How Sentry Card’s Biometric Card Can Secure Both Your Physical and Logical Access With Your Fingerprint!

Are you an IT director or operations manager in the Southern California area that is looking to adopt a brand new PACS system for your business?

One that will be multi-functional and able to integrate both a physical access solution (PAC) with a logical one which will save both the time to implement and the money from needing two different card types.

Well…

Tx Systems has partnered with a leading-edge company, Sentry Enterprises, in the field of physical access control to develop a PACS smart card that is revolutionary on the market. That is the Sentry Biometric Smart Card!

The Sentry Biometric Smart Card is presented with a hand holding it at an angle in a darkened setting. The green LED status light is on.
The Sentry Biometric Smart Card is the ideal combination of both physical and logical access capabilities.

With its ability to authenticate your employees based off their fingerprints to access your office building, it can prevent intruders who have simply stolen your employee’s ID badge.

Read on to learn more about the other amazing features that this biometric smart card has to offer you.

What Amazing Features Does the Sentry Biometric Smart Card Have?

The Sentry Biometric Smart Card is ideal for enterprises of all types and those looking for an employee identification solution with additional functionality such as employee tracking, risk mitigation and protecting the lives of your employees during emergencies.

The Sentry Biometric Smart Card has many potential use cases thanks to the advanced technology contained within this card. This is not a simple proximity card!

The Sentry Biometric Smart Card utilizes and supports both proximity technology at the range of 125 Khz (HID Prox) and smart card technology at the frequency of 13.56 MHz (DESFire EV2/HID iCLASS/SEOS) to support both application types. That is why it can be utilized for door access at your office’s entrances or rooms within the office to secure confidential documents or technological assets. It can also be utilized for MFA (Multi-factor Authentication) to secure the workstations and their contents. You will need a MFA software such as HID’s DigitalPersona which supports both smart card and fingerprint login among many others.

HID’s Digital Persona will integrate MFA into your entire business securing your digital assets from trespassers!

With your office workstation, the Sentry Biometric Smart Card supports Windows 10 login meaning that your specific set-up will likely be supported. Windows 10 natively supports smart card login meaning the smart card will work out of the box without additional configurations. You can remove your concerns that this smart card will take forever to set up on your workstations thanks to its Plug-and-Play support.

If your office also uses Office 365 then you can use the Sentry Biometric Smart Card to login to your account allowing for your important text documents, presentations and spreadsheets to stay secure. You can move beyond Office 365 and use this credential with any other web application that supports the FIDO 2 standards. So, say goodbye to the traditional password setup!

How Can the Sentry Biometric Smart Card Can Put Your Problems At Ease?

A great concern that the Sentry Biometric Smart Card offers is that another employee can simply steal the card to try and access a peer’s workstation. However, that is not possible with this smart card given that each and every employee will need to register two of their fingerprints on the ultra-thin and flexible fingerprint sensor before authentication. Once those credentials have been assigned to that employee, the smart card can never be assigned to another person. So, take for example that Robert has registered his fingerprint with the smart card, it is then stored onto the 1 MB flash memory and is encrypted whenever it is used thanks to the TID (Transponder Identification) with a 48-bit unique serial number. If Hubert wants to steal a project document that Robert has been working on through the smart card then it will not work simply by having the smart card. Hubert needs to put his finger on the sensor, in order for the smart card to actually work. And, the fingerprint sensor will not be a choppy rendition because this reader has a 508 DPI resolution image that is 160×160 pixels. In addition, the False Acceptance Rate (FAR) of this biometric smart card is 1 in 50,000 meaning that the chance that this device will accidentally accept the credentials of Hubert is low.

Watch to see how the Sentry Biometric Smart Card can work with your business and its PACS and workstations.

If you are concerned that a passerby can easily read and steal your fingerprint data then you can put that fear aside. The fingerprint data that is stored on the smart card is not visible to interlopers looking to steal fingerprint data. This is thanks to the vaulted or disguised antennas which are only activated when the fingerprints are being matched for authentication purposes. The read range of this smart card is .39 to .79 inches, so it will need to be fairly close to the user when authenticating meaning that they can keep an eye on any potential thieves.

A quote from a customer of Sentry Biometric Smart Card highlighting that it complies with current biometric information regulations. The image is of a turquoise fingerprint with a laser line going through it at an angle.
You can trust that the Sentry Biometric Smart Card has your best interest in mind. If a Chief Privacy Officer can see the benefits of this solid smart card then it must be ideal for your security needs!

You might be thinking that this reader will not support my existing PACS system, and that you will need to replace your entire infrastructure costing a significant amount. However, the Sentry Biometric Smart Card supports existing systems such as those offered by HID such as the SIGNO product line or even the iCLASS SE Readers. It remains neutral to PACS systems preventing you from needing to adopt an entirely new system to have it up and running quickly. You will also save money thanks to the durability of this smart card with its ability to withstand a minimum of 10 million finger touches on the sensor. This is roughly 33,000 uses or 30-40 uses per business day. That is 3-5 years for each of the Sentry Biometric Smart Cards!

Where Can I Find Out More About the Sentry Biometric Smart Card?

The Sentry Biometric Smart Card is a great combination of both proximity and smart card capabilities. With its integrated fingerprint sensor and a high degree of accuracy, both your physical and digital assets will be protected against intrusion from theft and trespassing. This will save you the time from having to implement two different card systems while saving money from managing them.  The Sentry Biometric Smart Card is more than a simple and generic proximity card and is a worthwhile investment that will enhance your entire business’ security.

To learn more about the Sentry Biometric Smart Card, read our FREE and detailed datasheet that will inspire trust that this is the solution for your physical access control needs. Contact us at sales@txsystems.com or 858-622-2002.

A hand that is resting on a darkened keyboard.

Author: Carl Hughes, Sales/Marketing Specialist

A technical hobbyist interested in learning the nitty-gritty of computers

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A physical Bitcoin is shown on a mound of dirt.

How Tx Systems Can Jumpstart Your Cryptocurrency & Blockchain Business SUCCESSFULLY with Our Certified Hardware!

The world of currency has experienced a rapid change over the last ten years with the advent of cryptocurrencies. A whole new generation of investors has made it big with investing in tokens such as bitcoin, dogecoin and ether. New businesses have propped up to cater to this market from those that store your cryptos in vaults to marketplaces that allow you to sell these tokens.

Learn more about the current state of the crypto market and how it all works.

Are you a cryptocurrency company or a FinTech company, and are looking for a way to protect your customers’ digital cryptocurrency from theft?

Do you have customers that would like to have a physical smart card similar to a credit/debit card for peace of mind to store these digital assets?

If so, Tx Systems can help with providing the proper hardware! Another sign of the future is the cold storage of cryptocurrencies on a physical smart card.

Tx Systems has over twenty years of experience with smart card technology and has provided our products to some of the largest players (Fortune 500) in the financial services sector along with regional banks. We can support you with software development (SDKs and DLL Libraries), testing and encoding NFC tags with our experienced software engineer, Alex Howard.

Tx Systems official logo
Visit our website to learn more about what hardware and software solutions we can offer your business.

What hardware will best serve my cryptocurrency/blockchain application?

NXP NTAG424 DNA Tag Stickers

The NTAG424 DNA Tags can store URL links to NFT objects (crypto assets) which your NFT investors can prove the authenticity of the digital artwork that they purchased from your collection.

If you are new to NFTs, learn more about what NFTs are through our blog posting here:

We offer these NXP NTAG424 DNA Tags in two different forms on our site: one is a round, plastic tag (30 mm) seen below.

NTAG424 DNA Tags shown both front and back sides are visible.
The NTAG424 DNA Tags are extremely secure and have your NDEF data security in mind.

The other is a rectangular plastic tag (36 mm) seen below.

NTAG 424 DNA Tags are shown both front and back in a rectangular form factor.
The NTAG424 DNA Tags are supportive of both the Android and iOS operating systems.

NOTE: If these are not ideal for your project, our supplier can offer different materials and sizes.

To protect your customers’ NFT purchases, you can rely on the NTAG424’s included Secure Unique NFC (SUN) for the creation of double size (7-byte) unique IDs (UID) and Random ID (RID) whenever the tag is tapped to an NFC-enabled mobile device. This ensures the integrity of the NDEF data transfer.

NOTE: Other data protection measures are available and can be found on our website here which includes the datasheet

The NTAG424 DNA Tags can also be read up to 10 cm away or 4 inches away with a range of data transfer speeds of 106 kbits/s, 212 kbits/s, 424 kbits/s and 848 kbits/s.

It is also compatible with Android and iPhones which means nearly all mobile devices that your customer uses are supported. There are included apps on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store which are linked below.

NFC TagWriter for Android 4.4 (Kit Kat or higher)

NFC TagWriter by NXP for iOS 13.0 or higher (iPhone Support ONLY)

Visit our site to learn more about these NFC tags as we have included a manufacturer’s datasheet.

Identiv NXP NTAG 424 DNA Rectangular Tag (5-Pack)

Identiv NXP NTAG 424 DNA Round Tag (5-Pack)

Identiv SPR332 Pin Pad Smart Card Reader

The Identiv SPR332 Pin Pad Smart Card Reader can read information stored on a cold wallet smart card while offering a physical pin pad to authenticate users of the smart card.

Identiv SPR332 Pin Pad Smart Card Reader is shown front-facing with a credit card inserted at the top of the reader.
The Identiv SPR332 Pin Pad Smart Card Reader is perfect for reading your crypto cold wallet!

The benefit of this reader is that you can enter your PIN for your cold wallet on this device without it being transferred to your network-connected computer. This allows for that credential to be invisible to anyone that tries to hack your business’ workstations, thereby making it much harder for them to steal your digital assets.

The Identiv SPR332 Pin Pad Smart Card Reader is also built to last with a hard-shell plastic case that can withstand abuse. This also serves as tamper-proofing to avoid hardware modifications to steal PIN information. As a user, you would easily be able to see that the case had been damaged considering how well sealed it is preventing customers’ data from being compromised.

To serve you most efficiently, the Identiv SPR332 Pin Pad Smart Card Reader has a data transfer speed up to 600 kbps over a USB 2.0 Type-A Full Speed connection. This level of high performance will ensure that your customers’ EMV-based cold wallet is read quickly, so you can transfer their cryptos readily.

Visit our site to learn more about this reader as we have included a manufacturer’s datasheet.

Identiv SPR332 Pin Pad Smart Card Reader

What Companies Are Adopting Cryptocurrencies and the Blockchain That You Can Learn From?

If you think that some of these ideas are outlandish, think again!

Here are some examples of game-changing companies that are in the cryptocurrency and digital asset space and how they are revolutionizing the way that payments are done. You can learn a thing or two from their businesses.

ZEUSPay

ZEUSPay is based in Salt Lake City, Utah accepts cryptos as an invoice payment method using the blockchain. Their goal is to eliminate the middleman and his fees and emphasize peer-to-peer invoice payments.

Learn more about how ZEUSPay expects to change the world of payments!

Some of the features of their software include its support of Online Shopping with direct integration into your e-commerce platform (Shopify, QB, WooCommerce). Payments can be done with a QR Code or through a URL link to your internal crypto wallet at checkout and can accept cryptocurrency/cash from customers.

It also supports retail/brick-and-mortar locations through a POS integration that allows for the payment of an invoice through a cold wallet or their POS app (URL Link) through any web-connected device to accept payments/donations from customers.

It includes features for businesses/independent contractors with an automated invoicing system and create/send payment requests and custom invoices along with overall bookkeeping functionality (QuickBooks integration available).

And for the crypto investor, it allows for the easy conversion of U.S. dollars to cryptos, the management of cold storage of cryptocurrencies through Ledger or Trezor (hardware wallets) while maintaining an internal crypto wallet within ZEUSPay for merchants to spend cryptos only when transaction signed by the merchants and their hardware wallet/private key.

To learn more about ZeusPay, click below.

TMN Global

TMN Global based in Zugg, Switzerland allows the purchase of precious metals/technology metals with their own TMNG token (Ethereum Blockchain) from an authorized partner of TMN Global in their store. Because it is backed by a precious metal, it makes it a stable coin versus the other non-stable cryptocurrencies on the market such as bitcoin, ether and dogecoin. They also provide crypto-debit cards supplied by Brink and their FIPS 140-S Level 3 certified smart card for private key backup (External hard drive) in a physical form.

Learn more about how TMN Global is changing the crypto market by introducing their stablecoin.

To learn more about TMN Global, click below:

Where Can I Find Out More to Accelerate My Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Business?

Tx Systems is your go-to shop for reading your crypto cold wallets and authenticating your customers’ NFT artwork.

Call us today at 858-622-2002 or email us today at sales@txsystems.com.

Author: Carl Hughes, Sales/Marketing Specialist

A technical hobbyist interested in learning the nitty-gritty of computers

What Features Are Included in WorkforceID DCM that Will Save Me Time and Money?

The 2022 Credentials and Credential Management BIG DEAL!

A reliable, easy-to-adopt and comprehensive credential solution is in this article.

With the HID Crescendo Type-C Security Key, you can login to your Windows-based tablet at work without the reliance on passwords.

Are you tired of keeping track of the smartphones, tablets and workstations used at your company’s offices, and need a solution that supports not only Active Directory but macOS-based workstations?

So, whether you are in the business world in sectors such as infrastructure, healthcare or finance or are in state and local governments, WorkforceID Digital Credential Management has you covered.

Do you want an all-in-one software suite that actually allows for users to manage their own devices to take more of the workload off your plate?

Well, HID WorkforceID Digital Credential Management is the next step for your business to manage all of the credentials that your employees have and use on a daily basis. With the many devices that we all use day-to-day, you need a solution that is both reliable and easy-to-use for your users, that is where Digital Credential Management comes in.

With Workforce ID Digital Credential Management, you have the ability to support your hybrid workforce by allowing for your employees to login remotely while managing their credentials all online and in one integrated platform.

With a cloud-based foundation and a subscription-based model, you will not think about any sort of troubleshooting.

There are many more features that you can find out about down below!

But, before we start talking about the features, let us speak about who HID Global and Tx Systems are.

REACH OUT today about the WorkforceID Digital Credential Management offer today by calling us at 858-622-2004 or sales@txsystems.com.

Who is HID Global?

This Irvine, California-based cybersecurity company founded in 1991 as Hughes Identification Devices has technology solutions used in more than 100 countries over 2 billion trackable objects. It is a 650 employee manned-subsidiary of ASS ABLOY AB which has a over $3.2 billion of revenue in the locking solutions sector.

It is a trusted leader in the delivery of secure identity and logical access cards (iCLASS, SEOS) and hardware (OMNIKEY product line). These are reliable solutions that provide businesses with the protection that they need to lock down their physical and digital assets, so they can continue to provide their customers with exceptional service.

The official logo for HID Global.
HID Global is a leader in cybersecurity solutions from physical access control to logical access, your business and its needs are covered.

Who is Tx Systems?

Tx Systems knows a thing or two about credential management and identity solutions as we have been in the business since 1997 and have worked with some of the largest players (Fortune 500) in multiple verticals. We are the ideal reseller of major smart cards types conforming to ISO 7816 (Smart Card Industry Standard) and smart card readers, from trusted and respected manufacturers such as HID which we are an official Platinum Partner. We also offer many MFA (multi-factor authentication) solutions from HID such as WorkforceID Digital Credential Management along with DigitalPersona which we support with our one-on-one technical support, so you will not be left in the dark.

With Tx Systems, you can rest assured that your data is secure for your business and its unique needs.

The Tx Systems Official Logo.
Tx Systems is a trusted reseller of smart cards and their readers. We are an HID Platinum Partner.

Features:

  • Provides Secure Access: to your business’ VPN (Virtual Private Network), cloud and web applications such as productivity software and Windows-based shared workstations through Azure Active Directory (AD) and physical access control to your office building
    • SUPPORTS BOTH PHYSICAL AND LOGICAL ACCESS to save money from needing to invest in multiple solutions for both applications
A user presenting their HID Crescendo 2300 Smart Card to an HID-branded PACS (physical access control system) door reader.
The HID Crescendo 2300 Smart Card can be used as both a physical access card and a logical access card meaning that you save money from needing two different formats of cards.
  • FLEXIBLE use cases for WorkforceID such as secure printing, email and file encryption and digital document signature to ensure further security for entire organization
  • Compliant with Major Industry Standards/Regulations: NIST, FIPS, GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act), HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) PSD2, PCI-DSS, GLBA, SOX, SP800-171 (Controlled Unclassified Information), CJIS, NY DFS 23, NYCRR, IRS pub 1075 (IS Guidelines for Federal, State and Local Governments) and NERC-CIP
  • Strong Security and User-Friendly: PKI (Public Key Infrastructure) certificate management on Crescendo 2300 Smart Cards, Crescendo 144K FIPS or other offered third-party solutions which allows for both PKI (Public Key Infrastructure) and OTP (One-time Password) credential management to be much more streamlined
  • PIV-compatible: Integrates with Windows Active Directory (AD) and Azure Active Directory (AD) on Windows 10 and 11 (64-bit edition) workstations but also works well with macOS 10.15 (Catalina) and 10.16 (Big Sur) workstations for a wide support of major operating systems to be easily deployed in your office
A user presenting their HID Crescendo 2300 Smart Card to an HID-branded PACS (physical access control system) door reader.
The HID Crescendo 2300 Smart Card works readily with Windows 10 along with macOS meaning that it supports the major operating systems used in offices today.
  • An Understandable Web Portal for Employees: Employees have the ability to reset PINS and manage their work devices such as security keys, OTP (One-Time Password) tokens and more while adding additional credential hardware devices when needed
    • Report lost devices and easily issue new devices to replace the old device
    • Credentials are managed for the entire time that the employee is employed and can be deleted once they leave
  • Ease of Deployment and Maintenance: All-in-one cloud-based web portal that creates, manages and uses credentials for both hardware and software saving maintenance time as you have the latest updates and patches
  • Saves Money: Supplemental material and software licenses are not costly given the cloud-based subscription format
  • Easy Renewal: Subscription license per user per year  
  • Choice of Trust Model: HID WorkforceID Digital Credential Management takes care of the certificate authority portion of management which can either be Publicly or Privately managed which are of no additional cost for PKI (Public Key Infrastructure)
    • Allows you to use MFA (multi-factor authentication) without hassle
A user tapping the HID Crescendo USB-C Security Key on a Windows-based tablet in a DropBox login setting.
The HID USB-C Security Key has the ability to login to web applications such as DropBox in lieu of relying solely on passwords.
  • Reliable: HID’s WorkforceID webportal uptimes are 99% available for both the management of the Digital Credential Management portal as well as for using the portal for PKI (Public Key Infrastructure) validation allowing for seamless workflow
  • 24×7 Customer Support: You have the technical support that you need wherever you are in the world.
  • Leave a Paper Trail: Status and audit reports are available for download to meet compliance requirements and reduce liability costs.

Where Can I Find Out More About WorkforceID Digital Credential Management?

Breathe a sigh of relief knowing that you have solved your credential hassles at work! You have achieved the goal that you set out today at work and have found a solution to make your boss happy.

Take advantage of our latest deal with HID Global where you can save on a year-free of HID WorkforceID Digital Credential Manager when you purchase an order of 100 HID Crescendo Security Keys or HID Crescendo 2300 Smart Cards. Utilize both of these technologies to not only login to your workstation but also access your business’ locations.

REACH OUT today about the WorkforceID Digital Credential Management offer today by calling us at 858-622-2004 or sales@txsystems.com.

Author: Carl Hughes, Sales/Marketing Specialist

A technical hobbyist interested in learning the nitty-gritty of computers.

An Identiv SCL3311 Vertical Contact Smart Card Reader on a White Background.

How to Purchase an Identiv SCR3311 Vertical Contact Smart Card Reader for the BEST Price?

Do you have the need for a smart card reader for your company, but have yet to try one out because of it being cost prohibitive?

You have probably realized that the password system that you set up is not sufficing and with the recent high profile ransomware cases on businesses such as Colonial Pipeline and JBS Meats, you are probably thinking that an MFA (multi-factor authentication) solution such as HID’s DigitalPersona would be best or at least, a smart card solution that saves your employees’ time from fiddling with passwords.

This is where you might run into some trouble. The newest smart card readers can be upwards of over $100 if you want all encompassing features, so it would be smart to go with a smart card reader that is a better deal for when you are starting out. This is similar to if you were to buy the top-of-the-line Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra for over $1,000 or deciding that last year’s model, the Samsung Galaxy A series would suffice with its strong features such as 5G support, an Octa-Core Processor and its MicroSD card that can support up to 1 TB of storage space. So, simply being an older model does not mean that it cannot provide you with the utility that you need for your business.

Even older model Samsung Galaxy smart phones have powerful features that can still provide you the features that you need for a mind-blowing experience!
Photo by John Tekeridis on Pexels.com

Well, we have your budget needs covered and cybersecurity requirements covered as we are having a FLASH sale on our SCR3331 Vertical Contact Smart Card Reader from Identiv. Here is the chance for you to snap one up while they last and save money on trying out a new technology format for your company!

How Well Does Tx Systems Know Smart Cards?

Before we begin, you may be wondering who is Tx Systems, anyways? Well, we have been in the smart card business since 1997 have worked with some of the largest players (Fortune 500) in multiple verticals, so we definitely know a thing or two about them. We offer a wide variety of smart cards, smart card readers, security keys and software to support these devices from well-known smart card manufacturers such as HID, Identiv and ACS. Our mission is to support businesses implementing security measures to keep their assets safe by providing a middleman to cybersecurity manufacturers. That is why you can trust us with your smart card needs!

Visit our website to see all of the official partners that we have within the smart card industry and biometric space to demonstrate the trust and relationships that we have cultivated within the last twenty years.

What Features of This Smart Card Reader Are Worth Talking About?

The Identiv SCR3331 Vertical Contact Smart Card Reader was a powerhouse and bestseller in its heyday. It has the ability to support a wide variety of standardized smart card types (ISO 7816 Class A and B Smart Cards) and relevant industry standards within the smart card industry such as CCID compliance and supportive of Microsoft WHQL.

Its drivers support Windows operating systems from:

  • Windows 98
  • Windows ME
  • Windows 2000
  • Windows XP
  • Windows Server 2003
  • Windows Vista
  • Windows CE 3.0/4.1/4.2/5.0/6.0
  • Windows 7/8.1/10

It also supports operating systems such as macOS, Linux 2.4.x and 2.6.x (32-bit and 64-bit) and Solaris. The drivers are easily installable on Windows as it is considered a Plug-and-Play device meaning that it will readily install without the need for hunting down a compatible smart card driver. It not only is supportive of major operating systems but can be applied in a wide variety of applications within your business. If you are thinking about trying out smart card readers for the first time then you can readily apply it to your office/retail location so whether you are in B2C or B2B, it will be ideal for you. If you are in the office, you can also apply it to digital signatures and email or document encryption along with secure workstation and network login.

The Identiv SCR3331 is supportive of the major Windows versions going back to Windows 98.
Photo by Nothing Ahead on Pexels.com

With a USB 2.0 Full Speed powered desktop smart card reader, it is well prepared to handle all your different types of smart card needs with its high performance! With this USB speed, you will be able to transfer your smart card data at a rate of 344,105 bps (bits per second) which will readily authenticate yourself into Windows or other desktop applications. A couple of benefits include that it has a 2 meter cable or one that is over six feet long meaning that you will not have to worry about trying to stretch to actually insert your smart card. Smart card insertion is also a comfortable experience with its smooth form factor and its curved smart card mouth which will prevent bending of the smart card.

To further protect your smart card, the SCR3331 Vertical Contact Smart Card Reader also includes protection such as with movement to prevent damage to the smart card along with short circuit protection in case of power fluctuations from your PC.

It is considered a contact smart card reader meaning that you would need to use a compatible contact smart card such as an iCLASS/MIFARE Classic Combination Smart Card or Crescendo 2300 Smart Card from HID. It is long lasting having been certified for 100,000 smart card insertions which will be more than enough time for your tenure at your office. Take a look below at the number of years it would take to insert it once a day! This will save you the cost of having to replace a smart card reader every few years than if you were to buy a cheaper smart card reader from Amazon. Overall, it is the most cost-effective choice for your business!

The X-axis represents the number of years of SCR3331 ownership whereas the y-axis represents the number of smart card insertions over the course of SCR3331 ownership.

The Five Top Reasons Why the Identiv SCR3331 Vertical Contact Smart Card Reader is a GREAT Fit

So, if you are interested in one of these SCR3331s then here is why you should try and test them out.

  1. Supportive of major smart card types such as PIV, CIV, Java card and other CLASS A and B smart cards allowing for easy integration with smart card standards
  2. Supportive of major operating systems such as Windows, macOS and Linux for operating systems that you already trust for your other business functions.
  3. Applications range from home banking to secure login to Windows and other applications on your workstation which will allow for a faster workflow for all areas of your business. One Smart Card Reader for all types of applications!
  4. Cost-effective given that the hardware is durable and will last about 100,000 smart card insertions.
  5. Legacy hardware that still works with current technology which will allow for cost savings over newer smart card readers
The biggest application for smart card readers such as the Identiv SCR3331 Vertical Contact Smart Card Reader is to use as a means to have your employees login to their workstations at the office or their laptops at home. It can do much more than that though with applications in banking & finance.
Photo by Dan Nelson on Pexels.com

Where Can I Find Out More About This AMAZING Deal?

This is an ideal situation where you have the opportunity to try out a smart card for only $15. The hardware may not be the newest, but its technology is still tried-and-trued by millions of users within a wide range of industries from banking and finance to the tech sector. So, if you are looking to purchase one of the Identiv SCR3311 Vertical Contact Smart Card Readers that we have in stock, feel free to reach out to us at 858-622-2004 or email us at sales@txsystems.com.

Author: Carl Hughes, Sales/Marketing Specialist

A technical hobbyist interested in learning the nitty-gritty of computers.

How the CHIPS Act Will Save Your Business Money in the Long Run?

A major investment into American-made tech is coming your way. With the “280 billion bill [CHIPS Act] that paves the way for new chip foundries to be built on US soil”, you can soon expect there to be a “Made in America” logo on your electronic components. That is just the start! There is much more to this bill than manufacturing chips though.

American-made semiconductors are in the works thanks to the CHIPS Act!
Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com

Overall, this spending will have an impact on the prices of smart card readers and NFC tags purchased for your company, and the benefit being a strong, steady supply of chips given the proximity of these new manufacturing plants.

So, the bill will consist of both investments into the manufacturing of the IC chips along with the investment into the future workforce to design and manufacture these chips.

Some key companies in the U.S. are planning on expanding or building new operations for chip manufacturing such as Micron, Qualcomm and TI.

So, what is the CHIPS Act, and why was it passed in the first place?

The CHIPS (Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors) and Science Act of 2022 was passed by the U.S. Congress to invest in the American production of semiconductor chips and to support STEM education for created jobs.

Learn more about the details about the CHIPS Act to familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of what this means for smart card readers and NFC tags.

The objective to allow U.S. companies to build a stronger stockpile of chips, in case of another global pandemic and the potential governmental response to close borders and manufacturing resources.

You might be wondering if the response to this crisis had that large of an impact on the semiconductor industry. In a March 2020 survey of SIA Members, 57% had experienced supply chain disruptions with (70%) being related to their workforce and (80%) relating to transportation, shipping and logistics issues.

So, how did governments respond to the pandemic, specifically in the semiconductor space?

Overall, governments responded differently to the global pandemic which made it difficult for businesses relying on chips to secure a consistent supply of chips leading to issues further down the supply chain for final products. One factory in one location could be shipping out finished chips at normal capacity while the other could be completely halted. In addition, if there were not enough workers to man their stations, factories could not begin production at pre-shutdown levels to meet the growing demand.

For example, in these major manufacturing hubs, these are the various responses that occurred.

Gain more perspective on what happened in 2020 during the government lockdowns and how the semiconductor industry responded.

China

Our largest competition in chip manufacturing kept their factories open without restriction and sidestepped some of the bureaucracy of other countries with fast-tracked essential travel with South Korea and other neighboring countries. Thereby, avoiding a severe backlog, shortage and glut of chip orders.

Mexico

In Mexico where HID Global, the manufacturer of the HID OMNKEY 5025, manufacturers a portion of our smart card readers, laws were interpreted differently at the federal and local levels leading to spotty shutdowns. So, one factory may have been running at full speed while the other in a different part of town could be completely dead.

Malaysia

In Malaysia, chip manufacturing was deemed essential, and there was an authorization process to manufacture chips. However, given the significant number of requests, the federal government could not handle the approval process leading to a breakdown in the chain of command. For example, localities used their police powers to barricade plants from accepting employees without the proper approval.

Philippines

In the Philippines, chip manufacturing was deemed essential. However, the government required an application to receive this status and had terms regarding the number of employees allowed at the factory; a “skeletal” workforce meant to keep operations simply alive.  

While these countries had partial shutdowns, total chip manufacturing shutdowns were seen in Italy, Spain and France.

Given the issues faced with government restrictions on chip manufacturing during the COVID-19 pandemic, it was essential for the U.S. to reinvest in its chip manufacturing to prevent the backlogs created by our international partners. It was also crucial turning point in chip manufacturing as it allowed China to get ahead and develop a stronger foothold in the chip space. Another example of how China continues to grow its influence in the world economy.

The investment into chip manufacturing will have an impact beyond the general federal budget for upcoming fiscal years. As we know being in the technical space, the demand for IC chips is only going to increase given the proliferation of technologies that are in the IoT, machine learning and AI space. All of these will require the usage of IC chips to power them.

So, what are some benefits of this bill?

Reduction in Costs During Shortages

The end user will not have to pay an exorbitant price when there are shortages given the basic principles of supply and demand. If there is a high level of demand for a product when supplies are low then companies will be incentivized to get the most out of them by charging higher because they know they require them. So, when you source smart card readers for your company, you will have to pay less up front given that there is a steady suppply ready to be shipped. This will also effect NFC tag prices given they are comprised of an RFID chip with the antenna.

Prices of smart card readers and NFC tags are sure to increase with U.S.-made components but will actually be lower than if we relied on foreign partners during shortages.
Photo by Anna Nekrashevich on Pexels.com

More Control Over Our Domestic Supply

By relying on our domestic supply, we can have more control and say over the production of chips and address when miscommunication as what happened in Mexico arises through our own legal system. It is difficult to impose our needs and wants when relying on a sovereign country as they have their own legal system.

Without relying on foreign countries for our semiconductors, we will not have to work through their governmental systems during crises.
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More Direct and Indirect Jobs

New jobs will be created because these factories will require employees to man the stations and produce these chips. These will be higher paying jobs because of the need to plan out new designs and manage both the employees and the machines. This might be the hope that the Rust Belt was looking for with the loss of their manufacturing jobs in the last century. It might not be the same jobs or require the same skillset, but it will offer a much more marketable set of skills that will be needed for future technologies.

With new semiconductor manufacturing plants comes a rise in higher paying tech sector jobs.
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Impact on the Local Economics Where These Factories Reside

Given these new jobs, the employees will require housing to live in as they need to live in the surrounding areas to commute to work to. Given that they are highly skilled and educated, they will have an impact on the local community and will change the surrounding areas to be more entrepreneurial and refined. For example, in tech hubs such as San Francisco and Austin, there is a very creative atmosphere for new ideas.

Cities such as San Francisco and Austin are tech hubs thanks to major companies inhabiting the area.
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Who is Micron?

Micron, based in New York, is investing up to $100 billion in the Central New York region to build the largest semiconductor factory in the U.S. which will produce up to 40% of its U.S. DRAM chips over the course of 20 years. This will result in nearly 50,000 jobs total of the supplying jobs with 9,000 being under Micron’s wing.

Given how technical these jobs will be, Micron plans on investing in its future workforce which will include partnerships with the Albany NanoTech Complex and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory along with local educational foundations. It will also support the community in its effort for human and workforce development through housing and addressing other essential needs which will be needed for those who are not as well endowed.

So, when can you expect to see this chip plant up and running?

The Clay, NY manufacturing plant will start building later on in the decade with construction beginning in 2024.

Learn more about how Micron is investing in their U.S.-based semiconductor manufacturing.

Who is Texas Instruments?

Texas Instruments, based in Texas and well known for its product line of calculators, is investing up to $30 billion dollars building a large semiconductor factory consisting of four fab units in Sherman, Texas that can support nearly 3,000 jobs at the factory.

So, when can you expect to see this chip plant up and running?

It has an expected construction date of 2022 with chips rolling out in 2025.

See how Texas Instruments is building a new semiconductor manufacturing plant in Sherman, Texas.

Who is Qualcomm?

Qualcomm, based in California, and is most known in the development of mobile phone technology such as the advent of 3G-5G phones. It has pushed significant backing into the roll out of 5G and has its hands in industries such as IoT and computing.

It is doubling its investment by billions of dollars through a revenue agreement in GlobalFoundries and their chip manufacturing plant in Malta, New York to increase its manufacturing capacity. It already has committed to investing $1 billion to expanding its current capacity along with construction of a new fab which will be responsble for an addition of 1,000 jobs along with thousands of other indirect construction-based jobs. GlobalFounderies provides end-to-end services for companies who need semiconductors for their specific application.

So, when can you expect to see this chip plant up and running?

Learn more about where Qualcomm stands with U.S.-based semiconductor manufacturing.

Within this decade.

The CHIPS Act will be very beneficial to many different industries that rely on IC chips from the production of electric vehicles to the latest IoT devices.

Given that many of our customers rely on our products such as our smart cards and NFC tags, it is important to recognize the trends on the horizon. Our products will contain these U.S. made semiconductors meaning that you will see price increases, but it is all for a benefit in the long term. You will be provided a more reliable experience with U.S.-made semiconductors.

We want to be as transparent as possible, so you can adapt accordingly. As always, you can trust Tx Systems for both your cybersecurity hardware and software solutions.

Who is Tx Systems?

Tx Systems Logo

Tx Systems knows a thing or two about credential management and identity solutions as we have been in the business since 1997 and have worked with some of the largest players (Fortune 500) in multiple verticals. We are the ideal reseller of major smart cards types conforming to ISO 7816 (Smart Card Industry Standard) and smart card readers, from trusted and respected manufacturers such as HID which we are an official Platinum Partner. Learn more about us on our website for your cybersecurity hardware and software.

Author: Carl Hughes, Sales/Marketing Specialist

A technical hobbyist interested in learning the nitty-gritty of computers

How to Install ANY Smart Card Reader on Your Desktop Fast and EASY

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

This is the BEST guide for installing your smart card reader! It is the fastest way to understanding just what you need to get it up and running quickly and easily.

How Well Does Tx Systems Know Smart Cards?

Before we begin, you may be wondering who is Tx Systems, anyways? Well, we have been in the smart card business since 1997, have worked with some of the largest players (Fortune 500) in multiple verticals. so we definitely know a thing or two about them. We offer a wide variety of smart cards, smart card readers, security keys and software to support these devices from well-known smart card manufacturers such as HID, Identiv and ACS. Our mission is to support businesses implementing security measures to keep their assets safe by providing a middleman to cybersecurity manufacturers.

Take a look at our website to see the wide variety of smart card readers that we have to offer for your business!

How to Install ANY Smart Card Reader on Your Desktop?

  1. Plug smart card reader into a USB port onto your computer, be aware if the USB port that you need to use is for a USB Type-A or Type-C. A USB Type-A will look like a squarish rectangle whereas USB Type-C will be a rounded rectangle.
  • If you purchased a Bluetooth version, make sure that Bluetooth is enabled on your desktop and smart card reader by checking in the Settings on your desktop.
  • Some smart card readers may have a switch on the side which enables Bluetooth or already has it automatically configured when you turn on the smart card reader.
  • For Windows-based desktops, USB-A ports should not be a problem to find whereas macOS-based desktops may not have these available as readily. Linux desktops will vary depending on the build for that user as they do not tend to come in as OEM manufactured. You may need to purchase an adapter for a USB Type-A model smart card reader or simply purchase one with a USB Type-C cable.

2. The operating system should recognize that a new device has been detected which will depend on which OS that you are using (Windows, macOS or Linux).

  • A notification should appear at either the top of your screen or towards the bottom right-hand corner in a dialogue box. This will be the case for Windows and macOS-based operating systems; however, each Linux distribution (Ubuntu, CentOS and RedHat) is designed slightly different meaning that the best place to reference information would be in that distro’s user manual or guide.
ALL smart card readers will need middleware in order to be used properly with your computer.
Photo by ThisIsEngineering on Pexels.com

*Make sure that the smart card reader that you are using is compatible with that OS (Operating System) version that you are using which you can find out through the datasheets that are downloadable on our website.

3. For most desktops, this will be all that you need to do as drivers will automatically be preinstalled; however, some users may need to actually install the smart card drivers which can be downloaded on the manufacturer’s website.

  • The manufacturer’s name can be found on the smart card reader with either the logo being on the top of the reader or on the back with the barcode and product information.

TO FIND OUT HOW TO FIND SMART CARD READER DRIVERS, READ THIS BLOG POST BELOW!

The Fastest Way to Find Drivers for Your Smart Card Reader (It’s a Piece of CAKE!)

4. In order to actually interact with your smart card and the software that you have installed, you will need middleware or a software suite that supports smart card usage such as HID’s ActivClient or HID’s Digital Persona.  

  • Both of these software suites can be purchased through Tx Systems where we will support you beyond the initial purchase with installation and technical support. You can also receive an initial demo of the software to test it out before you decide to buy to see if it will support your use case.
Our technical support will guide you through the installation of middleware, so you do not have to worry about it being a hassle.
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

5. With the middleware installed and the smart card drivers installed, you are now good to go, and the smart card reader is ready to be used.

Where Can I Receive More Assistance with Installing Smart Card Readers?

If something is missing within this smart card reader installation guide then feel free to let me know in the comments section below to help improve its usability. We are here at Tx Systems to support you on your smart card journey so feel free to reach out to us for live technical support at 858-622-2004 or via email at technicalsupport@txsystems.com.

Author: Carl Hughes, Sales/Marketing Specialist

A technical hobbyist interested in learning the nitty-gritty of computers.

How Can Biometrics Help You Secure Your Business, and How Can Tx Systems Protect You?

Estimated Reading Time: 10 minutes

You may not have thought about anything besides passwords as they have become ingrained into our interactions with the web and our various accounts online, but there are some nifty methods out there. These login methods come right out of Star Trek!

Have you ever thought about logging into your Facebook account using facial recognition, fingerprints or voice activation?

Biometrics such as the color of your iris or the patterns of your fingerprints offers a stronger way of account login. It certainly would take more time for a hacker to steal a fingerprint than crack a password because they would have to physically lift it off a surface that you had touched. Many of these hackers come from all over the world, so they would not have direct access to your day-to-day life where you leave your fingerprints everywhere.

So, by adopting biometrics, you are making it harder for them to access your account thereby, creating another hurdle increasing the chance that your data stays safe.

If you are wondering what biometrics are, and what they are used for then take a look at this video here from IDEMIA which is one of our partners.

As SecuGen (est. 1998), a reputable and well-known U.S. fingerprint reader manufacturer, sells many fingerprint readers that conform to standards such as FIPS 201 and ISO 19794-4 which ensures that fingerprint images are read accurately and stored with the utmost care. Specifically with FIPS 201, it was established by the federal government for authentication of their employees, so you know that these devices are going to be much harder to crack.

The Hamster Pro 30 is the newest product in the Pro line and has a better fit for those with larger hands while still maintaining an ergonomic appeal and high levels of security by adhering to FIPS 201 for PIV standards and Mobile ID FAP 30.

Hitachi (est. 1910) is a household electronics conglomerate based in Tokyo, Japan that is focused on developing solutions to place the world on a positive track towards solving wide spread problems such as climate change and health concerns. It offers both the Hitachi H-1 Finger Vein Scanner along with the Hitachi VeinID Five Windows Password Replacement to login to your Windows workstation. Hitachi has a long history of working in developing camera equipment, laptops and TVs. As a result with these fingerprint scanners and their imaging capabilities, you can be assured that their passion for electronics and the quality of their products show up here.

The Hitachi H-1 Contactless Finger Vein Scanner will take your Windows login scheme to the next level with the ability to see beyond your skin while being entirely non-invasive.

Kensington Computer Products Group (est. 1981) is well known for their physical laptop security with the ubiquitous Kensington lock showing up today in many laptop products. With a headquarters in Burlingame, California, it knows a thing or two about logical access and offers fingerprint readers in addition to physical locks to ensure that an intruder would not only be unable to steal your physical laptop but be prevented from accessing your data on your hard drive.

The Kensington VeriMark Fingerprint Key is a mobile-forward fingerprint reader that can fit easily on a key ring for on-the-go authentication.

Identos (est. 2014) is a German-based cybersecurity company that is focused on identity access management for mobile devices from organizations in industries such as government, healthcare and financial services. Their products include smart card readers and fingerprint readers for easy MFA (multi-factor authentication) applications.

The Identos Tactivo Smart Card Reader and Optical Sensor is a perfect combination for MFA purposes when you need on-the-go login into your online accounts through your Android smartphone.

What Are Some Examples Of Biometric Controls?

What is Facial Recognition, and How Does It Work?

By creating an extremely expressive facial expression, it will make it much harder for a hacker to copy that photo to use as a login tool. Given how long passwords have been around and the many tools at a hacker’s disposal, they would rather use a tried-and-true method such as password cracking than make the attempt to test out the waters with biometric methods.

Facial recognition works through the front-facing camera that is on your phone or web camera on your desktop. With this facial scan, it recognizes certain key aspects of your face to form a better identity of who you are. This depends on the implementation used, but it could be from multiple pictures captured at different angles. This is then stored for future reference to unlock your phone. You are then prompted to place your face in front of the camera the next time your try to login.

Facial recognition supports logical access functionality by scanning your face to register features that are unique to you.
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

What is Voice Recognition, and How Does It Work?

Voice recognition is one of the next waves of biometric login that is slowly starting to be adopted in industries such as banking for its ease of use and its application in account verification.
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Voice recognition uses the unique voice that all people have and tries to identify the person on the other end. Given that everyone has a unique voice based off phonetics and morphology, this will make it much harder to crack. In addition, wide spread adoptability will be much easier given that many people are used to interacting with voice activated systems such as smart speakers such as Alexa and Google Home.

To use this, a microphone is all that is needed which is included on all smartphones today. A few situations were this would be ideal include:

What is Fingerprint Reading, and How Does It Work?

Want to use the minutiae (patterns) on your fingerprint to login to your computer at work? We offer fingerprint readers from SecuGen that will provide a strong peace of mind for you to keep your documents away from any intruders at work or wherever you decide to work. You might be wondering if this person could use a fake finger with your fingerprint as a model or on Scotch Tape. However, the concern over fake fingers is also not to be worried about as there is Fake Finger Rejection which will detect silicone or 2D/3D models of fingers and their fingerprints. If you are leaning more towards Kensington products, they also have your back with an extremely low False Rejection Rate (FRR) of 3% and a False Acceptance Rate (FAR) of 0.002% meaning that you will not be locked out of your account while also making sure that unwelcome guests are kept at bay.

Adhering to standards set by the FBI, FIPS 201 and FAP 20 Mobile ID requirements while accounting for difficult fingers using a proprietary Smart Capture technology, SecuGen is prepared to handle secure authentication. They also have their SEIR biometric technology which is also included with their advanced optical sensors which allow for these fingerprint readers to be perfect for PIV smart card applications. With encryption technologies used to store fingerprint data, you will not have to worry about the templates being intercepted and reengineered.

All of this sounds great in theory, but where can you use this? These readers can be used in physical access control, POS systems, employee attendance and many more applications. They are all fantastic for MFA or multi-factor authentication for both server-based and cloud-based applications in use at your business which include Dropbox, GitHub and the Google Suite depending on the fingerprint reader in question. That along with securing email, web browsing and document access and signing.

Ultimately, SecuGen’s fingerprint readers are durable, reliable and are easily usable by anyone looking to secure their business regardless of their finger’s condition and offer the comfort of an ergonomic design. All are very quick and have a verification time of less than five seconds.

Overall, most of the fingerprint readers that we offer will work with major operating systems such as Windows, macOS and Linux and work via the USB interface. SecuGen’s fingerprint readers are compatible mainly with Windows, Linux and Android operating systems whereas Hitachi offers Windows support only. For mobile fingerprint readers, be aware that the models will be specified to the operating system that they are compatible with whether that be Android or iOS.

Do Any of Your Fingerprint Readers Also Come with a Smart Card Reader?

Some of these readers also incorporate a smart card reader with the fingerprint reader leading to an easy implementation of MFA for your workstation. The models listed below will fulfill what you are looking for.

The SecuGen Hamster Pro Duo CL USB Fingerprint Reader incorporates a contactless NFC-based interface meaning that it would be ideal for supporting contactless payments.

Smart Card Reader/Fingerprint Reader Combination:

SecuGen Hamster Plus USB Fingerprint Reader
The SecuGen Hamster Plus USB Fingerprint Reader is an example of a sole fingerprint reader without the extra smart card reader included.

Readers We Sell:

Fingerprint Sensors We Sell:

For portability and use with mobile devices such as smartphones and laptops, take a look at the fingerprint readers below!

The Identos Tactivo mini combines support for iOS will allowing for both support of fingerprints and smart cards in one device. Talk about being perfect for MFA on-the-go!

Mobile Readers We Sell:

When relying on finger veins with the Hitachi H-1 Finger Vein Scanner, you are using a method that is both internal and unique to every human being. No more fears of having your fingerprint lifted and used!
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

What is Finger Vein Scanning?

For even more secure Windows login compared with fingerprint reading, take a look at finger vein scanning which is able to take a picture of the blood veins within your hands. No two blood veins are the same, and it will only work with a live hand. It is almost impossible to replicate these vein patterns given that they are internal and that the templates which are used to verify the veins are encrypted and unable to be reverse engineered.

Unlike fingerprint reading, this is completely contactless as the finger does not need to touch the glass bed in order to verify your identity. It is extremely fast to authenticate with a less than 2 second time window.

It is perfect in applications that require high levels of security such as in financial institutions and physical access control for those in charge of valuable financial assets such as bullion and high-value bearer bonds. It is also great for logical access control on Windows-based workstations with Windows 7 or higher versions.

Hardware/Software We Sell:

Tx Systems Is A Trusted Source For Biometric Hardware/Software

If you are located in the U.S. and want to start implementing a finger print authentication scheme for your business then we have a wide array of options from SecuGen along with portable options from Identos and Kensington. We carry even more product from SecuGen including their embedded readers for OEMs such as the SecuGen U10 USB Fingerprint Sensor and their classic iD-USB SC/PIV Fingerprint Readers. With the security and ease-of-use of fingerprint reading, robustness of security protocols that they adhere to and the quickness of authentication, you can trust SecuGen to secure your physical and logical assets. We a certified distributor of SecuGen products among other hardware manufacturers such as Identos and Kensington meaning that we are trusted to properly support you on your journey with these amazingly, advanced fingerprint readers. Tx Systems has over twenty years of experience in the cybersecurity space and has provided our products to some of the largest players (Fortune 500) in multiple verticals.

Please visit our site to see our wide selection of biometric readers from leading manufacturers such as Kensington Computer Products Group or SecuGen!

Where Can I Find Out More About Biometric Readers?

If you would like to learn more about our biometric hardware and software selection then feel free to give us a call at 858-622-2004 or email us at sales@txsystems.com, and we would be happy to help.

Author: Carl Hughes, Sales/Marketing Specialist

A technical hobbyist interested in learning the nitty-gritty of computers.

What are NFTs, and How Can You Use NFC Tags to Share Your Artwork?

NFTs are non-fungible tokens that store a unique and one-of-a-kind set of code (no two NFTs are the same) as a digital signature on an encrypted blockchain ledger with transaction history available. NFTs are not a new concept as the first NFT-based artwork was Octagon by Kevin McCoy in 2014 which was essentially a backlit octagon on a black background. It may seem odd for someone willing to pay for such a simple piece of work but the sales numbers have proven otherwise.

Both cryptocurrencies and NFTs are based on the same blockchain ledger meaning that they are highly secure in terms of being encrypted while also allowing the freedom from a central authority such as the U.S. government.
Photo by Ivan Babydov on Pexels.com

Overall, NFT sales have skyrocketed in 2021 to $25.51 billion from $95.11 million in 2020 which is an astronomical increase considering its radical approach from the regulated artworld. However that has not dissuaded large Fortune 500 companies from investing such as VISA who paid $150,000 in Ethereum to purchase CryptoPunk #7610 for market research. Even the federal government has decided to dip into NFTs, the United States Postal Service (USPS) dropped their limited-edition NFTs through VeVe, an NFT marketplace app, to help create its Day of the Dead stamps for their “Forever” stamps.

Learn more about how NFTs are impacting not only the artworld but the overall business world with companies such as the NBA trading these digital assets.

So, What is the Blockchain, and Why Does It Protect Artists?

The blockchain does not require a central authority to operate and is currently not regulated by the U.S. federal government or the Financial Accounting Standards Board. The importance of the blockchain is that it helps track the authenticity/ownership of the product which can be difficult when selling digital assets online. Artists understand that photos and graphic design works can be readily copied and transferred via different websites leading to a loss of control and revenue generated from those pieces. That is why minting NFTs allows for proof of authenticity for those who owning the NFT that they are a legitimate copy from the original artist rather than a fake version.

Digital creators can utilize NFTs to protect their artwork from being readily copied online by those claiming to be the original artist.
Photo by ANTONI SHKRABA on Pexels.com

Where Else Can NFTs Be Used in the Market?

NFTs can also be used with physical items such as documents, tickets, certificates and contracts. In the educational sector, diplomas and transcripts can be verified to determine that the document is legitimate for students applying to colleges or new jobs. Within MOOCs or Massive Open Online Courses, NFTs can be used to verify the background of instructors for students taking the course for the first time who may be skeptical of the openness of the course. In the medical field, medical records can identify a patient’s health history and health information which can then be sent to other doctors or insurance companies who need to verify that a patient actually exists and what conditions need to be addressed. In the nonprofit world, fundraising and donors of those doing medical research can verify that those third parties are actually legitimate and not scammers looking to steal personal information on those who actually donate.

Learn the basics of NFTs while understanding how the marketplaces work, where they are bought and where they are sold.

How Can You Purchase NFTs

The NFT code is available to the public for those who have internet access which is leading to more people who are able to invest in artwork. This had tended to be limited to those with large amounts of money who could purchase artworks by famous artists through auction houses. NFT trading is available on sites such as Zeromint NFT Marketplace and OpenSea with purchases only being available for those who hold cryptocurrencies. You CANNOT purchase NFTs with cash or credit/debit cards. To make NFTs, artists have the ability to mint tokens on different platforms such as Rarible, Tezos and the Flow blockchains. NFTs are subjective in their value similar to when art is sold and are based on supply and demand for a certain collectible. In a nutshell, it is only as valuable as the amount someone is willing to pay for it meaning that it cannot be readily substituted.

How you can use NFC tags for NFTs?

An NFC (Near Field Communication) tag is a sticker that has an embedded antenna within it. It has the ability to store small amounts of NDEF (NFC Data Exchange Format) data that can be programmed using a compatible software application to complete many actions. In the case of the NFT world, NFC tags can prove the authenticity of an item that is purchased by a consumer. For example, a collectible such as a baseball card or bullion (silver or gold) which carries a lot of value. NFC tags also support web links meaning that you can use your NFC compatible device to link to a website for more information on the digital asset or the art piece that a consumer has purchased.

NFTs require a level of authenticity to prove that you actually own the piece of digital art which will ensure its value in the market if you decide to sell it

Authentication through NFC tags can be proven through reading with an NFC desktop reader such as the BRAND NEW ACS ACR1252U-MF USB Contactless *NFC* USB Type-C Smart Card Reader III or through an NFC compatible smart phone which can be both running on iOS or Android.

Other NFC desktop readers include:

If you are looking for NFC tags, we offer programmable NFC tags on our website such as the:

For NFC Software options, the links below will take you to the NXP Semiconductors’ website and Google Play and Apple App Store which will provide downloads for major desktop operating systems:

If you want to test out all that NFC tags have to offer then take a look at our Tag Starter Kits which come in various iterations.

How experienced is Tx Systems with NFC Tags?

We are a distributor for the leading smart card readers on the market from manufacturers such as ACS, HID Global and Identiv. Through our long journey in the smart card industry since 1997, we have seen our fair share of change within the industry which has culminated in the adoption of EMV-based smart cards. Tx Systems has been in the NFC space since 2011 and have worked with some of the largest players (Fortune 500) in multiple verticals. with options from NFC readers to a wide variety of NFC-enabled tags. We offer NFC tags from the leading manufacturer, NXP Semiconductors, based in the Netherlands with options such as the highly advanced, NXP NTAG 424 DNA Tag with supported applications within authentication and home automation. With a passion for cybersecurity and securing critical data from the world’s largest companies, you can be certain that your data is in good hands.

Find out more about NFC tags and readers from our site!

Where Can I Find Out More About NFC Tags?

Tx Systems offers a wide variety of NFC readers that you can choose from if you want to start your digital arts business with NFTs!

Take a look at our website today to find the NFC reader that best fits your needs! We are also available via phone at 858-622-2004 or email at sales@txsystems.com to answer any questions that you might have about NFC tags.

Author: Carl Hughes, Sales/Marketing Specialist

A technical hobbyist interested in learning the nitty-gritty of computers.

All You NEED to Know to Use the Crescendo 2300 and the HID Security Key with Workforce ID Digital Credential Manager

Have you adopted both the HID Crescendo 2300 Smart Card and the HID FIDO Security Key and are using that with HID’s Workforce ID Digital Credential Manager?

You might be thinking, what are some of the ways that these devices can be integrated with this software when implementing that within your business?

Take for example, if you are ABC Company making fingerprint readers and need support for logical computer access and physical access (converged access) for going into your building. You would want a solution that allows you to cover all your employees, is easy to operate and allows them some level of control.

If you are looking to use the HID Crescendo 2300 Smart Card with HID Workforce ID Credential Manager then you are in luck as it has compatibility with your existing PACS technology with FIPS 201 certification for use with PIV/CIV standards. All of your data is secured via AES-128 data encryption meaning that it is safe from any potential interlopers who may want to capture your data transfer. This means that you can save money from needing to update your entire system with a new physical access system. Beyond that, you can also include SEOS, MIFARE Plus and MIFARE DESFire emulation with this smart card for enhanced levels of security.

The HID Crescendo 2300 Smart Card is an extremely secure option thanks to its FIPS-201 certification relevant to PIV usage while having the flexibility for both contact/contactless use.

The HID Crescendo 2300 Smart Card could be used as a form of ID for John Doe to access the office building while logging onto his workstation at his desk. This means that you will not need to purchase two separate smart cards for physical and logical access saving you both time and money. The Crescendo 2300 Smart Card is also dual-interface meaning that you could utilize the contactless interface meaning that it does not require you to insert it into your smart card reader, it can utilize smart card readers such as:

The HID Crescendo FIDO Security Key is used to login to your various online and native desktop applications and is a tremendous force in MFA technology. They support cloud applications such as the Google Suite and DropBox Business for login purposes while using Microsoft Office and Adobe Acrobat for document signing housed on your native workstation.

The HID Crescendo FIDO Security Key is a great option for logging into both your laptop and workstation at home or at the office without needing to rely solely on passwords for security purposes.

John Doe could also manage his own credentials (hardware) from this online portal to allow for security administrators and support to focus on their own needs. So, if he were to be issued multiple HID Crescendo FIDO Security Keys then he could input that into the Workforce ID Digital Credential Manager. This could be tied to workstations with Active Directory or a hybrid Azure Active Directory system.

Both of these solutions are very secure and robust and are the stepping stone for the year free of HID Workforce ID Digital Credential Manager as you will need to purchase either 100 HID Crescendo 2300 Smart Cards or 100 HID Crescendo FIDO Security Keys in order to receive a year free subscription of the Workforce ID Digital Credential Manager.

How Does Workforce ID Digital Credential Manager Work with the HID Crescendo Key and the HID Crescendo 2300 Smart Card?

The Workforce ID Digital Credential Manager and this certificate authority is able to manage all the credentials of the employees that you manage. So, if John Doe who is a marketing manager has a smart card that he uses to login to his laptop at work while also having an HID Crescendo FIDO Security Key to utilize MFA (multi-factor authentication) for his online accounts at home that he needs for Salesforce. ABC Company could manage those hardware devices (Device Name, Serial Number and Status) from this online portal. The software can support much more than one of your employees but can take care of your entire organization in one online portal up to 1 million users and more. Workforce ID Digital Credential Manager is extremely flexible and can cover businesses in a wide variety of industries. It can do so from the day that John Doe is onboarded with company-issued technology to the day that he retires with the hardware in his possession.

With both the HID Crescendo FIDO Security Key, you can login to online applications such as DropBox Business and the Google Suite safely and securely.

All of his logins into WorkforceID Digital Credential Manager using both the HID Crescendo FIDO Security Key and the HID Crescendo 2300 Smart Card can be tracked through reporting features that are available via the online portal. If any of these were lost or stolen, John Doe could utilize the Report Incident feature to let the System Administrator know and to permanently revoke his credentials for that device meaning that he will no longer be able to use the device at work even if he were to find it. In a nutshell, he would need to be given a new device.

Another feature with Acknowledgements allows for badges to be returned to ABC Company whether that be for a visitor which comes with Visitor Management. We speak more on the Visitor Management side of Workforce ID in our blog titled “How Workforce ID Visitor Management Can COMPLETELY Handle Your Visitors and Employees?”

How Workforce ID Visitor Management Can COMPLETELY Handle Your Visitors and Employees?

Click here to read the blog!

You can also go through the process of being issued a certificate for the specific hardware device that you need such as the HID Crescendo 2300 Smart Card and the HID Crescendo FIDO Security Key. You will need a PIN to protect the device. The Crescendo 2300 Smart Card or the HID Crescendo FIDO Security Key will now be considered active within the WorkforceID DCM. The Crescendo 2300 Smart Card will now work as a certificate that can be used in conjunction with a PIN number for logging into your accounts.

With all of these login methods in place, John Doe has completely eliminated his need for a password to login to his laptop and online accounts! It supports his desire to work remotely from home by being able login to his VPN while keeping his company and their assets secure from the potential for hackers to take advantage of this freedom.

Whether you decide to work at home or at the office, you will be able to access Workforce ID Digital Credential Management thanks to it being based in the cloud!

So, by committing to this software for the long-term, you have the ability to keep your credentials up-to-date while having HID take care of the maintenance of it. The benefits of using cloud-based software! Certificates will be issued without the need for your intervention as well, so you can simply cruise along as the software will take care of you.

Who is Tx Systems?

Tx Systems knows a thing or two about credential management and identity solutions as we have been in the business since 1997 and have worked with some of the largest players (Fortune 500) in multiple verticals. We are the ideal reseller of major smart cards types conforming to ISO 7816 (Smart Card Industry Standard) and smart card readers, from trusted and respected manufacturers such as HID which we are an official Platinum Partner. We also offer many MFA (multi-factor authentication) solutions from HID such as WorkforceID Digital Credential Management along with DigitalPersona which we support with our one-on-one technical support, so you will not be left in the dark.

With Tx Systems, you can rest assured that your data is secure for your business and its unique needs.

The Tx Systems Official Logo.
Tx Systems is a trusted reseller of smart cards and their readers. We are an HID Platinum Partner.

How Do I Receive My Year Free of HID WorkforceID Digital Credential Manager?

For more information on implementing both the HID Crescendo Key and the Crescendo 2300 Smart Card into your business, please visit https://www.txsystems.com/hid-crescendo-2300-workforce-id-dcm

From here, you can also email Tx Systems at sales@txsystems.com or call us at 858-622-2004 for more information to try 1 year free of HID Workforce ID Digital Credential Manager!

Author: Carl Hughes, Sales/Marketing Specialist

A technical hobbyist interested in learning the nitty-gritty of computers.

How to Read a Smart Card Datasheet Easily?

Have you ever been wanting to learn more about the smart card reader that you just bought but have had a hard time finding details about how the smart card reader actually works.

Yeah, sure there is a lot of information that you can find on the manufacturer’s site, but you definitely want to have a document that has all the details listed in one place.

That is where the datasheet comes in place!

Technically, it is meant for more technically-savvy folks but if you actually take a look at the document itself, it is both informative and very helpful as it has all that you need to know to get started or at least to determine if that smart card reader is right for you.

There is a wealth of information at your fingertips and if you take a bit of time to actually read the document, you will find all that you need to know before and after purchasing a smart card reader.

So, What Can You Expect When You First Read a Datasheet?

A datasheet may look intimidating when you first open the PDF file, but it does not have to be. It is similar to a user guide that you receive when you buy your phone but with less information stuffed into large paragraphs. It is actually a much easier read than you might imagine with much of the information being sorted out through tables separated by major categories such as Host Interface and Operating Conditions.

When first starting to read the datasheet, do not fear the smart card jargon as it will get easier as time goes on when looking at multiple data sheets for comparison.

If you like YouTube videos to learn then I have you covered with this one breaking down what a datasheet is and how to tackle one!

A datasheet may start with a one sentence statement to describe the product. However, the beginning of most data sheets will include a few paragraphs about the product and what it includes or include a few bullet points about the major (key) benefits that it has. It will tend to look similar if you are looking for smart card readers from different brands, so it will get a lot easier over time.

So, How Are Datasheets Structured for Smart Cards and Other Cybersecurity Hardware/Software?

The right-hand box will tend to have three or more main points that serve as the top reasons to buy this piece of hardware/software, or there will be a box on the second page that has multiple bullet points if you are looking at an HID datasheet. This could also include a box with Common Applications. You may also notice that there are Part Numbers mentioned towards the top of the page which will be important if you decide to speak with us or the manufacturer.

Diagrams may be included of the product where each section is specifically laid out with the most important features specified.

There may be icons relating to the applications that can be used with this reader as seen on Elatec’s datasheets.

The datasheet may go into detail on the different parts of the hardware if there are multiple functions within one piece. For example, the Identos Tactivo mini for iOS and its datasheet specifies some of the categories specified below in a bulleted listing style.

For Example, How Are ACS (Advanced Card Systems) Datasheets Structured?

For ACS hardware, there is usually a Table of Contents given that these datasheets tend to be several pages long. The different sections on the Table of Contents are clickable meaning that you will be taken to that section when you click on it. There are included footnotes at the bottom of the pages to specify certain conditions which are met by features within the datasheet.

For ACS datasheets,

There tends to be a couple of pages of bulleted lists (Features and Typical Applications) along with a few sections that describe in paragraphs about crucial features such as physical features and operating system support.

The last two pages will include Technical Specifications which have the categories listed below:

  • Physical Characteristics include the exterior dimensions of the smart card reader such as weight and color
  • USB Host Interface references how the device communicates with the PC
  • Contact Smart Card Interface references how a standard smart card will interact with the reader
  • Built-in Peripheral references the LED Status Light which references when the reader is reading and when it is running into an error
  • Application Programming Interface references how a developer can interact with the device
  • Operating Conditions represent at what conditions would the smart card reader be ideally functioning at
  • Certifications/Compliance references the standards to which the reader meets in the industry that it operates in
  • Device Driver Operating System Support represents the operating systems that are supported by the reader and its included driver

*ACS tends to include a blueprint of what the reader looks like with included dimensions under the Technical Specifications header.

*You will tend to notice the Certifications/Compliance logos along with operating systems’ logos towards the bottom of this table.

  • Product instructions are also common to show how to use a particular aspect of the product

What Products Have Large Amounts of Pages for Their Smart Card Products?

*Certain products will have much longer documents attached in the datasheet section in a Product Manual format rather than a simple datasheet.

This is the case for products such as:

*Keep an eye out on the datasheet as it may be updated over time which is referenced at the bottom of the datasheet

What Products Have Product Lines for Their Smart Card Products?

There may be a dedicated Benefits section as seen with the Hitachi H-1 Finger Vein Scanner that lists way this product is superior. Some of our products may also be a part of a larger product line so the datasheet may be referencing an entire line of product such as HID’s Crescendo smart cards and will include those products listed in a separate box.

*There may be other solutions mentioned that we do not offer.*

The images will tend to show the product in action (for example, a smart card inserted or being tapped on the smart card reader), in a real world setting or will be still product photography (vectors) for demonstration purposes to showcase its features, exterior and other noticeable points at different angles.

  • Product instructions with diagrams are also common to show how to use a particular aspect of the product that may cause confusion for many users.

Some IMPORTANT POINTS to NOTE Before You Read the Datasheet:

  • There may be active web links that can be clicked to take you to a separate product page from the manufacturer. These will tend to be highlighted in blue and underlined.
  • If you download this as a PDF, you can actually use a highlighter to keep track of main selling points for yourself and those that are most important to you. It may also be wise to leave comments if you want to remember something later on. You can also print out a hard copy.
  • If you are an employee that needs a smart card ASAP, skip this and go to the technical information as that will have all that you need to make the best decision with USB type, smart card support and size/weight. You might also find that there are logos to major operating systems or standards that are included within the Specifications section which may also be named something else depending on the manufacturer.
  • The most important section to determine if this is the right smart card reader for you is to take a look at the Parameter section which has the major categories represented.
  • BE AWARE THAT DATASHEETS WILL VARY DEPENDING ON MANUFACTURER AS SOME WILL BE TWO PAGES WHEREAS OTHERS SUCH AS ACS WILL BE CLOSE TO SEVEN AND WILL TEND TO HAVE MULTIPLE FORMATS TO CHOOSE FROM SUCH AS PARAGRAPHS, BULLET POINTS AND CONDENSED TABLES
  • Some products may not a datasheet attached which means that you can reach out to us via technical support at 858.622.2004 or techsupport@txsystems.com to answer those questions.
  • Much of these categories will be the same across all manufacturers with only the category being named something different.
  • Additional product features may also be included above the Specifications table which will be structured as bullet points.

Why is Tx Systems THE Trusted Source for Cybersecurity Hardware and Software?

Our superior customer support and guidance have not gone unnoticed with large Fortune 500 corporations within both the public and private sector having purchased from us to support their cybersecurity needs. These companies include some of the largest in fields such as ride sharing, imaging & printing, entertainment and technology.

We are a distributor for leading smart cards, their readers and other security hardware such as biometric readers. We have been in the business since 1997 and have stayed on top of leading technologies such as new biometric inputs and even the adoption of RFID stickers with NFC capabilities. Tx Systems is a passionate force in the industry and is dedicated to supporting you through whatever usage case you may have for both enterprise and government customers. Trust us to stay on top of cybercriminals and start securing your data by taking a constructive step forward.

This is the go-to blog to answer all of your smart card needs!

Check out our website to see all the products that we offer to secure both your digital and physical assets!

SMART CARD DATASHEETS

SMART CARD INTERFACE (Contactless)/HOST INTERFACE

These are the very basics of the smart card reader that will be of most importance to you when deciding on a smart card reader and if you need support as it will identify the smart card reader.

The HID OMNIKEY 3021 is a great contact smart card reader that can work with national IDs along with providing a means to access your online banking portal.

Read our blog about the five best E-ID readers for your national IDs!

Base Model Number

  • The name of the hardware with a specific model number and condition (*CL means contactless) such as the HID OMNIKEY 3021

Reading/Write Distance (*CONTACTLESS SMART CARD READER)/Operating Distance

  • If you purchase a contactless smart card then this would apply as it would signify the distance you can place the smart card for it to read the data on the card or write to it.

Host Interface/Operating Modes (USB)/Peripheral Interface

You will find out details such as the USB type, card data transfer speed, protocol, power source, voltage, current, cable length at or it could even refer to the Bluetooth capabilities of the device which may specify battery type and the speed which it transfers data.

  • Bluetooth software type, standards, encryption support

Bluetooth Low Energy

  • This specifies the type of Bluetooth version that is being used by the hardware.

Connector/Cable

  • USB cable type (Type-A vs. Type-C), length (5 feet) and connector type (USB 2.0 vs. USB 3.0)

Supported Card Chips/Supported Tag ICs

(Integrated Circuits)/Smart Card Types/Transponders/Cards & Protocols

  • This could be things such as what types of smart card readers are supported such as the MIFARE, FeliCa or even NFC tags if that is the type of reader that you are purchasing (contact/contactless). This is extremely essential because you would not want to buy a smart card reader and realize that the smart card that you are using is not supported.

So, think about what your specific application is and find if that EMV chip will read.

  • These smart card readers may also be separated into different frequencies depending on if they are operating at 125 Khz (Prox cards) or 13.56 MHz (Smart Cards), Option P and Option PI.

Power to Smart Card

  • This will determine how much electricity is needed for each smart card type. Depending on what Class that is in, it may need more power (A has the highest, B has the middle while C has the lowest)

Smart Card Protocols/Standards/Supported Standards/Supported Tag Integrated Circuits (ICs)

Standards supported by the type of smart cards (contact vs. contactless) such as ISO 7814 (Part 1-4) or the structures (protocols) that are found within them such as I2C or 3-wire.

Think of this section as when you are looking for at the specifications of a desktop computer or laptop specifically with a CPU. There tends to be the usual features mentioned such as the clock speed and the amount of cache.
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Card Size

  • ID-1 is the standard size of a smart card and is the size that you see for debit/credit cards and most of our smart cards.

Data Transfer Rate/Data Transfer Table/Smart Card Interface Speed/Operating Frequency (Smart Card Clock Frequency)/Transmission Speed

  • This will be important depending on the application that you have because a higher transfer rate means that you will be authenticated much quicker which would be important in physical access control. You would not want to have a line out the door waiting to get into the office. So, choose a higher data transfer rate for when speed is of the essence. It is measured in kilobytes per second (kbps) and depends on the type of card that you are using and will specify your read/write speed.

Smart Card Detection

  • Features that the smart card reader has included to support reading and writing such as auto-detection while protecting the smart card from potential damage from electrical fluctuations

8-Pin Handling/Compatible PIN Header (*CONTACT SMART CARDS)

  • The types of contact smart card sockets that are supported by the reader (4-pins vs. 8-pins).

Antenna/Antenna Size (*CONTACTLESS SMART CARDS)

  • This refers to the contactless card smart card reader as that it how the reader will interact with your smart card. They are based on radio frequencies and are internal antennas rather than having an external antenna as seen with a portable radio.

Contact Type (*CONTACT SMART CARDS)

  • This refers to the connection that the contact smart card makes with the smart card reader and is a reference to the EMV chip that is found on the smart card. That is the shiny, square portion (gold or silver) of the smart card that is usually to the left of the card.
    • It may appear different depending on the smart card that you use as there are multiple types of EMV chips.

Applications/Use Case Types/Usage

  • Where the smart card reader is ideally used which tends to be in multiple types of industries, specific use cases or the ideal placement it should have such as on a mobile phone or a desktop with a PC.

SMART CARDS and Readers Datasheets

Tx Systems offers many different types of smart cards such as the Crescendo C1150 for your business along with the smart card readers to use them!

Client Middleware:

Middleware refers to the software that will be used to interact with the smart card such as HID’s ActivClient for Windows.

Management System:

Refers to the credential management system that will be used to track smart card issuance and credentials distributed to employees such as Workforce ID Credential Manager.

Platform:

These are the card operating systems (COS) that are being used on the smart card.

PACS Technology Combinations:

Physical Access Control Systems (Prox) card technology that can be integrated within the smart card interface as is the case with many smart cards offered with multiple applications.

Physical Access System:

The compatible systems that the smart card can work with.

Personalized Data on Smart Card:

The security mechanisms that are included on the smart card to protect the data from misuse.

Similar to the files that you have on your computer, smart cards can store files and application as well which are customized to the needs of your business.
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Data Elements:

Card Holder Unique Identifier (UID):

  • The ID that is specific to that smart card.

PIV Auth Certificate:

  • The TrustID Card Authentication certificate within the smart card that is valid from 3 years from the day that it was manufactured.

Card Auth Certificate:

  • The TrustID Card Authentication certificate within the smart card that is valid from 3 years from the day that it was manufactured.

PIN Code:

  • PIN Code set up by end user

Cryptographic Algorithms for Encryption:

  • The cryptography that is used to protect the data on smart cards such as AES-128, DES or Triple DES which is essential for contactless smart cards.

Operating Conditions Section

This section details how and where the smart card stores data within its memory.

Smart cards can store data similar to that of a hard drive in smaller amounts though.
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Card/Key Fob Construction:

  • This refers to what the smart card is made out of (For example, Composite PVC/PET).

EEPROM Size/Memory Size

  • The amount of storage space that the EEPROM holds.

EEPROM Endurance

  • The number of cycles that the EEPROM is expected to last.

EEPROM Data Retention

  • The years that the data will stay safe on the smart card without fear of loss.

Type of Memory

  • The structure of the memory configuration.

Compliance and Regulatory Section

These are added features that can be incorporated within the smart card to allow for certain security standards to be met depending on the environment to where this will be used.

State IDs have many ways that they are able to differentiate themselves from one another and to protect against fake IDs. These come most noticeably in the forms of visual security.

Security Measures

  • The mechanisms used to prevent data theft or issues relating to technology failure.

Printer Compatibility

  • This is what types of printers that the smart card will be able to be printed out on.

Security Evaluation and Certification

  • Security standards that are followed by the product to ensure maximum data protection.

Wiegand Stripe

  • The inclusion of this technology is mentioned in relation to it being part of the smart card’s design.

Magnetic Stripe

  • An older technology that was used widely on credit/debit cards and is seen still on the back of these smart cards as a black line.

Slot Punch

Visual Security Options

  • This can be included on a smart card as a way to prevent counterfeiting and fake IDs as noticeable on the Virginia State ID.

Driver and Software Section

This section highlights what operating systems are supported by the smart card reader and its drivers and how the API can be used to develop software with those features.

CCID (Chip Card Interface Device) Driver

  • The native driver support from Windows to support smart card hardware such as the Identiv SCR3310v2.

PC/SC Compatibility

  • The level of support for smart card drivers based off the host operating system.

PS/SC Driver Support (Personal Computer/Smart Card Driver)/Supported Platforms/Client O/S Support/Operating Systems

  • Look at this section to determine if the smart card reader will support your operating system (OS). Many of the smart card readers that we sell tend to work with major operating systems such as Windows, macOS and Linux. You will find some that do have Android support and iOS support but those tend to be geared towards mobile users. The drivers are usually preinstalled within certain OS versions specifically with Windows and macOS; however, others will require you to download the files on the manufacturer’s website and install from there. We have comprehensive guides on our blog that can assist you in installing smart card drivers.
The HID OMNIKEY 3021 Smart Card Reader is one of the most well-known smart card readers that is fit for using with online banking if you reside in a country that requires that for online account login.
The Identiv uTrust 3700F is fit to be used with the Android OS via USB OTG meaning that you will be able to start scanning NFC tags for programming without the need for native NFC support.

Software/Integration for Developers/Interoperability/Supported APIs

  • If you are a programmer than this section will interest you as it includes references to the types of applications that come with the device. These can usually be found on the manufacturer’s site or on the respective Apple App Store or Google Play Store if it is a mobile reader. These APIs allow for smart cards to be integrated with programs for authentication while also allowing programmers to develop their own custom software. It may also come as an SDK (Software Development Kit) depending on the manufacturer.

So, tell us how we are doing so far and if there is any improvement that we can make to this guide and future guides as this will help us improve your understanding?

Operating Conditions Section

This section is important if you are looking to use your smart card hardware in certain types of environments where temperatures may change or electricity is present.

If you are looking for the more internal build specifications such as power then you will want to keep an eye out here.
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Power Supply

  • This refers to how the smart card reader is powered. Most of the smart card readers are powered via USB, so you will not need a separate AC adapter attached to the reader. It will also depend on what the smart card reader is doing at the time. The smart card reader will not use as much power when it is standby versus when it has a smart card inserted and is actively reading.

Power/Current Consumption

  • Determines the amount of electricity that the reader takes to run with most models needing only USB power to operate versus having an external power supply plugged into a wall outlet.

Dimensions

  • This will determine the length, width and height of the reader which are important to determine when you want to store it or if you want something smaller to keep your desk clean. It is usually in metric units so be sure to convert them to standard units if you are in the U.S. to make for certain that you know exactly what it is. There are many online converters online that make it easy, or you can always use your elementary school math to test it out.

Weight

  • Once again, this will more than likely be in metric units so be sure to convert this, so you do not end up buying a brick to carry in your laptop case to work. It may also tend to include the weight that the smart card reader is when the cable is attached.

Material Specifications

  • If you are looking for a certain material that will fit best in your work environment such as one that will hold up to extreme temperatures then you will want to look here. You will find details relating to either the entire body itself or certain materials that you may find on the device.

Packaging

  • This is what comes with the smart card reader in the mail such as the box, its total shipping weight and the documentation included such as the user guide and warranty information.

Operating Temperature Range

  • Keep an eye out for this in case you are going to apply this reader to a hotter or colder than average setting. Most of the readers are quite durable meaning that you have the ability to use them in settings that the average office would not see.

Color/Housing/Material Specifications/Composition

  • Describes the type of material that the outside casing is made out of which tends to be plastic along with other features that include hand straps, keyboard straps and rest pads.

Type

Environmental Section

These attributes refer to conditions relating to storage and operating temperatures that the smart card reader can perform at.

Certain areas may be more or less ideal for smart card readers depending on the type of work being done. Offices will suffice in most conditions, but you may need something more durable if you are working in hotter conditions.
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Storage Temperature Range

  • You want to make sure that you keep these readers in ideal conditions when you are not using them especially if you plan on keeping some extra on hand in case one breaks or a new employee comes onboard. Most office conditions will not be in freezing temperatures or even Death Valley temperatures; however, if you are storing this outdoors in a storage container or even where there is no A/C then you are bound to reach temperatures that could well exceed those specified within the document. This will need to take into account where you live. If you have a business in Las Vegas during the summer where temperatures can reach over 110°F then your outdoor storage unit will probably push over 140°F which may even melt the plastic off some of these readers. So, keep an eye out for where this will be stored to prevent damage to your smart card reader.

Operating Humidity Range/Relative Humidity

  • This is the best set of humidity to use your smart card reader to avoid malfunction. Too much humidity could cause condensation and moisture to build on the electrical components which would damage your reader. The best thing to remember is that electricity and water do not mix. So, using this smart card reader in an outdoor setting may cause the accuracy to be effected especially if it is a foggy and misty morning in San Francisco which occurs throughout the year.

MTBF or Mean Time Between Failure

  • Keep an eye out on this determine if you will need to replace your smart card reader quickly or not. Depending on the number of hours that it is expected to work, it may be quicker than you expect. However, most of our readers tend to do a great job with durability and may even outlast you at your workplace. That is because they tend to last hundreds of thousands of hours. Take for example the Identiv 3700 IG which has a MBTF of 10,000,000 million hours. If you want to calculate that into days then it would be 416,667 days meaning that would be over 1,100 years. You would need to live a millennium to even see it fail from typical usage.
    • Now, this does not account for actions brought on by the user from misuse such as dropping the reader or even hitting the smart card reader out of anger when it malfunctions. Those may shorten the life of the reader with repeated instances.

Durability/Insertion Cycles (Contact Smart Card Reader)

  • Determines the number of times that the smart card can be inserted into the smart card reader before failure. Much of the readers can handle around 100,000 smart card insertions before showing signs of wear-and-tear. Luckily, if you only use it once a day then you will likely have the reader for a long period of time such as around 274 years.

Connector

  • Shows what type of USB Type that you are using whether that be USB-A, -B or even -C for those macOS users. You can also find the length of the USB cable with many of our readers coming with a cable that is nearly 6 feet long. This is great in situations where you need to stretch it across a desk or even a counter for users to authenticate themselves. You may also find capabilities that make the smart card reader wireless such as Bluetooth meaning that you will not have to worry about cord tangling, tripping or even the clutter that comes with having a cable that long. The speed may also be listed here with there being mainly three different speeds such as USB 1.1, 2.0 or 3.0. Be aware that USB 2.0 Full Speed is essentially going to be operating at 1.1 speeds as it will be limited to transfer speeds up to 12 Mbps whereas true USB 2.0 High Speed will be up to 480 Mbps which is seen with the Hitachi H-1 USB 2.0 Type-A/mini-B Contactless Finger Vein Biometric Scanner.

Human Interface Section

The features of a smart card reader that can directly interact with the end user.

Most smart card readers that we offer come with an LED status light on the smart card reader that allows you to determine if there is an error with the smart card or it is currently reading it.

Status Indicator

  • Determines if there is an included LED light that alerts you to the condition of the reader. So, it will tell you when the reader is reading your smart card or even finger for that matter and will more than likely show a green or red light depending on how it went. It is pretty safe to say that green is good whereas red is not. There may also be a buzzer or beep that comes with the smart card reader to determine whether you have been authenticated or rejected.

Firmware

  • Much of the firmware that powers these smart card readers are SmartOS enabled. Firmware itself is a set of instructions that stay constant with a piece of hardware that essentially tells it what to do. It can be programmed and flashed to be updated in the future if the manufacturer decides to alter it. These are considered lower-level functions which may actually provide benefits such as a longer life span or even new features to the device.

Firmware In-Field Upgradeable

  • Determines if firmware can be upgradeable or not depending on if the manufacturer changes it.

Options Section

The legal and profile information on the smart card reader that will help you determine the support level that is needed for your smart card reader.

Each product will have its own product part number which you can use when emailing the manufacturer or Tx Systems.
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Product Part Numbers/Order Code/Optional Accessories/Model Number

  • These can be helpful when speaking with the manufacturer on trying to find the reader that you are looking for or when requesting support for it. This allows them to check their system for availability. Accessories can be ordered to make your operation quicker and easier and come in forms such as stands or bases.

Warranty Information:

  • This is how long that the manufacturer will cover the hardware maintenance expenses with no cost to you.
    • ALWAYS CHECK THE WARRANTY INFORMATION

*PAY ATTENTION TO FOOTNOTES AS THEY CAN REVEAL IMPORTANT CONTENGENCIES THAT NEED TO BE MET BEFORE USING DEVICE*

Compliance-Certification-Regulatory Section

This section is important if you want to focus on the legal side of the product and its conformity to certain standards and will include information that is relevant to certain parts of the world.

IP Rating:

  • Determines the level of strength against elements that it may encounter.
  • View this website here for an explanation on IP Ratings to determine what each of those numbers mean as it will help assist you in seeing which of your options will be best in your environment

Country of Origin:

  • This references where the smart card reader was made.

Systems/Standards/Approvals/Product Standards or Support Standards:

  • This will refer to certain supported standards within the reader such as USB type and speed or other jargon such as CCID or Microsoft WHQL. It can also include standards set by ISO/IEC or EMV which would tend to focus on smart card type.

Regulatory/Environmental/Compliance/Certification/Regional Certifications/Approvals/Accreditation:

  • You may not need to be as concerned about these as we are a licensed distributor of official smart card products meaning that they conform to regional standards for product safety.

BIOMETRIC READERS/SCANNERS Datasheets

The Hamster Pro 30 is a fingerprint reader that is the newest in the line of Hamster Pro readers that accounts for people with larger fingers.

Image Resolution:

  • The quality of the image that is captured for fingerprints such as 500 DPI (Dots Per Inch) which is also used for flatbed scanners that you might have on a printer at work.

Image Size:

  • The dimensions (Length x Height) of the fingerprint image.

Platen Size:

  • The length and width of the glass bed (platen) of the fingerprint reader which is measured in metric units (mm or millimeters).

Effective Sensing Area:

  • The area to which a fingerprint can be read when compared with the total platen (glass bed) which is measured in metric units (mm or millimeters).

Image Gray Scale:

  • This is how an image will look when completed and the number of colors that are included which is shown in levels.

Light Source/Typical Lifetime:

  • The type of light that is used along with the amount of time that it takes for it to be burned out. At 60,000 hours, it would take 2,500 days for it to be replaced or almost seven years.

Smart Capture Speed:

  • The time it takes to capture the fingerprint image for example, the Hamster Pro takes roughly 0.2 to 0.5 seconds.

Biometric Standards:

  • Industry standards relating to biometric devices that are followed such as INCITS 378, ISO/IEC 19794-2 and 19794-4.

Lighting Conditions:

  • Depending on if the reader is biometric, it may require that you be in a well-lit area that provides for accurate scanning as anything more or less than will cause issues with the final product

NFC Datasheets

Identiv Printed NXP NTAG *NFC* 424 DNA Tag Stickers (5-Pack) are an example of NFC tags with the latest and greatest technology!

RFID Interface

Compatible Mobile Application

Datalogging

  • The amount of information that can be held on these NFC tags which can be in the forms of URLs, addresses and much more depending on the type of NFC tag that you purchase

Datalogging Mode:

  • The different types of modes that can be accessed when using the NFC tags for data storage.

Label Dimensions:

  • The measurements of the NFC tags from a length and width perspective.

Die-cut Size:

  • The measurement of the entire NFC tag.

Core Size:

  • The length of the NFC tag from one end to the other.

Web Width:

  • The length of the antenna.

Bending Diameter (D)

  • The amount of bending that the NFC tag can do and the tension that it can withstand.

Label Thickness:

  • The thickness of the NFC tag.

Inlay Construction:

  • The innerworkings of the NFC tag which include the antenna and the sticker.

Customization

  • The design or functionality options that could be selected to create the tag for your specific business and its needs.

Protective Layers

  • The construction that allow for the inlay with the NFC tag to be protected from the external environment.

Programmable

  • Answers the question if the NFC tag can be programmed or not.

Data Protection:

  • The different features that allow for your data to be protected from hackers or interlopers such as NFC tag record integrity and confidentiality.

Adhesive:

  • The materials that the NFC tag is made out of and how it is able to stick to anything.

Quantity Per Reel

  • The amount of NFC tags that you receive per reel.

Shelf Life:

  • The amount of time that the NFC tag can be left unused.

Are Datasheets Updated?

Be aware that these datasheets can be updated over time. For example, Identiv tends to include their Revision/Date of Release at the very bottom of the last date, so keep an eye out on that in case you want the latest technical information. You can also take a look at the contact information for the manufacturer if you need to reach out. However, we will offer you superior technical support considering that our main goal is to support your implementation of your NFC tags and smart card reader in your business!

How Do I Reach Out to Find Out More About Datasheet Information?

Give us a ring if you have any more questions regarding how to read datasheet as we will be able to guide you through some of the more technical questions of the document.
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You can reach out to our technical support team via phone (858.622.2004) or email (technicalsupport@txsystems.com). Much of our product pages also have the details available which means that you will not have to open a separate file or download it to your already stuffed computer. We have included the most pertinent information for your needs which will allow for easier viewing and making a faster decision. Some of our datasheets are linked to the datasheet page on the manufacturer’s website whereas others are a direct link to the file which means that it will be automatically be downloaded to your desktop. Most of those direct linked files tend to have a warning next to them stating that. (*ACS smart card readers will tend to have that.)
So, we hope that this blog answered many of your questions, if so feel free to show your support for our content!

Author: Carl Hughes, Sales/Marketing Specialist

A technical hobbyist interested in learning the nitty-gritty of computers.