Identification cards are not needed for every institution but they certainly become necessary when the institution exceeds a certain size and control must be exerted over entry and exit of personnel into the various spaces of the institution, or if the institution deals with sensitive materials such as high value intellectual property or confidential information. For example non-profits like hospitals must control the inflow of visitors to ensure safety of their patients and security of analytic data under HIPAA protection. Companies with novel inventions must ensure that the plans for the inventions and iterations thereof do not leave the premises into the hands of competitors. Governments are under mandates to protect the data of the citizens that it collects. Universities restrict access to valuable resources such as computers and library stacks to enrolled students. Finally identification cards are sometimes used for personal, health-related purposes, such as by children who suffer from Type 1 diabetes that occasionally require urgent care and whose care is processed more quickly with the presence of an ID card that displays such information.
That there is a need for ID cards is not surprising. There are a number of solutions to obtain these cards. Occasionally if the institution is big enough then an in-house system, or a residence ID system can be created given sufficient resources. This enables the institution to respond robustly and maintain a history of ID activities of its personnel. However, in house systems are expensive and not justifiable except for the biggest institutions. The other common solution is a custom id card made by a third party. The benefits are much lower start up and maintenance costs. For example, the first batch of ID cards are obtained at low cost and thereafter subsequent cards do not cost more.
Most custom ID cards have a number of options. The most obvious is the design of the card which should reflect the institution somehow, perhaps with an appropriate logo or color, and space allotted for a photo and identifying text such as a name or job title or a phone number. The material of the cards varies from order to order with different kinds of plastics and thicknesses. When the card is ordered a number of accessory options should be considered such as inclusion of a lanyard, clip, or transparent holder.
(Photo Credit: Cydcor/Creative Commons)