipment checkout, operating laundry machines, and even secure keyless entry to dormitories and campus buildings.
Employee ID cards offer another good example of improved card technology. Many companies now issue employee ID cards that identify workers and also integrate with access control systems, both for office buildings as well as company computers and networks. These types of multifunctional employee badges commonly use either proximity card or smart card technology.
ID Card Printers and Photo ID Systems
In order to produce professional ID cards, it takes a special type of printer – one designed specifically to print on durable PVC cards. ID card printers range from basic entry-level models for low-volume card applications, to robust printers with advanced encoding technologies for high-volume, high-security card programs. Some of the more respected manufacturers in the card printer industry include Fargo, Zebra,Magicard, Evolis, and Datacard.
Photo ID systems include a professional ID card printer along with ID card software, a digital camera, printing supplies and accessories. All of these elements are crucial to properly maintaining an ID card program. A basic photo ID system will typically include a single-sided entry-level card printer along with supplies and user-friendly software for designing and managing cards and cardholder information. A premium ID card system will include a more advanced card printer that can handle higher-volume printing and additional security features, along with sophisticated ID card software, and supplies.
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