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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
In addition, members issued these bar-code key fobs were also provided with plastic identification cards that include their name, their member ID number encoded into a bar code, and a photograph. When arriving at the club during staffed hours, a member presents his card or bar-code key fob to an employee at the front desk, who then scans the bar code. This triggers the member's name and photo to appear on a computer monitor, so the employee can compare the person's face with the image on the screen to verify that the individual presenting the card is its owner.

Members of clubs that have deployed Club Sentry's RFID key fobs—to whom the club may or may not also issued a photo-based ID—can present their RFID key fobs to an interrogator mounted at the front desk. This triggers the members' photos and names to appear on a monitor behind the desk, so the employee can authenticate those individuals.

The RFID tags and readers employ HID's proprietary Proximity air-interface protocol. The tags, encased in a rugged plastic housing, can be read from up to 1.5 inches from the reader.

Rodgers says he was drawn to RFID as a means of bolstering the security of Club Sentry's products. "We have been using bar codes up until now, but they can be copied," he states. "Supposing you lose your card, someone can copy it and make a new one [to enter a club after hours]. The RFID key tags, however, can't be copied."

The company also offers a biometric-based member authentication system, consisting of a fingerprint scanner that members can use to access a club.

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