Airports have been avid and progressive users of security and identification technologies for many years. Some of the early implementations of smart card, biometric, and RFID technologies have occurred at these hubs of modern global enterprise. By their nature, airports attract a diverse group of visitors from around the world–people with the best of intentions as well as those with bad intentions.
Hamburg Airport, in Hamburg Germany is no exception. It is Germany’s fourth largest commercial airport and ranks as the country’s main gateway to Europe. More than 42,000 passengers use the airport every day, well in excess of 10 million annually. In addition, 13,000 airport and vendor employees migrate throughout the facility in the course of their workday.
The airport employees magnetic stripe ID badges were recently replaced by a new contactless smart card. Using the new credential, employees are granted or denied access to areas within the facility based on time of day and privilege level. To date, 78 contactless access control readers have been deployed and more than 10,000 cards have been issued.
Unlike the previous cards, the contactless smart cards are capable of handling multiple applications in addition to access control and authorization. Employees use the same card for parking control, and plans are underway for use of the card for cafeteria payment and fuel payments. The system was deployed by Interflex Datensysteme, a LEGIC partner and reseller based in Stuttgart, Germany. Interflex, part of Ingersoll-Rand’s Security and Safety Sector, has more than 13,000 installed access control systems throughout Europe.
The contactless technology also makes possible the addition of new security options including biometrics. According to Marcus Geigle, Interflex representative, “In a first step, biometric access control for staff is being evaluated. In close consideration is the hand geometry system of Recognition Systems Incorporated, of which already 75,000 systems are installed world-wide. At Hamburg Airport the system would be used for staff, first in the area of access control, later perhaps also for time & attendance. A template-on-card approach is envisaged, so the biometric data would be stored on the LEGIC smart card.”