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TBT: Contactless smart cards 101

In honor of Throwback Thursday, we’re turning the clock back to 2011 to a story that details the need-to-know basics of contactless smart card technology.

At the time of our “Tech 101: Contactless smart cards” piece, contactless smart cards had already been in use for more than two decades. And just as it was in 2011, the contactless card remains a key tool in the management of security, physical access and payments on college campuses today. Whether it’s used to open doors, facilitate public transit, event ticketing or facilitating the multitude of student-facing applications, contactless technology is being used to solve a number of service challenges across a variety of environments.

Despite being an industry mainstay, there are still a number of people who are fuzzy on the details of the technology and how it enables these various utilities all without ever touching a reader.

The elevator pitch is that contactless cards use radio waves of specific frequencies as carriers for communication. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Hear from representatives of Unisys and NXP about the various applications that contactless technology supports, as well as the basic contactless categories — low frequency, high frequency and ultra-high frequency — and the unique set of ideal applications for each.

Whether you’re a contactless expert or are hearing the term for the first time, our “Tech 101: Contactless smart cards” is a great read when it comes to the contactless basics.

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