June 2011


Summer's finally arrived in the States....

...but I'm heading to sunny Miami anyway. Why? It's tradeshow time. At the upcoming ScanSource and Vartech 2011 conferences, I'll be meeting with HID Global partners from Latin America where I'm looking forward to spending time listening, learning and talking with partners.

Tradeshows present a key opportunity for me to get first-hand information about industry trends from the perspective of HID Global partners, discuss new and current products and help customers find the right solution for their access control and card issuance system needs.

More and more often, HID partners in Latin America tell me their small and mid-sized business customers are expressing a need for small-scale, economical, easy-to-install access control solutions. Working for HID Global, I attest to the fact that the breadth of solutions available in the access control arena can be overwhelming and some customers simply do not know where to begin.

For this reason, I am looking forward to spreading the word about the HID EDGE™ Solo. HID EDGE is an IP-based, open architecture line of single-reader, single-door access control solutions that gives small and medium-sized businesses a flexible, cost effective alternative to traditional access control solutions. EDGE Solo is ideal for customers who have just a few doors and need access cards for just a few users, but who still require full reporting and remote management capabilities via a standard web browser. EDGE manages each door separately via a remote web browser-based interface specifically designed for the entry-level user. No complicated custom software development is required.

Making things easier still, EDGE can utilize Power over Ethernet (PoE). So rather than putting in dedicated power supplies and locking hardware, all the access control-specific wiring is done at the door. This helps to cut cost-per-door in half!

For businesses building an access system for the first time, a complete HID EDGE Solo kit with cards and reader is an excellent option. I am genuinely excited to spread the word about EDGE: There is a solution that helps eliminate guesswork and makes access control installation as simple as possible.


Has a friend or neighbor ever told you they'd like to come back as your pampered pet in their next life?

While I've never said that out loud to anyone, I certainly have thought it on occasion. No one can deny that some pets have got quite the life!

A statistic I read recently backs up this perception: In the US alone, pet owners spent more than $47.7 billion on their estimated 164 million pets in 2010. Another example that pet owners are highly invested in their pets' well being is the growing interest in pet microchipping.

Microchipping involves inserting a small radio frequency identification (RFID) transponder encased in a tiny glass tag beneath the animal's skin. The microchip is programmed with a unique ID number. Vets and public authorities can read the glass tag with any scanner, trace a lost or stolen animal's ID number in online databases and return it to its rightful owner. The RFID tags also help organizations keep animal registration files, medical history and owner addresses up to date.

Around the world, people seem to be assessing the benefits of microchipping and acknowledging its value. There's a trend toward increased regulation that is gaining momentum; both governments and animal associations recommend microchipping to ensure full protection of animals.

In Switzerland, pet tagging is now required for all dogs as well as horses. The pet databases supporting these efforts help governments monitor pet populations, and enable authorities to easily contact pet owners. Among European Union member countries, tagging is now a requirement for taking your dog or cat across national borders, and it has helped make traveling with pets much easier. With an RFID tag and a pet passport, customs officials can quickly confirm identity, check vaccinations and send you on your way. In the UK, while tagging is still voluntary, an estimated 30% of the 20 million cats and dogs are already microchipped and the parliaments of Wales, Scotland, Ireland and England are having more frequent discussions about regulation.

In the U.S., where only 10% of pets are currently identified with an RFID transponder, the month of June has been named National Microchipping Month. Animal advocacy groups are working to raise awareness of the benefits of microchipping companion animals to protect their safety. A nationwide pet database does not yet exist in the U.S., but individual organizations and some state governments have established state-wide databases which help make microchipping easier and more popular. Even better, microchipping is now more affordable than ever.

So the next time you're at your vet or local pet store buying Fido the latest nutritional supplement or glow-in-the-dark booties, take a moment to ask about the other trend - the one that will last your pet's entire lifetime and help protect your pet from harm.


I hate to admit how long ago this was, but when I entered the university "way back when",....

...our ID badges were unsophisticated, laminated card-sized pieces of paper. Equally unsophisticated was my understanding of the word "sustainable." Honestly, my main sustainability concern was whether or not my coffee supply and caffeine reserves would sustain me through a night of cramming for this exam.

While concerns like passing exams are not likely to change much over time for college students, new concerns continue to surface. An article recently published by USA Today is a case in point: A 2011 study by The Princeton Review states that 69% of college applicants will factor a college's commitment to environmental issues into their decision to apply to or attend the school. That number increased 5% over 2008. And how many colleges have made a public commitment to sustainability and plan to be good stewards of the environment? Well, at least 311 of them do, as noted in the Review's newly published Guide to 311 Green Colleges.

In the U.S., the federal government has created the ENERGY STAR® qualification program to designate products that meet the federal energy efficiency requirements without sacrificing performance or features, while contributing to significant energy cost savings.

While many products in my home have an ENERGY STAR label, I hadn't paid much attention to it until this year when our very own FARGO® DTC4000/4500 Card Printer/Encoders earned the ENERGY STAR qualification, and HID launched the North American Go Green, Get Green promotion in the US and Canada. Out of curiosity, I then visited the government's website for the first time and found a wealth of information for universities, including tools for establishing a comprehensive energy management program, sustainability benchmarks and lists of energy efficient products to help reach the benchmarks.

I also learned that the energy-efficient features of the FARGO DTC4000/4500 printers make sense anywhere - in any industry and any country. Product enhancements that contributed to the ENERGY STAR qualification enable the printers to consume less energy in standby or sleep mode, to utilize a shorter sleep mode period and to switch power on and off quickly and easily via a power button rather than a power cable.

Bottom line? Although there's a healthy dose of concern for the planet among college students, I think many of them will continue to select a school based on the opinion of their parents or best friend, or perhaps based on their entrance exam scores. Even so, I have to admit I'm impressed that a good number of students are doing their homework ahead of time, seeking an institution with a plan to cut energy use, lower energy costs and ultimately have more cash to dedicate to curriculum, staff and quality of campus life.