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VingCard Previews its Coming Attraction: ‘Signature RFID’ at HITEC

  • ASSA ABLOY Hospitality
  • 06.27.06
For VingCard, less is more when it comes to Radio Frequency IDentification (RFID) technology. The global security leader is unlocking the future of RFID technology with the ongoing development of “Signature RFID by VingCard,” a contactless electronic-locking system.

Signature RFID was previewed at the Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition & Conference (HITEC) at the Minneapolis (Minn.) Convention Center, as a ”Coming Attraction” for the North American market.

Proximity is not new to hospitality, but RFID certainly is,” said Marc Freundlich, President and CEO of VingCard North America. “Signature RFID is developed as an open-platform RFID lock that is design centric, guest friendly and compatible with all main RFID ISO standards (ISO 14443 A-MIFARE, ISO 14443 B, ISO 15693) and the new Near Field Communication (NFC) secure transaction platform, soon to be deployed in cell phones worldwide. In addition, it will be the first electronic-locking solution that offers the unique ability to establish brand differentiation through customized RFID keys while making hotel corridors look great at the same time.”

Freundlich explained that 125kHZ proximity locks that were installed in hotels in the late 1990’s have limited functionality and security compared to the newer, more secure and flexible13.56 MHz contactless technology employed in the Signature RFID.  In addition, earlier systems are not likely to be compliant with today’s RFID standards, secure transaction protocols, or compatible with the other RFID devices.

”Hotels do not want to invest in RFID if they are limited to one standard,” Freundlich said. “We designed Signature RFID to support all three standards for maximum flexibility. Now the customer can choose what is best for their application.” 

Due to VingCard’s collaboration with Philips Electronics (NYSE: PHG, AEX, PHI) Signature RFID will use Near Field Communication (NFC) which is the new short-range wireless technology that combines the functionality of a reader and a card into one device and is being implemented in new generation cell phones this year. As a result, VingCard customers will be able to use their guests’ NFC-ready cell phones to open their room doors.

”Together VingCard and Philips have created a way for guests to use their cell phone for guestroom access, as well as a solution for hotel staff and security personnel to use cellular technology for access to back-of-the-house and other private areas,” said Dominique Brule, segment marketing manager, mobile communications, Philips Semiconductors.  “We believe that in the very near future, hotel guest and staff NFC-ready cell phones will be used as RFID keycards and become the preferred way to access guestrooms and other secure areas. Hotels can send the booking confirmation number, room number and an encrypted room key via Short Message System (SMS) to their guests prior to their arrival to avoid check-in lines or at in the front desk when they arrive.”

Simply stated, Signature RFID is designed to be unlike other contactless security solutions in the hospitality market today,” Freundlich said.

“Signature RFID eliminates guest frustration since no key needs to be inserted into a lock,” he said. “The RFID reader is convenient to use and its upgradable technology allows for ongoing system enhancements without removing any hardware. Signature RFID provides a new, interactive experience to guests while enhancing the image and design of your hotel environment.”

With Signature RFID, only the reader and door handle are visible. Like Signature, the system’s design flexibility allows for different aesthetic finishes and colors to be applied to the RFID reader. Designers’ Collection handles are available.

Upgrading from Signature magnetic-stripe or combo technology readers to RFID technology is done simply and quickly by replacing the reader unit and escutcheon only.

Guest Preference and Brand Differentiation

Ken Brown, VingCard Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, said that because Signature RFID will be compatible with a wide range of proximity carriers, hotels can provide guest personalization by customizing RFID carriers for guest differentiation, identifying between standard and VIP guests. VingCard’s customizable carriers include: low-cost guest keycards, long-lasting staff keycards, key fobs and wristbands.

Brown explained that standard customers may be presented with an RFID keycard while business-class guests or those staying on executive floors may be given the option to use a keyfob carrier or their own personal cell phones as their room key.

“VingCard always has been focused on providing the best security technologies to protect guests’ valuables and owners’ assets,” Brown said. “We are proud of the Signature RFID development process and anticipate that it will be embraced by the global lodging industry as openly as the Signature series.”

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