Easy Living With Smart Cards

Lifestyle Communities in Columbus, Ohio, runs resorts for everyday living. Residents who rent units or buy homes at the company's dozen complexes in the Midwest have access to on-site health clubs, restaurants and, soon, concierge services like dog walking.

As director of IT for the privately held business that builds the complexes, Tom Roberts faced the challenge of providing all-purpose "membership" cards to residents. Turns out the Brivo Systems security cards relied on chip technology whereas residents needed cards with magnetic strips to buy extras like meals at the pub. Roberts found a vendor that made cards equipped to use both technologies. He ordered 500, got the Lifestyle logo printed on them and sent them to point-of-sale provider Radiant Systems Inc. for activation. Distribution began over the summer at a new complex, Preserve Crossing, and Roberts expects the smart cards will be popular with his tech-savvy target audience: the 24- to 32-year-old set. "We're trying to build things that you don't see often," he says.

Anne McCrory is editorial director of CIO Decisions and the CIO Decisions conference. Write to her at amccrory@ciodecisions.com.

This was first published in December 2006

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