Getting Started with RFID Key Fobs or Cards

Created by: Paul Nuschke on Sept. 9, 2018

SpeedIn can optionally be used with barcodes or RFID cards to facilitate quicker check-in and to provide an additional level of validation that the person or family being scanned is a member. This article talks about how that works, and how to set it up. When you are done, you should be able to scan a fob and easily check in that member.

HOW READERS AND FOBS WORK

The Setup

In your scanning setup, you need a computer connected to the reader via a USB cable. Your members will scan their fob or card using the reader, and SpeedIn will search for that family in the system, allowing you to check in the member and/or their family.

What Fobs Do

Each key fob or card has a unique string of letters and numbers tied to it. This allows you to distinguish between members when you scan. The reader simply reads the string of letters and numbers and then searches for a member or family that matches that string.

SHOPPING LIST

  • Computer that you will use for checking in people
  • RFID reader
  • RFID key fobs or cards, or barcode cards (buy some extras)
  • SpeedIn subscription

WHERE TO BUY

We partner with a company called Universal Smart Cards. They provide all of what you need and typically stock both the readers and the fobs, providing a quick turnaround on your purchase. Please do not hesitate to contact Universal Smart Cards. They will get back to you quickly. Please mention that you are working with SpeedIn.

If you have not already decided, we typically recommend using RFID because it is faster to scan (you do not have to line up a barcode with the scanner). An RFID reader should cost less than $200 and your fobs should cost less than $2 each, depending on your level of customization and colors. Cards can be less expensive but aren’t quite as durable.

Fobs:

List of RFID Key Fobs

A fob that we have used

Readers:

List of RFID Readers

A reader we have used

In many cases the frequency of the fobs and reader doesn’t matter other than they just match. Higher frequencies are faster but travel less distance. There may be a difference in cost.

Preconfiguring your reader

When you talk with Universal Smart Cards, let them know you need to use keyboard emulation mode on your reader. They may be able to pre-configure the reader for you, or they can provide you with a configuration file that does it automatically for you, along with instructions on how to use the file. This is a one time step, so don’t let it stop you from moving forward!

ASSIGN FOBS TO MEMBERS

Now that you have your fobs or cards, you need to give them to your members and you need to tell SpeedIn which family the fob belongs to. We recommend handing out fobs and adding them to SpeedIn at the same time. Otherwise you need to keep track of who each fob belongs to.

Before

  1. You should have a reader with keyboard emulation mode working.
  2. You should have that reader connected via a USB cable to your computer.
  3. You should have at least 1 key fob handy for test purposes.
  4. Finally, you should also have at least one family and member in SpeedIn.

Step 1 - Open the Family

Click on “Members” in the navigation. You should see a list of your members. Search if necessary to find your member. Click the family name (see below).

Where to click to edit a family

Step 2 - Open “Scan Codes”

step2_scan_codes.png

Step 3 - Add the Code

Click in the “Scan a Barcode” box. Scan your fob with the reader. The unique string should be added to the box. Click “Add”.

How to add a scan code and save it

Done! You fob is now ready for use

Want to scan a fob to check in members? See this article.