March 2011


There's a classic Monty Python's Flying Circus episode in which characters periodically burst into the scene yelling, "No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!"

While it's not nearly as daunting as the true Spanish Inquisition (nor as enjoyable as a Monty Python skit) an OSHA inspection is often just as surprising.

Inspections can be triggered by any number of things ranging from poor safety performance to simple random selection. At our Eden Prairie facility, we received a visit from our state OSHA inspector in October of 2010. Eden Prairie has had a good safety record, but when our name came up on a randomly selected list, we were paid an unannounced visit one morning. OSHA inspections are rarely communicated to the site to be visited in advance, which means they typically carry an element of surprise.

Fortunately, our safety record at Eden Prairie is excellent. We have a long-standing safety committee and good processes in place to keep our workplace safe for our employees. Though we were surprised by the inspection, the only drawback was that it took some time to gather the necessary documents that the inspector was looking for. After a quick review of our safety plan and our training records, we took the inspector on a tour of the production area. She spent about 30 minutes on the shop floor after which we had a wrap-up meeting.

In all, the inspector was impressed with our facility and complimented our processes and practices. We received an official letter of inspection a few weeks later indicating the date of inspection and that no citations were found.

For anyone who might be subject to an OSHA inspection, here are a few things that I would consider important:

  • Make sure you have up-to-date training records and a clear process for documenting training, especially "Right to Know" training or HAZCOM training.
  • Be sure you have and can provide a copy of your written safety program.
  • Make sure the person who meets with the inspector has a decent overall understanding of critical safety topics like HAZCOM, MSDS, Fire Safety, etc.
  • Follow the OSHA requirements for data posting at your site.
  • And most of all, be open and accommodating. In the end, the inspection is intended to make sure that your site is a safe place to work. Even if a citation is found (and a fine assessed) it should be seen as a positive thing to improve the safety of your facility.

Recently, HID Global participated in a very unique event in Guadalajara, Mexico.

The largest exhibition of its kind in North America, Expo ANTAD 2011 is an event put on by ANTAD (National Association of Self-Service and Department Stores), a retail chain association comprising 101 supermarket, department store and single-line store chains. The show comprised a full menu of education tracks for retail industry attendees, pavilions showcasing the latest offerings in groceries, fresh products, household appliances, toys, furniture, clothes and accessories, plastic ware and sport appliances.

So you're probably wondering 'how did HID Global find this an appropriate venue to demonstrate its products and solutions?' Well, one of the centerpieces of Expo ANTAD was its 'Future Store', a demonstration of 'state of the art technology and solutions shown to provide better business operations and an efficient response to the customer'. In this space, solutions for a variety of retail operations were highlighted, showing attendees the latest in innovative store displays, intelligent refrigeration, self-checkouts, automated sales processes and personal shopper assistance, and automated distribution center systems.

This year, HID products were demonstrated in the "Future Store" promoting instant card issuance capabilities. Designed specifically for the secure instant issuance of financial cards, HID Global's FARGO HDPii printer/encoder help retail and financial institutions produce a new generation of financial cards (without embossed text on the front) for debit, credit, prepaid, gift and technology cards to deliver a highly personalized customer experience.

Ideal for personalized gift, loyalty and prepaid card programs, instantly issued cards are activated automatically, and the time from issuance to first card use is reduced. This means that customers can start using their cards immediately, providing new revenue generating opportunities. By eliminating the wait, cost and security risks associated with other card distribution methods, card issuers benefits from higher activation levels, increased application processing, reduced marketing costs for new account acquisition and--best of all--increased customer satisfaction, activity and loyalty.

As businesses in all industries around the globe, strive to 'get closer to their customers', HID's instant issuance solutions enable companies in the retail space--and at Expo ANTAD this year--to raise customer service and loyalty to a whole new level!


At last year's RSA Conference 2010, HID Global's presence in terms of IT security solutions could have been characterized as a great street side cafe...

...offering a select menu of good eats at an affordable price. Fast forward one year to RSA 2011, and HID would be seen in a completely different light as a full service restaurant with an extensive menu including appetizers, several entrées to choose from, followed by desert and coffee. In business terms, the current HID portfolio of cards, readers, software and services, coupled with the ActivIdentity portfolio of products expands HID's offerings to now provide customers a full range of strong authentication and credential management solutions. This was a fact that was not lost on RSA attendees.

In discussions at the show, I heard attendees comment that they were excited and happy to see HID Global invest in the information security marketplace and offer a broader set of products. From a vendor's perspective, an expanded portfolio enables HID to focus even more on customer solutions by further deepening relationships with our customers to better understand their business requirements for any number of converged solutions that fulfill particular needs.

I was pleased to see that attendees of the RSA Conference were excited about the strong authentication and credential management solutions that HID now offers. HID Global's customers have trusted us to lock their doors for years. The Federal Government has trusted ActivIdentity to secure their information security assets for years. Now customers can rely on a single vendor to deliver access control solutions from the door to the desktop and beyond.

Personally, I look forward to what the future holds for HID, along with whatever new and exciting developments are to come for RSA 2012!


There has been a flurry of articles on Near Field Communications (NFC) about how soon we'll all be using our phones to pay for a cup of coffee.

It's an interesting concept, and likely will come true, but I have to ask: "What's in it for me?"

Remember when contactless credit cards first arrived? MasterCard created PayPass and launched a series of TV commercials about how it would speed up payment to make our lives better. I was intrigued. But when I finally had a chance to pay for a cup of coffee by tapping my card instead of swiping the mag stripe, I was a bit disappointed. I'm not sure how much time I saved, but at most it was a second or two, and other than that it was the same experience. Perhaps it made a difference to the companies involved in processing credit card payments, but it made no difference to me.

Fast forward to today with all excitement about paying for a cup of coffee with our phone. It's hard not to be a little jaded and ask what's different this time. Fact is there are differences, such as e-coupons, more convenient and tighter integration to loyalty programs, etc. But a major driving force for NFC turns out to be coming from the cellular carriers and handset manufacturers who see a way to participate in the payment process and capture a portion of profits that are currently going to the credit card ecosystem. I understand their desires, but again have to ask, "What's in it for me?"

So if payment isn't the killer app for NFC, then what is? Perhaps it depends on the context...

When I'm at the store shopping for a new printer, the ability to tap my phone on a tag next to the demo unit to take me to a special webpage where I can learn more is appealing. Or walking by a movie poster at the mall and tapping a tag to learn when and where it's showing and then quickly buy tickets so I won't have to wait in line at the theater is appealing. Or receiving a text before I check into my hotel so that I can go straight to my room, access it using my phone, and bypass the front desk check in process is appealing. Or having my company load my door opening credential onto my phone so that my "badge" is always with me is appealing.

Will any of these turn out to be the killer app for NFC? Do you think there will even be a killer app? Let us know how you would like to use NFC.