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HID Global helps lead postal revolution with technologies and facilities

HID Global helps lead postal revolution with technologies and facilities
The Norway Post employs approximately 20,000 staff, has 220 postal offices, 100 local distribution centers and 14 postal terminal buildings.
The Norway Post employs approximately 20,000 staff, has 220 postal offices, 100 local distribution centers and 14 postal terminal buildings. As with any postal company, the Norway Post faces the daily challenges of distributing and delivering millions of people’s post securely and on time. Featuring one of the biggest and most advanced distribution centers located in Oslo that is scheduled for completion in March 2010, it will be Europe’s most advanced postal distribution center. 

The Norway Post has made a substantial investment in creating the most technologically advanced and capable postal distribution centers. The new building is to contain some of the most modern machines in the world that accurately and securely sort millions of parcels and letters every day. 

For many years, the Norway Post used magnetic stripe cards for their access control, but realized that as times change, security standards and requirements also change. This led them to start the search for a new security solution in. The vision for the new solution back then was to increase the convenience and security, whilst ultimately reducing cost. 

“From the outset of this project we understood that due to our many locations and employees, we would not be able to change from one technology to another overnight. We needed to find a solution that would allow us to gradually transition over time while constantly increasing the security levels. Our business is dynamic and change happens fast,” explained John Aslaksby, senior security advisor for the Norway Post. 

The Norway Post had two main requirements for their new solution: 
  • Compatibility with their legacy magstripe format to aid and simplify migration, and, 
  • A solution that each of their three main security suppliers could support and integrate with 

In order to continue to use its current magnetic stripe format, the Norway Post worked closely with HID Global to find a HID Prox and iCLASS smart card format that would be able to read their “old” magnetic stripe card format. After several meetings, and even a visit to HID’s headquarters, the Norway Post chose their own iCLASS Elite format with 78-bit authentication key, giving them maximum security and convenience. 

“In consider upgrading their existing system, the goal was to get an even more secure credential that could be used across a wide range of applications, thereby increasing the convenience, security and value to our staff over time,” said Aslaksby. “However, we also need to consider the existing environment and set-up that we have, and as such, it was important to continue to use our specifically designed card format that is offered by all three of the Norway Posts security suppliers.” 

“We are very happy to have our own HID format that can be bought through our three key suppliers as this was critical to us. Using this format also means that we did not have to change any of the firmware of our controllers, but instead simply changed the readers on the wall and issued new cards to our staff,” added Aslaksby. “This saved us money and time and offered a convenient way to upgrade our security solution.”

Today, all Norway Post employees use HID cards, some with more functionality than others due to their responsibilities, job function and location. We understand that security constantly evolves and today so much can be achieved and done with smart cards. We currently use “follow-me” printing, which has resulted in a reduction of paper waste and increased security through ensuring that print-jobs are only printed after the card is presented, further protecting valuable or sensitive information that is sometimes left behind on the printer. 

“Our staff really likes this application. We continue to evaluate our business environment and are also planning to extend the follow-me printing application to include remote environments, allowing print-jobs to be queued for remote locations. Staff at the head-office is also using their smart cards in the canteen for cashless payment,” explained Aslaksby. 

At the new distribution centre in Oslo, iCLASS contactless smart cards are also used for long range reading, which is made possible with HID Connect Partner Nedap, who has equipped all Norway Post lorries with a card booster that will open/close gates at the facility. The staff that works at this distribution center will also enjoy greater convenience when parking their cars, as the gates for the car park will also work with their iCLASS cards. 

Kenneth Furesund, from Infraktek, one of Norway Posts’ security integrators, pointed out that the Norway Post today has a true multi-technology and multi-application smart card. 

John Aslaksby’s card for example is a dual technology iCLASS Elite/HID Prox composite combination card with a magnetic stripe and bar code. The card is also personalized with a photo, name, expiry date and personal ID number via laser engraving. Encoded in the card is the card owner’s email address and employee number, which enables the follow-me printing application. 

Furesund also remembered that about two years ago, 20,000 new smart cards were newly issued to all Norway Post employees when the company’s logo changed. This seemed like a huge and daunting undertaking, but actually was straight forward and completed relatively quickly. 

“When we began this journey of migration a few years ago, we chose to work with HID, a company that was flexible enough to respond to our very specific needs and requirements while offering world leading products that we know we can trust and rely upon.” 

“The security market is very dynamic and change is a constant and we understood that our own security requirements and needs for additional applications would grow in the future. As such, it was important to work with a company that you can trust and plan this very future with.“ 

“Who knows what application will be added next, but we are certainly envisioning single sign-on for the future, which would mean a truly converged smart card solution,” said Aslaksby. “iCLASS Elite contactless smart cards have given us the flexibility to build upon and extend the functionality of our current security solution with additional applications and security that we can offer our staff.”

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