Around the Corner & in Your Backyard
Your campus card program is not just one printer from one vendor; it is an ecosystem of cards, systems and databases that need to work together. While there is discussion of what service model is best for you (onsite from a local dealer, depot service, or a hybrid), you need to look at your overall campus card system, because you likely have various solutions from different vendors, such as one-card, ID badging, door access control, housing, and more. You need to evaluate and determine which components are supported best remotely, and which are better served onsite.
If you have a problem, it often is not the card printer! For the ID system alone, the issue may be a cable, camera, printer ribbon, cards, or even the database connection, among others. What if the cards are not operating correctly in a certain campus system? Is it the cards, the reader, the software or the database at fault? You need a local card management solutions expert to visit and help diagnose where the problem lies. The local technician can help with testing cards, confirming database connectivity and many other possible issues, but an independent set of eyes can help you reduce potential finger-pointing from various component vendors.
The “raison d’etre” of the local dealer is to support their local customers, as a glimpse into their office shows shelves full of card printers, software, ribbons, plastic cards, replacement parts and more. Decades of experience working with customers to define their needs, present solutions, and support their implementation and integration is the backbone of every ISG member.
The ISG is Here to Serve You
The ISG, formed in 1982, is a network of 31 regional credential management solution providers that cover the USA and Canada. Combined, these members employee about 200 field service technicians, which are manufacturer trained and certified, and follow the ISG Service Certification program that includes ongoing continuing education. They also have the benefit of open sharing within the ISG network, which allows them to find solutions to problems beyond suggestions provided by manufacturers.
We value all customers, both large and small, instead of catering to only large ones, so you don’t need to have four or more ID systems to get premium support. We strive to maintain ID systems for as long as the customer wants to keep them in use, and we do not force upgrades as whenever a manufacturer discontinues a product. Not only are our solutions well supported, but they are kept in peak condition by assuring that firmware, drivers, field updates and software are kept current.
Additional advantages of the local dealer are rental units, re-carding services or support, and rush supply orders. We also offer customer loaner programs in advance of known peak card issuance times to avoid any hiccups that could mean a serious drop in production.
We have heard of single office companies want to enter the national service business with a “hybrid program”, like having someone from Detroit fly in to repair your Ford automobile, when you have a certified Ford dealer right down the street. Any time you have to deal with an 800 number, diagnose, touch or replace a printer, you are losing valuable time from your real job, so it is always better to have an experienced, local technician simply come in and fix the problem.
Some of the key areas that schools need integration support are:
Smart Card, EMV Card & Integration Expertise
ISG dealers work closely with colleges and universities on integration projects that require expertise in data connectivity, smart cards and smart phones.
Often, a customer needs to connect an ID system to a central database like Banner or PeopleSoft, instead of directly to the campus one card database. There are some benefits to this connection, as it is the “one true and accurate” database. In many cases, schools want to populate the photo field in their central database, while at other times, card or personnel data needs to get to other systems like door access control, housing, or food services. This way, cards are immediately activated or de-activated, preventing any security delays or leaks in private credential information.
One example is the integration of San Jose area colleges into of Valley Transit Authority (VTA). Working with ISG dealer, Capture Technologies, these schools are able to issue ID cards that operate within the VTA. The area colleges issue the Eco Pass Clipper Card on site, complete with photo, college logo and other data. During the issuance process, the transit ID number is securely read from the contactless chip, and that number is passed to the VTA database so that it can be tracked, replaced if needed, and de-activated if necessary. Participating schools are San Jose City College, Mission College and Evergreen College.
Another example is the integration of the University of Washington card into transit, which was described in a case study in the Summer 2015 issue of CR80 News. In this solution, the university is able to issue a single ID card that works in the mass transit system as well as on campus applications.
Smart Card Transition
We work with many universities to discuss the transition to smart cards, and we can even help customers to “own their own keys”, a concept that gives the school purchasing independence for the cards, as well as better security.
Transitioning to smart cards can be a complex task, with a need for cooperation among various stakeholders and systems, so ISG specialists provide an independent view of how to complete this.
Financial EMV Cards
ISG dealers are trained to work closely in the financial card EMV market, which is a huge benefit for any college that wants to issue financial branded cards that operate in on-campus systems like door access control and cafeteria services.
The hard costs that a school normally sees include service agreements, plastic cards, printer supplies, and ID systems. However, a free benefit of the local dealer is their expert consultation, which is not held for ransom by requiring a service agreement.
Large vendors tend to be very product centric, as you usually have to choose between just the products they offer. ISG solution providers have the independence to offer a variety of manufacturer products, and efficiently integrate the right ones together into a complete, working system.
What if you want to implement a simple tracking program, investigate portable badging systems, increase the speed of capture and enrollment, discuss different card printer technology, or review contactless smart card options? You always get solid, independent advice and service from your local ISG dealer.
Contact us today for more information about the solutions mentioned here.