10 questions to consider before buying a card printer or photo ID system
- How are your photo ID cards going to be used?
- Will your card be part of an access control/security program?
- Will you need to assign users different levels of security clearance?
- Do you need to secure multiple sites?
- How many cards will you issue per year?
- How long do the cards need to last?
- Will your cards be printed on one or two sides?
- How much personalized information will the cards contain?
- Will you need to badge employees at several locations?
- What level of card security will you need?
For a no-obligation consultation about selecting the right digital card printer or photo ID system for your organisation, please contact us. Whatever your need, we will be able to assist.
Digital Systems -v- Cut-and-Paste Laminated Pouches
Digital WINS every time…
For decades people have been creating ID cards and before the 1990’s, the most favoured way of producing an ID card was known as the cut-and-paste laminated pouch method. This involved taking a person's photo, cutting it out, and then laminating it to a card-sized piece of paper containing the person's data. The results of this laborious method are cards that aren’t very durable and most certainly almost certainly not tamper resistant.
Today, desk top digital printing has become the preferred technology for organisations issuing on demand cards, namely for identification, membership, loyalty, discount and even business and promotional cards — and it’s not surprising why.
Digital photo ID systems are now affordable, easy to use, and offer a range of benefits that previous systems can’t, including…
- Fast production times
- Low pence per-card cost
- Single-path printing and encoding
- Unlimited card designs and colour options
- Magnetic stripe, bar code, proximity, or smart card encoding options
- Powerful database options
- Highly durable cards
- Difficult to counterfeit – almost certainly removing the opportunist
- Faster, easier badge replacement
- Far less labour
The basics of a digital photo ID system.
A digital photo ID system typically consists of a PC, Badge Software, a digital camera, and a card printer/encoder. How you intend to use your cards is vital in determining what software is best suited for your applications — and what printer /encoder is needed to get the job done. For best results, involve an Eagle Gold Partner early in your selection process. They can answer questions and recommend the appropriate individual system components. More importantly, they can implement the right system to match your organisation's needs for both today and tomorrow.
Determine your applications.
The most basic reason for a photo ID system is to identify people. Typically, organisations like to identify people for safety or security reasons. Photo ID cards let you quickly identify who is authorised to be in or around your facility and who is not.
Unauthorised visitors can be a nuisance or even a threat to your employees, members, or customers. Plus, they can be costly if they use your equipment or services without permission, or without paying the necessary fee. If you have people, property, equipment, or services you would like to protect, a photo ID system is a smart, effective solution.
Today, digital photo ID systems can do much more than just secure your organisation. By using bar codes, magnetic stripes, smart cards or proximity cards, digital systems can conveniently automate a variety of facility or operational functions.
To take advantage of electronic card benefits, you'll need a printer with built-in encoding capabilities.
For example, ID cards can be encoded to restrict access to rooms, buildings or car parks. They can be used for controlling access to equipment such as computers, copy machines, or fax machines. If your facility has (or is) a cafeteria or store, you can use ID cards to provide credit and debit programs for employees or customers. Today's ID cards can even be used for phone cards, for tracking time and attendance, or for regulating admission to sporting events, theme parks, resorts, clubs, and much more.
Invest today and reap the rewards beyond tomorrow
Organisations everywhere use digital photo ID systems for a multitude of applications.
Consider your needs.
Even if you plan to use badges only for visual identification, consider possible future applications. You may not need or have the budget for an integrated system with encoding right now, but you might next year. Make sure the system you buy today will be able to handle your needs tomorrow. An Eagle Gold Partner can help you with all of these considerations up front, and help you get the maximum value out of your investment.
Customize your cards.
Talking to your integrator and determining what applications you need your photo ID system to handle is crucial to selecting the right system for your organisation. But equally important is understanding the numerous ways you can make your ID cards more unique, secure and functional.
Creating a custom design sets your organisations card apart from the rest. Security personnel and employees can easily identify a card lacking an authorized graphic or layout. Demand a card printer and software that won't limit your design capabilities.
Magnetic stripes can be encoded with information about access privileges, membership status and employment history. You can even load cash for vending machine use. Magnetic stripe data is updatable over time.
Bar Codes and Signatures.
Bar codes and bar code readers can automate many processes. Bar code technology adds convenience and speed to point-of-sale and inventory management transactions. For even greater security, select a system that adds a digital signature to your card.
Custom Transparent Images.
With certain printers, you can print a custom transparent image (logo, symbol or text) directly onto cards using the clear overlay panel of your print ribbon. Once printed, this image appears only when viewed at an angle or under ultraviolet lighting.
Some printers can print on cards that are larger than standard credit card size. Oversized cards can hold an oversized photograph and large graphics, making verification even easier.
Over-laminates bond to the surface of a card, protecting data from being altered. They also significantly extend the life of the card.
An over-laminate containing a “generic” or stock holographic image protects a card from wear, and discourages card tampering or forgery. Creating your organisation's own custom holographic design ensures that your card is truly unique. Custom holograms are extremely difficult and cost-prohibitive for counterfeiters to recreate. Maximize your functionality.