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The Future of ID Badges

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For years the humble ID badge has been used to tally workers coming and going from office buildings. Whether it’s just a photo form of identification, or with the upgrade of a swipe bar, it’s stayed relatively unchanged until now. 

According to the Wall Street Journal, what we know as an ID badge is about to undergo a serious remodel. From the addition of biometric technology to facial recognition software, what we’ll soon call ID badges might be unrecognizable to the average worker. 

So what does this mean for the future of ID badges? In this guide we’ll look at a variety of scenarios in which ID badges could evolve and how the COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating this process. 

What’s an ID Badge?

First things first, let’s define an ID badge. Essentially, an ID badge is a document used to prove a person’s identity. It can be a passport or a driver’s license, but for the purposes of this guide, we’re generally speaking about ID badges people wear in their place of work. For instance, medical staffer’s lanyard attached photo IDs or school employees badge reel IDs. 

These credentials are used in a variety of ways: as a means of security, to build loyalty, give access to classified spaces, and create a sense of community. In some cases, IDs are even used as a type of uniform giving customers or clients an understanding of who works for a certain company. 

But as technology continues to evolve, so too does the ID format we’ve all become so used to. Rather than merely containing a person’s identification data on a card the size of a credit card, many businesses are using other means to ID employees. And that’s not to mention the new normal that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to identification policies and changes. 

COVID-19’s Affect on ID Badges

In an effort to diminish contact, some businesses are turning to as many contactless solutions as possible—and that extends to ID badges. Rather than have staffers swipe cards, some are embracing QR code technology that allows a user to merely hover a card over a QR reader to confirm their ID. For instance, with a Specialist ID Clear Heavy Duty Vinyl Horizontal Proximity Card Holder, the owner of the card could just hold it over the QR code reader. 

Facial recognition is also an evolving tool that many might use in their ID badges. Now rather than simply have a security guard look at the photo image on an ID card a la a bar bouncer, special software can actually use data to confirm that you aren’t an imposter posing as the person on your ID badge. 

This would require optimized badges, but it’s not as sci-fi as it sounds. All kinds of companies, from beauty brands to banks, are utilizing facial recognition technology. Some companies may look to increase security within facial recognition by deploying tools like Specialist ID’s Identity Stronghold IDSH1004-001B-002 Secure Badgeholder Classic which obscures a photo ID image with an opaque sleeve.

Beyond the badge, biometric and temperature tracking tools could also be implemented as new forms of ID. This, some hope, would not only identify a person, but only allow those not showing a temperature to enter certain spaces, decreasing the spread of disease. 

And then, of course, there’s the smartphone shift. With some people already nixing wallets for virtual credit cards accessed through their phone, it only makes sense that they could be used for identification purposes as well. 

As Security Info Watch explains, 87 percent of the world’s population uses a mobile device. And of those people, 91 percent keep their device within arms reach at all times. So why wouldn’t ID’s shift to this tool people already keep on their person round the clock? 

The shift would require a heavy investment in something called near field communication, or NFC for short. NFC allows two devices within close proximity to each other to exchange data. As Security Info Watch explains, by enabling an NFC chip, people could “use their smartphones to enter buildings in the same way they present a badge ID — users simply download the app to their smartphones.”

That said, these technological advances, while full of potential in the ID industry, come at a hefty price. 

And with it being so early on in the adoption period, implementing them across small businesses may be cost prohibitive. For now, most companies are holding fast to traditional IDs or those with a few technological advancements. 

The way we prove our identity will continue to evolve but to manage what’s available and affordable for most businesses today, there’s Specialist ID. Outfitting employees with the best badge products, from reels to buddies, Specialist ID is here with its extensive line of tools and accessories to keep ID badges safe and protected.

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