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How Access Control Proximity Cards Really Work and Benefit Organizations

If your company, facility, organization, or campus is considering switching from traditional keys to proximity cards, welcome to this Proximity Cards 101 post where you'll learn the basics of how they work and big benefits to your organization!

Anyone who has worked in or visited a large building, facility, campus, or hospital has likely used or at least seen access control proximity cards: typically a PVC card about the size of a credit card or a key fob which is scanned by a wall or door device to gain entry into an authorization-only area. One place you are practically guaranteed to see a proximity card is at the hospital or emergency room hanging around the neck of or clipped onto the shirt or jacket of nurses, doctors, and administrators.

Perhaps it's time for your organization to ditch the laborious and expensive metal key with all it's re-keying and switching out of locks and make the switch to the much easier and efficient proximity card access control system. After all, the operational cost savings and the concept of the proximity card as a swiping device are pretty easy to understand. But, how do they actually work?

Proximity cards (including key fobs) use a wireless technology called RFID, or radio frequency identification), enabling the user to communicate with the access control system via a scanning transmitter that sends a credentials message to the access control server. The server then authorizes or denies access for the credentials of the proximity card.

In addition to using RFID to communicate for access, proximity cards can also double as identification cards through both visual and encoded data, packing double the benefit to your investment in the card system. When doubling as ID cards, your access control system can offer these additional benefits:

1. Security - Security is the #1 reason and benefit for using access control cards that monitor and manage physical access as well as internal departments.

2. Attendance - Since access control cards carry and transmit data to the server, in addition to controlling access they can provide data about who is in a location as well as arrival time and duration.

3. Durability - Proximity cards and key fobs made of the standard PVC material can withstand far less wear and tear especially since they are not inserted in a reader.

4. Customization - There's no need to keep proximity cards plain if you want to enhance them as physical ID cards in some way. Proximity cards can be printed to be personalized and branded.

5. Analytics - If access data for reporting or audits is important at your company, you'll appreciate the analytics you can glean from data exchanged between cards and the server.

6. Wired or Wireless - Integrating an access control system today comes with the flexibility of how invasive a project can be on building infrastructure. Systems can be wired or wireless. They can be placed on all-glass doors or walls, historical buildings, and practically any type of surface with minimal compromise of the surface itself.

Image source: GenX Security's Superior Brand Partner Assa Abloy

If you're shopping around for the best proximity card access control system for your unique location needs, you've come to the right place. GenX Security Solutions in Greenville, SC has the right system for any purpose, and the experience and expertise you'll need. Please read our case studies at and contact us for a FREE quote!


Experience the next generation of interactive security services and solutions with GenX Security.

With custom security integration solutions come custom quotes designed for your needs. Please contact us by clicking here or calling 866-598-4369.


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