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New programmer enables University of Nebraska to program iCLASS™ contactless cards onsite

A new smart card programmer from HID has given the University of Nebraska at Lincoln more start-to-finish control over card issuance, while giving its students and faculty an increased sense of security.

The iCLASS™ CP400 Card Programmer is a hardware and software package that allows a user to read and write information on HID’s iCLASS™ contactless smart cards.

“Some customers will want to do something relatively simple like programming a custom PIN number on the card,” said HID’s Marian Pefley, director of product marketing, high frequency technologies. “Other customers use the software to create command cards to change the features and functions of the readers, such as LED brightness, speaker volume or standard output format.”

The CP400 can program personal PIN codes directly on the ID card for reading with HID’s iCLASS 13.56 MHz contactless RK40 (reader with keypad) and RWK40 (reader/writer with keypad). Customers, such as the University of Nebraska-Lincoln can now stock blank cards and program them with access control numbers, PINs, and custom application data at issuance. With four distinct fields capable of holding 16 characters, the option to use the card to store personnel data, library patron IDs, demographic indicators to determine eligibility for specific services, and other customized applications is open to the customer.

“The iCLASS CP400 gives our partners the ability to offer flexible and customizable value-added card options to their card holders,” said Mark Scaparro, HID’s executive vice president of sales.

This programmer “has given the students and faculty at the university an increased sense of security because we’ve programmed unique data on the access control card,” said Dan Floyd, director of shared computing services at UN. “In addition, we’ve created efficiencies with card management because we can now distribute cards from start-to-finish…”

That came in handy during fall enrollment where the university distributed some 10,000 cards,” he added.

“For flexibility, the user can change reader functions without needing to consult the factory,” says Ms. Pefley. “This is especially popular for OEMs who would like to stock standard readers and customize them for each job on the fly. There are also times when a specific card may need to be reprogrammed, such as when a user’s name changes and so forth. The CP400 enables the user to program their own cards and customize their readers.”

However, right now, the University of Nebraska is using the CP400 “to prime the chip in the cards for door access,” said Sue Ostrander, UNL’s ID systems manager for shared services. “We also plan to use the contactless chip in other systems in the future,” she added.

As to why the university went with the programmer: “UNL preferred the option of encoding the chip with an ISO number owned by UNL instead of purchasing numbers from a vendor,” said Ms. Ostrander. “This programmer was chosen because it was the fast and easy way to prime the cards.”

“It is very easy to use and has added on very little time to the card production process,” she added. “The speed of the programmer depends on the size of the memory of the card and how much information in being written to the card. Usually the writing process only takes a few seconds and is negligible compared to the over all enrollment process.”

Another benefit, said Ms. Ostrander, is that the programmer “can also be used to read the cards to see if they have been primed.”

Who needs the CP400? Said Ms. Pefley: “The iCLASS CP400 card programmer is only needed for custom functionality. That can range from the very simple to very complex functions such as changing the key or password in the reader.”

While this programmer is specific to the iCLASS family of readers and cards, “the readers can be configured to output nearly any standard format in use today,” said Ms. Pefley. “With the variety of card formats and reader outputs, there are few access control panels (systems) that cannot accommodate the iCLASS family of products.”

She said that when a university determines it will utilize a programmer like the CP400, “it is an indication that they’ll be taking advantage of the product’s features and benefits. Not all universities have the need and we have a number of products out for evaluation. We have learned that university customers who use the field programmer appreciate the flexibility and options that years worth of experience have built in.”

According to HID, the iCLASS CP400 comes complete with a desktop reader/writer, CD-ROM with programming software and documentation, graphical user interface, personalization diskette, universal power supply, and serial cable.

More information on HID is available here:

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