Access control and contactless technology is constantly increasing in popularity as industries strive to improve efficiency and security. In an ever-growing market, it can be difficult to know where to go when sourcing a supplier if you’re looking to implement a contactless system in your establishment. As contactless technology continues to develop, more and more ways to use it are becoming available- most people use contactless technology in their daily life.
What is contactless technology used for?
Uses include contactless payments, gym passes, secure door access, vending and PC log-on- and these are just a few ways that RFID readers can be used. In this informative blog we will be looking at a selection of RFID readers developed, produced and supplied globally by Elatec RFID Systems and considering which readers are best for which uses. We hope that this blog will help you in your decision-making regarding the implementation of contactless technology.
Who are Elatec?
Elatec RFID Systems are a German based developer of proximity contactless encoders and smartcard readers and writers. They produce a wide range of proximity products and their technology is used in a wide range of industries where smartcard reading and writing is required such as automotive, Artificial Intelligence (AI), security and other technology focused industries.
There are different kinds of proximity technology available- these are RFID (Radio Frequency Identification), Bluetooth and NFC (Near Field Communication). You may be familiar with Bluetooth and NFC as these technologies are widely integrated in mobile phones and other handheld devices and allow contactless communication between devices- whether it’s transferring data, playing music wirelessly or making contactless payments. NFC technology is used primarily for contactless payments by card or mobile phone.
Different types of readers are compatible with different devices and therefore allow different actions to take place when a transponder (mobile device, smartcard or fob, for example) come into proximity with the reader. Low frequency (125kHz) and high frequency (13.56MHz) technologies are both supported by Elatec RFID Systems readers. Along with frequencies, it’s crucial that readers support the use of a variety of different smartcard technologies such as MIFARE, HID and LEGIC- so this is something that must be considered when choosing your RFID reader!
The Elatec TWN4 Multitech 2
The Elatec TWN4 Multitech 2 is maybe the most versatile reader in the range. It offers a huge array of capabilities which makes it suitable for use in so many different industries and to fulfil many different purposes. Some of its main features include:
- Compatibility with over 60 RFID technologies including MIFARE, HID and LEGIC- whatever smartcard technology you use in your organisation, there’s an Elatec reader to read it! To find out more about different smartcard technologies available to you, visit our webpage for access control cards or give us a call on 01604 422422 and we will be happy to advise you on a suitable access control solution for you!
- BLE and NFC connections possible- this enables the use of most debit/credit cards and smartphones, which use mainly NFC connectivity.
- Ability to reconfigure the readers easily on site using a configuration card. The reader can be reconfigured remotely, too.
- Plain labelling or personalised to match your organisation’s branding.
Elatec RFID in use
To help you establish which type of reader is best for you and your organisation, we have put together the following examples that explain just a few instances where the implementation of RFID readers has made a significant impact on the security and efficiency of a business’ operations.
In the automotive industry there is a constant push on developing new and improved technology to enhance the consumer experience and make a product or service easier to use. RFID readers are ideal for transportation services such as taxi and mobility firms. One way in which RFID readers could benefit this industry is that an RFID reader can enable quick and easy payment at the end of a journey through compatibility with contactless technology. Most modern smartphones are equipped for contactless payment through NFC, so in a world where the smartphone is taking over it would make the payment process much easier for the consumer. Payments have never been more convenient! If the customer doesn’t have a smartphone, most credit cards also allow contactless payments- so your RFID reader will be usable by almost everyone for payment.
Alternatively, smartcards can be programmed to activate vehicles. The means that by using card readers and smartcards, the use of shared company vehicles can be restricted to authorised personnel that have a compatible smartcard- improving security! One area of the automotive industry that is growing at an alarming rate is electric vehicles. As more and more manufacturers are releasing hybrid and full electric cars, the need for car charging points across the country is increasing.
Monitoring and regulating the use of EV chargers can be challenging because it’s vital that each user is billed correctly for the power that they use- which is where RFID readers come in. They can be incorporated into the EV charging stations and allow payment via smartcard, contactless payment or compatibility with a specific mobile application.
Elatec readers are commonly used in the education sector, too. They can be integrated into a printing setup for print release, which means to restrict printing to authorised users by only releasing a document in the print queue when a smart device comes into the proximity of the reader. This can reduce the amount of materials wasted and can also be a way of implementing a credit system in which users require credits to print, allowing for easy funding or subsidisation of material costs like paper stock, ink and equipment maintenance.
In addition to this, smartcards can be used to allow PC log on for staff and students. This will ensure that only authorised people have access to on site PCs that may hold personal and confidential information and documents. Another feature of smartcards with RFID readers is that student attendance can be monitored easily with clocking in and out- and this feature can be incorporated seamlessly with access control!
TechTracer RFID Reader kit
The TechTracer RFID reader kit offers further applications to help the efficiency of using the readers. The kit includes a TWN4 MultiTech reader as well as a selection of different accessories that allow you to instantly identify different types of RFID technology- all in a convenient, durable carry case. If access control or other RFID technology has already be been installed by your organisation and more equipment is required, it can be difficult to know exactly what technology needs ordering. The software and hardware accessories included in this kit are ideal for engineers or sales people because they allow you to determine specifically what transponder (smart device) technology is being used if you are unsure, saving the hassle of sending a sample card off site to get your technology identified by the supplier or manufacturer. This saves time and money in the long term! In addition to this, Appblaster software allows the easy identification and reconfiguration of smartcards to modify card functions or outputs. This software is available to download in Elatec’s Development Packs.
Which system is right for me?
So, with all this information, how do you choose which reader is right for you? We have established that there are many different things that need to be considered when looking to implement an RFID reader system, so your decision on which reader to use should depend on the following factors:
Purpose – before investing in an RFID system, consider what you need or would like from the technology and what you aim to achieve by introducing it. It’s important to plan how best to implement the technology both from a cost and time point of view. Your intended purpose for the technology will dictate which RFID reader is best for you.
Compatibility – if your organisation already uses smartcards, it is essential that the reader that you select is compatible with the technology in the smartcards that you have. Check which cards you have, and then consider which readers would be appropriate with this in mind. If you are interested in buying readers but are unsure of what technology you currently use, get in touch with us and we can check a sample card for you to identify it.
Budget – implementing an RFID system can come at a high cost, especially if your organisation is large or requires high quantities of readers or smart devices. For a lower budget solution, consider the Elatec TWN3 MIFARE® DT-U20 or similar: it offers compatibility with most 13.56MHz technologies including MIFARE technology giving it good flexibility and so it may be the most suitable reader for you depending on your intended use.
Connection – there are two different connectors available on Elatec RFID readers as standard- these are USB and RS232. These allow connections to different devices, so you need to consider what you are going to be connecting your reader to before investing! In addition to this, PCB (Printed Circuit Board) and Nano versions of the readers are also available. This enables the readers to be integrated more easily into other systems that you maybe already be using within your organisation.
We hope this information is useful to you, as searching for the perfect RFID reader can be a challenge! If you would like more information and guidance about RFID readers and how YOU can use them, visit our Elatec page of the website or get in touch with us at email@example.com and we will endeavour to assist you.