Independence thanks to Standard Segment

The company ZF Friedrichshafen AG has opted to use the advantages of LEGIC technology and standardized access and payment segments with its new group ID system.

ZF is a world-leading technology group in the field of driveline and chassis technology as well as active and passive security technology. It employs 138,300 staff at approximately 230 locations in 40 different countries. The previous staff ID cards differed at every location in terms of technology, programming and design.

ZF wants to strengthen the company’s identity and to bring the different locations together, initially in Germany and subsequently worldwide. The uniform group ID card will have a technical basis which enables the location-spanning use of the ID functions such as access and payment.

Decision for LEGIC
In 2012, ZF decided to gain its own operator license. The main reasons were independence from manufactu­rers, the use of the existing standards for access, time & attendance, and payments, as well as Master-Token System-Control (an authorization management concept). LEGIC was also ­already in use at several key ZF locations and accepted as a well-established system.

Thanks to LEGIC and its Master-Token System-Control, ZF is now able to ­define data structures on the ID cards and to determine the specific functions that are associated with the ID cards. These include, for example, ­(offline) access, time & attendance, gastronomy and secure printing. This has the advantage that open standards can be used and ZF therefore gains ­independence from manufacturers. In the current version of the group ID card specification, it has been possible to store an open standard for the access, time & attendance and gastro­nomy functions on the basis of the data structure in the chip. A proprietary data structure is being used for the ­offline access function, however. The future vision is to transfer this function across to an open standard. This would now appear to be possible with the Open Security Standard (OSS). The ­independence which occurs due to the open standard is that different manufacturers which offer an implemen­tation of the standard become potential service providers for ZF. Furthermore, ZF can also use products from different manufacturers.

Support from Blaser Consulting
With the gain in control that has been achieved, the tasks that are not being completed by the manufacturers anymore, but in-house at ZF have become more sophisticated. To be able to hand­le the complex nature of these tasks, ZF was supported by the LEGIC certified consulting firm Blaser Consulting.

The “ZF ID Card” project team put the differing functions and accompanying reference systems at the Friedrichs­hafen location to a detailed test. First of all, a lab test was completed with 26 employees, at which a medium and the accompanying technology were defined. For the subsequent field test, 395 new CTC ID cards (cross standard transponder chip) were issued con­taining both the new and the old technology. All of the functional tests proved successful. As a result of this, starting in January 2015, around 10,000 ID cards were rolled out at the Friedrichs­hafen location, with more locations to follow.