December 2013

sstromberg's picture

The modern healthcare facility faces increasing crime and economic challenges in protecting people, property and sensitive data.   There are a number of best practices to consider.  

The first step is to ensure access control systems are based on an open architecture and can therefore support new capabilities over time.  It is also important to use contactless high frequency smart card technology that features mutual authentication and cryptographic protection mechanisms with secret keys, and use a secure messaging protocol delivered on a trust-based communication platform within a secure ecosystem of interoperable products.   With this foundation, hospitals can combine adaptability with the highest level of security, convenience, and interoperability.

Adaptability is particularly important.  Down the road, a hospital may want to combine multiple applications onto a single card.   This improves efficiencies by centralizing management, and eliminates the need for hospital employees to carry separate cards for various applications, from opening doors, accessing computers, and making cashless vending purchases to using time-and-attendance and secure-print-management systems.   

It is also critical to consider managing the identities of hospital visitors.  Paper guest books aren’t sufficient.  They should be replaced with registration systems that are capable of screening, badging and tracking all visitors, or at a minimum, critical areas such as pediatric wards and “after hours” when staff is reduced. Visitor management systems should support the HL7 interface control so visitors can be matched to a variety of key real-time information.  Additionally, these visitor management capabilities should be integrated into the access control system, to simplify the issuance of temporary card access to specific guests, such as contractors or temporary employees.  The system also should support optional screening and watch lists of unwanted visitors, and enable hospitals to create long-term, durable visitor badges for family members who will be visiting a patient frequently over an extended period. 

Device authentication should also be a key practice.  The default model is to ensure that authenticated users within the hospital may only access their own or their patients’ health records from a known and properly registered device.  For affiliated doctors, the best approach here is mobile soft tokens that replace multiple One-Time-Password (OTP) tokens, and the requirement that these individuals authenticate their devices, inside and outside the hospital.  The security of on-line patient identification and record access is equally important, and solutions must be flexible enough to support new regulatory requirements over time.  On-line banking strategies provide a roadmap, especially a layered approach that has proven effective in ensuring appropriate levels of risk mitigation can be applied. 

Hospitals, their staff and patients face challenging and evolving security threats.  Protecting hospitals from these threats requires physical access control systems with integrated visitor management capabilities, plus logical access control solutions that take a layered approach to risk mitigation while moving beyond passwords to implement strong authentication.

Waste management service companies face a number of challenges in an era of increased expectations related to efficiency and accountability, and the advent of demanding sustainability and other “green” initiatives.  Challenges include reducing unproductive trips, increasing route and fleet efficiencies, and potentially supporting the data-tracking needs of incentive-based customer recycling programs.  In many cases, underperforming trucks must be redeployed to areas or routes that are more heavily burdened.  Additionally, municipalities increasingly want greater accountability from their providers for services rendered, and a quick resolution when there is bin loss or damage.  Meanwhile, in the commercial and industrial sectors, it is increasingly essential to manage and know the locations of all high-value assets and containers. 

RFID technology provides a reliable and durable solution for meeting these challenges.  In the past, tracking waste was a slow, costly and labor-intensive process.  Modern RFID technology has played a game-changing role in the industry by bringing about a major shift in how waste management companies operate, whether it’s managing weighbridges, optimizing fleet efficiency, or analyzing individual customer profit and loss. In order to realize RFID technology’s benefits, though, it is necessary to build the right system for the application – one that provides the optimal combination of reliability, functionality and performance, and is backed by all necessary product warranties, technical support and customer service.

RFID System Benefits

Most consumers and businesses don’t think about what happens to waste after they dispose of it, but those responsible for waste handling have a huge stake in knowing and managing information about what they collect, how much they collect, where it originates, and where it goes.

RFID tags attached to waste containers deliver this critical information by supporting the identification and traceability of waste streams.  In a typical home or business, the unique ID number of a tag is associated with a bin and that bin’s owner or address.  During the process of recognizing, lifting and registering bins, the tag is read and the information is time-coded and logged.  In applications such as medical waste, the receptacle itself is collected, transported to a disposal point, and returned to its place of origin.  In such applications, a read/write tag may actually collect, as well as disseminate, information.

The goal of an RFID solution is to simplify operator tasks, provide increased transparency of operations, and maximize returns on an operator’s investment.  RFID systems enable operators to monitor sorting quality, and to track the weight of each container’s content and how often a container is set out for collection.  These systems also simplify billing for service, and support the implementation of incentive-based invoicing for recycling and other programs.

Variation in weight of waste from one unit or dwelling to another is one of several principle drivers for the use of RFID solutions. Waste can vary from 1,100 to 4,400 pounds per year from one house to the next. RFID technology encourages recycling as it enables a system to manage charges based on usage, rather than applying a flat charge for every customer.  In the U.S., a bonus is sometimes paid for recycling, and this practice is growing in popularity around the world, creating the need for reliable data tracking.

The demands of waste management will continue to grow, as “green” and other sustainability initiatives demand closer tracking of recycling streams.  Operators also need to maximize efficiency and accountability, protect valuable assets, and potentially support incentive-based recycling programs that encourage waste reduction.  Additionally, changes in waste handling technology or the special needs of certain applications may require the ability to track different types of materials in different ways, not just at pickup, but through the entire waste management process.  Today’s RFID systems provide the tools for meeting these and other demanding challenges, while enabling operators to reduce fleet costs and provide a more comprehensive service to their customers.

NClement's picture

CARTES Paris has traditionally been a resounding success for HID Global and CARTES 2013 was no exception. This year, booth attendees were consistently saying that it was the busiest the show has been for years with 2013 marking a major rejuvenation of the largest contactless technology-centric trade event in EMEA. This was certainly reflected at HID Global’s booth, where there was a constant stream of customers and prospects eager to gain in-depth insights about the new and innovative products and solutions we showcased under our “Create, Use and Manage Secure Identity” theme.

At the entrance of our booth, customers were greeted by HID Global’s latest solutions in our broad portfolio of secure card printers. Our new FARGO C50 entry-level printer is targeted for small- and medium-sized businesses as well as the leisure and retail market, opening new and exciting market opportunities for partners.  Together, with refreshing our Direct-to-Card (DTC) printers, HID Global’s comprehensive line of card personalization solutions meet the broadest range of customer’s needs – from entry-level printers to highly sophisticated printer/encoder solutions.

Another important theme at our booth was “building trust in a mobile world,” which demonstrated how smartphones can be trusted for secure applications including opening doors and far beyond.  HID Global’s portfolio addresses this conundrum with our mobile access solutions that are part of our iCLASS SE platform, powered by Seos. End-customers and prospects were abuzz with questions on how our iCLASS SE platform can empower them with a unique range of secure identity solutions, and they were very excited to hear about the plethora of applications it can support, including secure printing, mobile access, time and attendance and cashless payments.

In addition to hands-on demonstrations of our latest products and solutions, our CARTES speaking engagements were extremely well received.  Attendees were eager to learn more about our latest innovations using NFC to authenticate documents, processes, and high-value assets from Daniel Bailin; the emergence of multi-functional PIV cards for today and tomorrow from Julian Lovelock; and how governments are embracing a more citizen-centric approach to secure ID issuance from Craig Sandness and Nils Wahlander.

As another year at CARTES drew to a close, we are all enthused and even more energized than ever to continue assisting customers and prospects in exploring all of the new and exciting possibilities Genuine HID products and solutions offer.