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Smart cards are cards with embedded chips that are used for security or for saving profiles, such as for worker identification badges or library cards. Smart card software is made to interact with these cards, by either producing the cards or reading the data from them. Most smart card software is similar, but each program has different strengths that make it better suited for a certain purpose. Without this software, there is no reason to have smart cards, because they will have nothing with which to interact.
Printing smart card software leans toward printing the smart cards, and it has a platform so administrators can quickly create visitor cards. They typically have a short form on which the administrator types a visitor’s name, position, the date and other specific information. These programs usually have a function that allows the program to read the card, but their focus is on making new cards.
Temporary badge smart card software excels at creating badges for limited or one-time use. For businesses that hold one-time visits or secure areas where a temporary worker or someone from the media is entering, these programs make and read badges meant to be used for a very short time. They normally come with a printing function and also may have a function to distinguish between long- and short-term visitors, but they primarily are made for temporary smart cards. To make this easier, the administrator will be able to enter the date range — whether a day or a week — during which the smart card is active.
Permanent smart card software is, as one might expect, the opposite of temporary. These programs make smart cards for permanent workers that will go in and out of an area daily, and they do not have an inherent terminating date. This allows the administrator to log human activity coming in and out of the area without having to continuously make new cards for employees. There usually is a function to terminate the smart card once a worker leaves a company's employment, so the card cannot be used irresponsibly or illegally when the person should no longer be granted access to the facility.
Biometric smart card software is an advanced program that does more than just make and read smart cards. When the smart card is made, other information, such as fingerprints, a signature or photo, is collected from the cardholder so the smart card is personalized especially for that one person. This type of software offers more security because it is exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, for someone to imitate the biometric data.