Keycards remain a vital part of access control systems throughout North America, and specifically Canada. However, with the rising threats, newer technology has to be implemented to prevent unauthorized access to secure business premises and data centers.

This blog talks about Access Control Technologies offered by HID Global, a leading provider of access control solutions like HID prox, iCLASS, Multiclass, seos for various industries across the globe.

HID Global Access Control Systems

HID Global is a leader in physical site security specializing in Access Control Technologies. It provides robust access control solutions to businesses across industries to help secure their facilities. HID Global offers end-to-end access control service, including all components to build a comprehensive access control system.

HID offers the following features and components for access control systems:

  • Mobile Access: Secure and convenient access control technologies using mobile devices. Employees can use their smartphones to unlock doors, elevators, and more. It’s easy, convenient, and secure.
  • Touchless Solutions: In today’s health-conscious environment, touchless access control is crucial. HID’s solutions enable safer, healthier workplaces by minimizing person-to-person contact.

  • Smart Buildings: Monitor real-time employee and visitor locations within your facility. This data helps with compliance, security, and efficient management.

  • Access Readers: HID offers best-in-class readers for access control and biometric applications.

  • Cards and Credentials: Their selection includes the industry’s widest range of open, smart-card-based credentials.

  • Controllers: HID’s flexible, open-architecture controllers deliver security at the door and beyond.

HID Global Access Control Platforms

HID offers state-of-the-art access control systems built on secure technology that improves efficiency and guarantees enhanced security. Depending on the usage, HID has plenty of viable options for access control technologies, from the simplest keycard access, to multi-factor authentication.

The major access control platforms by HID Global are the following:

HID Proximity Cards And Readers

HID Proximity Cards And Readers

Proximity cards and readers are the bare-bones of access control technologies by HID Global. Widely recognized as the industry standard for physical access control, Proximity cards and readers are the go-to for any business looking to start out on getting access control for their premises.

Proximity readers come in a number of variants based on size and functionality. Some are just card readers, others come equipped with keypads for added protection. They are also differentiated based on the range they offer.

Technology Behind HID Proximity Cards

Proximity cards use NFC (Near Field Communication) technology and operate at a low frequency of 125 kHz and use a simple modulation scheme to transmit a unique ID number that is used to gain access. These keycards are passive, meaning they do not have a battery and solely rely on the reader to provide power.

Proximity cards are also read-only, meaning they cannot store any additional data or perform any encryption. They are compatible with most legacy systems and are easy to use and program.

HID iClass Cards And Readers

HID® Signo™ Reader 20

iClass cards and readers are the next generation of HID Global technology. IClass has been developed to ensure that your access control system keeps up with the latest developments in security.

The major selling point for iClass systems is that they do not lock you into a proprietary system and continue to work with your existing cards and fobs to ensure maximum security, improved privacy and increased flexibility.

Technology Used In iClass Cards And Readers

iClass platform includes a wide variety of eco-friendly, microprocessor-based readers that operate at a frequency of 13.56 MHz. These systems use NFC technology to communicate between devices and are hence compatible with other devices that have NFC technology. This means that iClass can be used for keycards/fobs as well as Mobile Access Credentials.

Moreover, iClass cards are standardized and comply with the ISO 14443 and ISO 15693 standards, meaning they can work with different brands and models of readers that support these standards. These cards can also store and update multiple data segments and support multiple applications and features, such as biometrics, cashless vending, network log-on, event management, and time and attendance.

HID’s access control solutions, specifically iClass SE, uses SEOS technology that uses mutual authentication to authorize access, adding an extra layer of security which prevents issues like keycard duplication to gain unauthorized access.

HID MultiClass Readers


Multiclass is by far the most versatile access control reader on the market. It solves access control system compatibility problems that most businesses face. Businesses do not have to swap systems anymore when they upgrade cards and readers across the site.

Technology Used In MultiClass Readers

MultiClass readers are added to the iClass and Prox readers of HID Global to ensure that they work with newer systems without compatibility issues. It is built on the same platform as the iClass reader, which means it operates using NFC and at 13.56 MHz and allows complete flexibility in picking the access control technologies method, enabling Mobile Access Credentials, keycards and fobs.

This allows businesses to custom tailor their new technology based on iClass or Prox. This essentially means swapping out only the readers in case of an upgrade, which gives the ability to read multi-technology cards all through a single reader and improve security.

This also means that the current system of cards and fobs remains compatible and there is no need to upgrade the access control database.

How Do All Three Access Control Technologies Compare?

The table below summarizes the main differences between HID Prox, iClass and MultiClass technologies.

Technology Frequency Card Type Read/Write Encryption Authentication Interoperability Functionality
Proximity 125 kHz Passive Read-only None None Low Low
iClass 13.56 MHz Active Read/write Seos Mutual High High
Multiclass 13.56 MHz Active Read/write Seos Mutual Higher Higher

As you can see, proximity, iClass and multiclass technologies have different features and benefits, depending on the level of security, flexibility and functionality each of them offers.

Depending on the business needs, HID Global offers a wide range of smart cards and readers equipped with these technologies to service your access control needs. For more information, please visit HID Global website.

Looking for access control systems for your business in Canada?

Are you looking to secure your business in Canada? Spotter Security offers installation, management and maintenance of easy-to-use, reliable security systems that fit your business needs to give you the best security experience. Spotter Security specializes in access control systems from HID Global, working with you during our consultation to find the best access control system for your needs.

With over 20 years of experience in the security industry, Spotter Security specializes in protecting businesses from various industries, working with clients to help solve their security problems.

Written by : Carlo Di Leo

At the age of 24, with no experience in the security industry or any money in the bank, Carlo quit his job and started Spotter Security from his parent's basement. Founded in 2004, Spotter grew from a single man operation into a multi-million dollar security system integrator that caters to businessess and construction sites across Canada.

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