A system malfunction at Trinity University rendered the university's Tiger Cards unable to access campus buildings and dorm rooms. Thanks to the quick response of the campus police department and Trinity's Tiger Card Office staff, the university was able to set up stations to reprogram the student cards by the following morning.
According to a Trinitonian report, the problem in the Tiger Card system was the result of a minor technical oversight. Access to dorm rooms is controlled offline, unlike all other Tiger Card functions which are controlled online, meaning the dorm room locks were programmed years ago. As a result, every student at Trinity University lost access to the locks of their dorm rooms when the preset expiration date arrived.
Fortunately, the malfunction occurred in the middle of the night on August 31 at a time when most students were already in their dorms and asleep. Only a few students were left trapped outside their rooms and needed to contact Trinity University Police.
The university PD's first call was to the Tiger Card Office in an attempt to resolve the problem. Card office staff reported to campus by the early morning of September 1.
“With the dorm room locks, they’re offline; we can’t touch them unless we go physically with a laptop and plug in the card itself,” said Trey Dunn, Technical Support System Analyst for the Tiger Card Office, in a Trinitonian interview. “The error had to do with the fact that the program was running on an expiration date that had been set a long time ago that was never updated in the background.”
“It was a sort of a situation that we always worried about, the worst-case scenario, the students systematically losing access like that, so we’ve got a lot of plans in place to attack it very quickly and try to get everybody back on the same page,” added Dunn.
Card office staff set up stations around campus, two in the Tiger Card Office and two in a campus dining hall where students gave their cards to workers to re-encode them. The impromptu card encoding replaced existing information that had expired with new, valid dates.
“It was a scary moment at first but the team came together and unselfishly said, ‘we’ll do what it takes, we’ll stay as long as we need to, as many days as we need to,’” said Bruce Bravo, senior director of Conferences and Auxiliary Services, who has been acting as the interim director of the Tiger Card Office. “Trey and his team started working at 6:00 a.m. and ended at 8:00 p.m., and then they were back the next morning at 7:30.”
The card encoding stations were highly effective, with students only waiting a few minutes to have their credentials encoded.
“Our rough estimate is about 80% of students had regained access to the dorm rooms by after lunch, so it was a little more than 12 hours after the issue had begun,” said Dunn. “After that, the issues declined dramatically. It looked like we had solved most of the problem by 2:00 on Wednesday.”
Now that the Tiger Card Office has weathered the worst of storms, work is already ongoing to ensure a similar problem doesn't happen again.
“It’s the first time this has ever happened and it will be the last,” said Dunn. “Our worst nightmare is 1,600 students losing access to their dorms all at once, and it happened, but I think we were able to fix it without having a lot of issues.”
Brigham Young University has added online photo submission to its card issuance process as a means to shorten the amount of time students spend waiting for their campus card. Online photo submission has been one of the most universally beneficial advancements for card offices, and BYU joins a large roster of campuses to have some form of photo submission solution available to students.
According to a report from The Daily Universe, BYU initially launched online photo submission just prior to the onset of COVID-19, which turned out to be a fortunate decision when pandemic related staffing and service challenges arrived. “That is a super exciting change that we initiated right before COVID hit interestingly,” said Elaine Laurizine, managing director for HR and support in BYU's Office of IT.
“We wanted to try and shorten the amount of time people were spending trying to get their ID card,” adds Laurizine, who works directly with the BYU ID Center.
Instead of taking ID photos in the card office, the process now asks for students and faculty to submit their photo through the ID Center website. As with every online photo submission program, there are parameters to the submitted photo that must be met in order for a photo to be accepted. At BYU, that standard is the university's dress and grooming standards. Those standards are provided to students under BYU’s policies and the university's Honor Code requires students to follow them.
The BYU card office estimates that it denies an ID photo submission an average of 5-10 times per week for reasons associated with students not following the dress and grooming standards.
“We are one of the only centers that enforces the dress and grooming standards and that can be difficult because students aren’t reminded of it very often,” said Gabrielle Orndorff, a BYU ID center employee. “Sometimes with clothing or piercings or hair it can be a little more personal or sensitive. But usually, people are really nice about it.”
Card office employees are tasked with approving or denying online photo submissions and ensuring they meet the dress and grooming standards. Once the photo is approved online, the student still has to visit the card center to print and activate the card. But future iterations of the card issuance process may remove the need to visit the card office entirely.
“That is a direction we would like to take. Get it all digital,” said Laurizine. "But for the time being, student employees will aid students in the photo submission process."
The University of Pittsburgh's off-campus program is gaining momentum once again, with students and other members of the campus community taking full advantage of the university's partnerships with local merchants. A change in Pitt’s meal plan programs last year that allocated 25% of dining dollars to be available for use at off-campus vendors saw the "Pitt Eats Local" dining program build strong connections with local businesses and entice students into the surrounding community.
As reported by The Pitt News, the Pitt Eats Local initiative launched last April press as an “investment strategy” to create a strong network of connections with businesses in Pitt's surrounding area. To date, the program has attracted a roster of 31 vendors that accept campus card tender.
“We wholeheartedly embrace the partnership with local vendors,” said Quintin Eason, vice president of operations at Pitt's food-service vendor Compass Group. “Participation in the program has grown and received positive reviews from the students.”
A recent Pitt Board of Trustees meeting reported that the Pitt Eats Local off-campus program has infused an estimated $772,000 in dining dollars to local restaurants since going live.
When the fledgling dining dollar program began in August 2020, it initially helped students navigate COVID-related dining challenges, and helped local businesses survive through the accompanying economic down turn. Now, with pandemic restrictions easing, and the Pitt campus returning to something resembling normal operation, local vendors connected to the off-campus program are once again benefitting from the university partnership.
Sandra Wittig, general manager at sushi concept, ATARASHI, told Pitt News that the off-campus program has rebounded to the point that the restaurant is serving more Pitt students now than than in years past. Moreover, the sushi restaurant has seen a huge increase in the number of students paying in dining dollars as compared to last year.
“Last year during COVID, the number of Panther card transactions a day resembled the low numbers we see during holiday breaks,” said Wittig in a Pitt News interview. “Now we are seeing lunch rushes where entire groups of 10 plus students in a row are using their Panther card to pay.”
Aside from dining dollars, Pitt students can also use their Panther funds — an alternative to debit or cash — at both on and off campus merchants. Panther funds can be loaded onto student ID cards online or in person at Panther Central where the card office is located. There is no minimum limit that a student can deposit into their account.
The town-and-gown relationship at Pitt seems to be bouncing back considerably as students, the university, and the surrounding community are all discovering ways to navigate reopening and a return to business as usual.
“Our student customers are probably the most patient and understanding visitors we have,” said Wittig. “A lot of students paying with their Panther cards leave us tips as well.”
Wittig and other merchants are happy to be a part of Pitt's off-campus program.
“We love seeing groups of students together,” Wittig said. “And we’re glad that we can be a part of the Pitt dining dollars program.”
The benefits of moving to mobile credentials on campus are well documented, but a recent TouchNet blog looks at the topic of mobile from a slightly different angle, posing the question: is your campus ready for NFC mobile credentials? The move to an NFC mobile credential promises to boost convenience and security for student transactions, but there's some significant prep work that needs to take place before a campus provisions its first mobile credential.
In a recent blog post to the company's website, TouchNet explains that to fully maximize NFC on campus, and for students to add their mobile student IDs into digital wallets, it's important to have your ducks in a row. Here's a few steps that TouchNet believes are a good start for a university or college that's keen to adopt mobile:
The first step is to identify all of the campus services that leverage the campus ID system for transactions. Where is the campus card used today? How do students use their IDs on campus?
This will be different campus to campus, but some of the core examples include:
Establishing this baseline understanding of the campus card's role in students' lives will help you identify additional services that can be connected to the card. Just as important, this survey of card services can help determine where to enable NFC in the backend software and where NFC readers will need to be installed.
Another consideration that TouchNet poses is that despite the campus card being connected to the services outlined above, it doesn’t mean that the campus card can inherently complete NFC transactions. The software underpinning each service needs to have NFC capabilities activated.
Ensuring that the campus card system can communicate to all other campus systems -- ERP, SIS, and payment systems -- is imperative to enabling NFC across campus and for various other software applications.
Credentialing and payment solutions must be able to leverage NFC technology to complete transactions on and around campus. This often means sharing NFC credentials across systems, including from the campus card access system, classroom check ins, meal plans, and declining balances.
Step two takes the list of card services from step one and turns on NFC capabilities for each system.
Once the desired card services and software systems can process NFC transactions, TouchNet's final prep component is to have the proper NFC-enabled hardware in place.
Upgrading hardware for the full suite of card services is a big job for any campus, but TouchNet stresses that this hardware upgrade can be scaled over the course of time. If a one-time, campus wide NFC reader overhaul isn't realistic, TouchNet suggests starting with the most vital card services and folding in additional features as you are able.
Once in place, NFC mobile credentials help deliver a more efficient and secure campus experience. There will be capital investments in order to make NFC and mobile credentials work across campus, but the move to mobile can reduce student lines, as well as alleviate staffing and equipment needed to support physical card production and management.
Students also experience benefits in their day-to-day with improved convenience, more secure payments and access, and a smoother experience with administration.
For campuses looking to undertake the move to NFC mobile credentials, TouchNet is offering its insights from point-of-sale readers, to building access, to systems integration. Check out TouchNet's mobile ID assessment to help determine if there are gaps in your campus' prep strategy.
Gonzaga University is now one of the first institutions in the country to deploy robot delivery from Kiwibot for on-campus food delivery. The delivery robots are available through an agreement between food-service provider Sodexo and Kiwibot.
According to a press release, Gonzaga students, faculty and campus visitors can all place delivery orders through the Sodexo Bite for Universities app.
Kiwibots have already been deployed on the campuses of the University of Denver, University of California, Berkeley, and George Mason University.
Kiwibot delivery at Gonzaga is currently only available from one sandwich shop on campus, but the university's Zag Dining, with Sodexo's help, aims to expand the service throughout the coming year to include other Sodexo-run locations, including Starbucks.
“We are excited to explore technology through robotic delivery and how it might contribute to student success and enhance our community using this new innovation to provide access to food,” says Pat Clelland, resident district manager at Zag Dining by Sodexo.
The Kiwibots officially went live at Gonzaga on September 21, and the bots processed roughly 20 deliveries to students over the first day of operation alone.
The Kiwibots are semi-autonomous and follow pre-programmed routes mapped across the Gonzaga campus. The robots are equipped with a camera, which the robot driver can view and remotely intervene if needed. The bots are not yet programmed to enter buildings or elevators.
The Kiwibots have tracking devices, flags for visibility and sensors to activate the brakes if there are obstacles in their path. Food orders are stored inside the robot's chassis, and only the user can open the compartment through the Bite for Universities app.
Average delivery time, according to Zag Dining, will run between 20 to 35 minutes, depending on the distance and if the order is placed during peak delivery times. Each delivery costs $2 plus 10% of the order value.
Access control and security solutions provider, Allegion, has integrated its Schlage RC reader controller with BadgePass, Inc.'s TotalCard software platform. The new partnership is expected to provide more affordable and scalable access control solutions to campuses leveraging the BadgePass platform.
The Schlage RC offers the latest in IP access solutions with an integrated reader controller that's scalable for small, medium and large institutions. The new system allows for lower hardware costs, as well as makes installation easier by reducing the time needed to complete projects.
The Schlage reader controller replaces two pieces of hardware and wiring, offering a cost-effective alternate to traditional, centralized control panels.
The integration of Schlage RC with the BadgePass TotalCard software platform is designed to help campuses and universities with a complete credential management system ways to offer added value to the student ID card. TotalCard’s access control software allows for easy assignment of credentials and access privileges that can be customized to meet each campus’ unique security needs while reducing the amount of hardware needed.
"Institutions of all sizes demand modern access control solutions while remaining mindful of budgets and resources for installation and routine maintenance,” says Brian Marris, product manager at Allegion. "The integration of Schlage RC with BadgePass provides a robust solution that increases efficiencies while decreasing short and long-term costs."
BadgePass is the first independent PACS partner to complete the Schlage RC reader controller integration, which helps to eliminate some of the costs associated with access control panels.
"BadgePass is a long-standing supporter of Allegion and ISONAS. We’re thrilled to roll out this integration to provide intuitions with more affordable and scalable access control solutions," says Lindsay Martin-Nez, executive vice president of sales and marketing at BadgePass, Inc. "We’re committed to developing best in class solutions for our customers so they can provide a secure and convenient student experience."
For more information on Schlage RC multi-technology reader controller, visit allegion.com.
Syracuse University has added a new option for students entering campus dining facilities in the form of biometric hand scanners. The new entry option is now available to any students on meal plans that want to enroll and use the biometric reader to get through the line quicker and in a contactless manner.
According to the Syracuse University dining website, the "fast lane hand scanners" are intended for students on unlimited or block meal plans. Eligible students can register their hand on campus during business hours to take advantage of the biometric offering.
University officials say the primary goal of the biometric hand readers is to facilitate a quicker, contactless entrance into campus dining facilities, as well as decrease wear and tear on SUID cards, increasing the cards lifespan.
Keeping with best practices, the biometric implementation at Syracuse will not collect student biometrics. The system will instead use a mathematical representation of each student's hand scan -- not a picture of the hand itself -- as the means of encrypting and safeguarding student information.
In using a mathematical representation of each person’s biometric data, it is impossible to reverse engineer that data into the original hand scan.
The new hand scanners are now available for use in each of Syracuse's five dining centers.
The solution at Syracuse is similar to other biometric dining initiatives at universities across the country. For more information on some other notable biometric implementations, check out some of our recent coverage:
The University of Arkansas has launched its UARKmobile, its official campus mobile app, to provide students, faculty and staff with quick and convenient access to all the important campus resources. The app contains a wide range of information, spanning academics, housing, dining and more.
According to an official university release, UARKMobile provides quick access to campus and student information including class schedules, campus alerts, maps, news, weather, real-time bus tracking and campus dining options.
Users can also access a wide variety of campus resources directly in the app, including University Libraries, advising, Razorback Athletics, IT Help, HogSync and more. Workday, Outlook, UAConnect and Blackboard are all accessible from the app.
Some functions such as transit buses, parking and campus dining require the installation of third-party apps. There is also a desktop version of the UARK app that offers the same features and functions.
The UARKmobile app contains the following campus resources and information:
Products and Services
UARKMobile can be downloaded from the App store for iPhone or Google Play for Android.
In the third installment of our video series with ASSA ABLOY, regional campus manager, Tyler Webb, discusses some of the financial impacts that mobile IDs can have on the campus card office.
Whether for reprints for lost or damaged cards, first issuance, or temporary credentials, card production is a significant revenue stream for many offices. ASSA ABLOY's Webb explores the questions: How does the move to mobile IDs impact the card office business model?
Listen in as we discuss the costs of mobile ID to the university on a yearly basis, and some of the expectations that campuses should have regarding licensing fees and annual, recurring costs.
Webb also considers the different funding sources for card offices, central or self-funded, and how those models impact revenue streams and mobile IDs.
Looking for funding opportunities associated with going mobile? We also discuss ways card offices can be proactive with replacing lost revenue streams.
This episode is the second in a three-part CR80Chats series with ASSA ABLOY. Check out the other episodes below:
The University of Denver is implementing a new identity and access management (IAM) system for student and faculty access to university portals and applications. Denver has chosen BIO-key International's PortalGuard IAM platform, featuring Identity-Bound Biometrics (IBB) technology.
A provider of workforce and customer identity and access management (IAM) solutions, BIO-key International will help the university enhance access security to the campus' web portal and other applications.
PortalGuard supports a variety of security policies in a frictionless manner, by enabling the university to manage and consolidate multiple security vendor solutions. The solution also meets Denver's requirement for Single Sign-On (SSO) protocols to support a planned campus portal migration, and to provide a consistent app access experience with integrated self-service capabilities.
"We are proud to add the University of Denver, the oldest private research university in the Rocky Mountain Region, to our customer community. We view this as a seminal relationship that further validates our value to higher education institutions in the region and across the country," says Mark Cochran, President of BIO-key. "Our education customers require flexible and cost-effective enterprise-grade access security for critical operations and remote access, as well as to address cybersecurity insurance compliance requirements."
BIO-key's PortalGuard IAM solution provides secure, convenient access to devices, information, applications, and transactions. BIO-key's patented software and hardware solutions and biometric capabilities enable large-scale, on-premise and Identity-as-a-Service (IDaaS) solutions, as well as customized enterprise and cloud solutions.