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Access Control

Trends on the cards

The US manufacturer HID Global has provided a perspective on some of the key trends likely to impact government identity programmes over the next five years. According to the company the overarching drivers are a dramatic shift from traditional national identity documents to eIDs, and the growing requirement to defend against mass counterfeiting and tampering attempts while assuring privacy, efficiency and ease of authentication.   



By 2015, 85 percent of all credentials issued annually will be eIDs, and countries issuing eIDs will exceed those still using traditional IDs by four to one, according to a recent report by Acuity Market Intelligence. These statistics underscore HID Global’s own findings based on more than 20 years of work on major government-to-citizen ID projects, including 28 e-passport and 49 eID programmes, from national, foreign resident and worker ID to healthcare and vehicle registration.


Among the most important factors that will shape the industry as it moves to near-universal eID adoption are the twin imperatives for providers and partners to provide effective defences against large-scale forgery attempts and adopt a holistic approach to projects, according to Craig Sandness, vice president of sales at HID Global Government ID Solutions.



Sandness said: “The multi-functional credential is becoming the norm, which means that counterfeit and fraud prevention, end-to-end implementation and integration expertise are now at the forefront of government ID requirements.  This is vital in order to eliminate issues with technology interoperability, post-issuance updates or programme longevity which would otherwise lead to cost overruns.”  


HID Global says that it is experiencing accelerated demand for highly secure and layered, hybrid solutions such as the German National Identity card and the multi-tasking Carabinieri card used by Italy’s national police force. These products perform multiple tasks including access control, proof of identity, healthcare and tax ID, and government fee payments. Multi-functional credentials also use a combination of technologies including contact or contactless chips, RFID antennae, biometrics and optically variable devices. 


“Meeting the needs of national ID programme decision-makers is more challenging than ever before,” added Sandness.  “No two programmes are alike. Each government programme is highly customised, but each must be secure, durable, resilient, compliant, counterfeit resistant and tamper-proof.  With the additional need for future-proofing and integration with national systems, the industry must continue to innovate on all fronts to deliver new programmes to specification, on time and on budget.”


Credential Usage

The pragmatics of everyday usage continue to shape national eID schemes, according to the access form. About 90 percent of all ID cards worldwide are checked by the human eye rather than electronic readers, which are deployed in only a fraction of all inspection points. Visual security therefore remains an essential element for valid authentication.  “At high traffic land borders, in cases of power failure, in emergencies, or – as in the case of the Angola national ID card where lack of infrastructure means there is no network connection – strong visual security features remain essential features of a robust government ID credentialing programme,” noted Sandness.


Best practices

The next five years will see a new focus on industry best practices, as exemplified by programmes such as the United States Green Card, a hybrid card featuring RFID antennae for use at border crossings, and Optical Security Media providing visual security features. 


Sandness added: “As the ID industry moves towards global adoption of eIDs, we can expect to see a greater focus on concept-to-delivery services, best practices, and the use of layered technologies on single credentials.”


About HID Global

HID Global based in Irvine, California, has over 2,000 employees worldwide and operates international offices that support more than 100 countries. HID Global is an ASSA ABLOY Group brand. For more information, visit


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