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Club Sentry Adds RFID to Its Member-Management System

The new technology helps ensure that only authorized members gain entry to health clubs and similar facilities, thereby bolstering security.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Sep 12, 2008Club Sentry, a provider of security and member-management systems for health clubs, swim clubs, homeowner groups and other private, member-based facilities, has integrated radio frequency identification into its product offering. Several of the company's clients, including the Elite Personal Fitness Club in southeastern Michigan, have begun utilizing the new system, while a number of others plan to adopt it, says Club Sentry's president, Scott Rodgers.

Club Sentry is currently offering RFID as a supplement to its existing product offering, comprised of bar-code-based identity cards and key cards. The company is offering its clients RFID key fobs manufactured by access control solution provider HID, as well as HID readers and software that links the RFID tag data with Club Sentry's existing club-management software. The firm's customers have two means of using the RFID hardware, Rodgers explains, and some are doing so in both ways.

One means of utilizing the RFID technology is to enforce access control when a club's front desk is not occupied by an employee checking members into the facility. Club Sentry mounts an RFID reader at the club's entrance. A club member holds up his or her HID key fob—the 1346 ProxKey II model—to the interrogator, which reads the ID encoded to the fob's passive 125 kHz RFID tag, then forwards that data to the Club Sentry software, which queries it against a database of IDs for members in good standing.

If the software succeeds in matching the ID, it triggers the door's electronic lock to open. If it does not find a match, however—which could indicate the person trying to access the club has not paid dues on time, or does not have access to that particular location—the door remains locked.

Club Sentry also offers a bar-code scanner that can be mounted outside an entrance and used in conjunction with a thin plastic key fob—already issued to the members of Club Sentry's customers—printed with a bar-coded number. These members can slide the key fob through the scanner—similar to swiping a magnetic stripe on a payment card through a slot—to access the club after hours (assuming the members are in good standing).

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