HID Increases the Frequency

August 7, 2002 ? Just days after Texas Instruments announced plans to offer a 13.56 MHz access control system, HID Corp. (http: www.HIDCorp.com), the market leader, introduced its own 13.56 MHz access control product, dubbed the iClass.

Irvine, Calif.-based HID denied the announcement was in response to Texas Instruments’ decision to jump into the access control market. “HID has been developing the iClass technology for over two years,” says Debra Aberle, a spokesperson for the company. “The technology was introduced in March 2002 at the ISC West exposition in Las Vegas.”

The iClass read/write, contactless RFID technology comes in several form factors, including smart cards, key fobs, tags, and OEM modules. Like the TI product, HID’s new iCLASS product line is aimed at companies looking for additional security features, as well as the option of using the tags as a payment system.

The iClass cards come with either 2K bits (256 Bytes) or 16K bits (2K Bytes) of memory. The 2 kilobit memory can hold small biometric templates, or it could support two applications. The 16 kilobit memory allows for more applications or more sophisticated biometric templates.

The new cards and readers offer enhanced security. Data is encrypted on the card, which prevents duplication. Also, the cards and readers use mutual authentication, meaning the reader knows that the cardholder is legitimate, and the card knows that the reader is authorized to read its information. And the data is encrypted during transmission.

“Each application area can have its own read and write key,” says Aberle. “Depending upon the application and the required memory size for the particular application, it is possible that individual applications may use more than one application area. Biometric templates may use multiple application areas on the 16-kilobit card.”

The company expects that some existing customers may upgrade from proximity card systems. But Aberle says HID will continue to “enhance and expand our proximity line to insure that all customers have solutions to their access control requirements.”

iClass readers can read data from cards compliant with ISO 15693, ISO 14443A (read only MIFARE cards), and ISO 14443B2 (read/write 16-kilobit cards only).

The new contactless smart card readers will include read only, read/write (with optional keypad or LCD terminal), and a biometric terminal option. The readers use standard Wiegand output so they can interface with most existing Wiegand protocol access control panels.

HID says the iClass products are designed for use in a variety of applications, including: Access control, time and attendance, authorized access to office equipment, digital cash, IT secure authentication, lighting and HVAC control and billing, transit passes, equipment and material check-out, and loyalty and membership programs.