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Smart ID and access control cards for Suffolk University.

Payne Security : 02 April, 2008  (Application Story)
UCS orders multi-functional ID cards from Payne Security for students to include access control and smart payment technology.
Newly created higher education establishment University Campus Suffolk (UCS) has chosen Payne Security, to provide a complete managed service for the manufacture and fulfilment of high-quality, multi-functional and cost-effective ID cards.

University Campus Suffolk opened in 2007 as a collaborative venture between the University of East Anglia and the University of Essex. The new establishment was created to offer a dedicated base for the county's higher education needs.

As part of its creation, UCS needed to implement an ID card system that would double as an access system for security purposes, and as a means of compliance with the legal requirement for students to prove their identity in examination and other conditions.

An essential element of the brief was to ensure that the ID cards are future-proof. Although the university currently comprises five sites (a central campus in Ipswich with centres around the county and in Great Yarmouth), UCS is building its own bespoke teaching complex and wanted to maximise the advantages that state-of-the-art ID technology can provide.

"We are very excited by the possibilities afforded by Mifare contactless smart cards," explains Colin Moody, who is co-ordinating the implementation for UCS. "Not only do they provide an effective means of security, they will also enable us to offer added value options to students such as cashless vending, or a fast, user-friendly means to charge for essential services such as photocopying."

At the same time, UCS needed to ensure that the card was compatible with its existing premises and services, requiring the inclusion of a magnetic stripe for door access and a barcode for the university's library.

Payne Security had previously supplied many of the colleges, whose higher education is now part of UCS, making it the ideal candidate to meet its ID card needs. The company was quick to realise that UCS would benefit from its recently launched card management service, as it made practical sense for Payne Security to take responsibility for manufacturing and fulfilment processes out of UCS' hands.

"This is a huge bonus for us," confirms Colin Moody. "With five sites, we would need to invest in multiple in-house ID card production facilities to process all of our card requirements. It would also take up a huge amount of staff time, and the inclusion of complex Mifare technology would further complicate our ability to produce the cards.

"In contrast, the service offered by Payne Security delivers a high quality ID card solution that also saves a significant amount of time and capital costs compared to an in-house method," he adds.

With Payne Security's card management service, UCS simply needs to supply the cardholder's photo and personal data, via a secure server, to the company's card production facility in Mold. There, the cards are produced using Payne Security's state of the art industrial digital press, offering exceptional reproduction and card quality at high speeds. Crucially, all graphics and variable data are 'locked in' the core of the card as part of the manufacturing process, which not only adds extra durability to the finished card but also provides greater security as none of the information can be scratched off the card surface.

Payne Security's design team worked closely with UCS to devise a highly visible design template for the ID card. As well as a prominent photograph of the cardholder, a colour-coding system is used to differentiate staff, regular students and those granted permission to visit the university's healthcare department. The correct card design is then produced automatically when sent to the digital press according to the criteria and data sent to Payne Security. The university is also preparing to implement separate colours for contractors, and standard and trusted visitor passes.

For students, the card also carries essential information, such as their ID number and username, and their email address.

To ensure an additional level of security, all cards are issue controlled, so that lost or stolen cards are immediately cancelled upon the order of a replacement.

To date, UCS has ordered 5000 cards using Payne Security's card management service. "We are extremely pleased with both the quality of the cards, and the speed and efficiency of response," confirms Colin Moody. "Using Payne Security ensures that we have a standardised, centrally controlled card across all university sites, which is hassle-free, secure and effective."

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