San Diego State University has launched a new campus safety app that will help promote student safety both on and off campus. The SDSU Safe app is a joint effort with AppArmor, the university’s vendor for mass emergency notifications.
According to an official university release, the campus safety app will be available for both the flagship SDSU campus and SDSU Imperial Valley. The app is available for free download for all students, faculty and staff.
“The safety and security of our community and campus are paramount,” says SDSU President Adela de la Torre. “In addition to enhancing safety-related workshops, training sessions and events over the recent years – including improved policies related to student conduct – we have improved our mechanisms for communicating campus emergencies and resources to students, faculty, staff and our parents and families."
SDSU Safe leverages mobile and GPS technologies, with features that can send campus safety alerts as well as provide instant access to a range of university safety resources and reporting tools. SDSU Safe also includes a number of alert features, including:
All students, employees, parents and families and other community members are encouraged to update their contact information on file with SDSU to better enhance the app's ability to send important information and alerts. “In a public safety event it is critical that we quickly and simply communicate to our students, faculty, and staff ‘where they live,’ which is on their mobile devices,” says Jerry Sheehan, Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer at SDSU. “AppArmor provides us with a leading-edge app to help provide easy access to critical campus alerts and new tools, like friend walk, to help assure the safety of our students.”
By Jeff Koziol, Business Development Manager – Higher Education, Allegion
It’s critical to have an open and interoperable platform for your student ID cards. As card offices in colleges and universities look to move away from legacy, low-security mag stripe and 125 kHz prox technology, different smart card options present themselves – some more proprietary than others.
When it comes to the benefits of “open” credentials, not being entirely dependent on a single manufacturer is significant. Proprietary relationships limit your ability to work with different vendors or manufacturers. As a result – due to lack of competition – vendor complacency and business breeds entitlement. With proprietary systems, dissatisfaction in a vendor’s quality, delivery, pricing, service or support may be difficult to overcome and fork-lifting carries a hefty price tag.
Alternatively, in an open or non-proprietary environment, competitive forces keep your vendor partners peaked to meet or exceed your expectations, breeding continuous improvement. If they don’t, they are in danger of losing your business to whatever eager vendor is next in line to earn and keep your business. This is the root of the “three-bid” policy that many public and private campuses require on large projects.
What’s more, open credentials provide a level of interoperability that closed, proprietary credentials do not offer. Open credentials are designed to an industry standard and supported by a variety of manufacturers and vendors to give you the ability to select the best-in-class options for your applications.
In the campus card market, this is critical, given the need to address all use cases touched by the student card. Vendor “A” may be the desired reader by a campus for door access applications, while Vendor “B” is the more desirable reader for POS, copy/print, laundry and vending applications. With open credentials, you can include both vendors in your ecosystem versus being entirely dependent on the proprietary vendor.
As many have learned firsthand over the last 12 months, supply chain issues can impact different aspects of our lives.
We all likely have toilet paper shortage stories to share, or more recently, seen droves of near empty new-and-used car lots. And it’s the latter issue that points to a broader shortage. Most of those near empty lots are directly related to the supply limitations of chips and circuit boards that have become a vital part of today’s modern automobile.
Those in the higher ed space have seen the challenges that limited chip and circuit board supply creates for the availability of smartcards, card readers, electronic locks and access control panels. Lead times for many of these products and solutions have been extended from days to weeks to months.
This new phenomenon of supply chain issues has shed light on a much larger benefit: the ability to lean on multiple manufacturers in situations where obtaining credentials can be challenging.
How do we get there?
One starting point is to move toward an open system. There are four key areas to consider: chip types, encryption keys, diversification method and card format.
Consider moving to an industry standard like ID cards with embedded DESFire chips from NXP, the most dominant ID card chip supplier. There’s no doubt they serve billions, given the number of cards deployed in the major geographical markets. To do that, they have thousands of partners who offer ID cards and various readers to authenticate with those cards. But moving to NXP DESFire cards alone does NOT get you there.
It is highly suggested that campuses considering NXP DESFire move in the direction of having a custom encryption key and be able to take ownership of the encryption key upon request, should the campus have the means to protect and store it.
Beware of manufacturers’ “default” keys, which are used across a variety of distributors and end consumers and will NEVER be shared in any circumstance. Default encryption keys essentially put you right back into that proprietary vendor arrangement.
Other potential challenges include the key diversification method and the bit format in which the cards are produced. Ensure the key diversification method being used by the vendor is documented by NXP and is supported by other NXP partners.
It is recommended that you suggest a bit or card format providing a balance of available facility codes and badge IDs. Larger campuses will require a greater range for the badge ID, given that they may turnover up to 20,000 new cards each academic year and this technology may be in place for 10-12 years.
Whatever you select for your card format, make sure it can be supported by all readers and devices part of your campus ecosystem and the software that will manage them. Many software companies that work with binary (bit) data allow the campus flexibility to set up different card formats with different bit structures.
Here are some basic, but poignant, questions you can ask to best evaluate card technology options for your campus:
While we look forward to when supply chain issues no longer dominate world and industry news, it isn’t a guarantee they won’t appear again in the future.
Open credentials have always offered a competitive balance to the campus customer by being interoperable to a wide range of ecosystem partners. But now we must also consider a previously overlooked advantage: Non-proprietary campus credentials offer the flexibility to acquire materials from multiple supply sources to keep your card offices stocked and ready.
Of course, there's always the mobile credential discussion. But we’ll save that for a future article.
Jacksonville State University has added robot delivery to its dining operations this fall through a partnership with Kiwibot and food-service provider, Sodexo. Jacksonville State joins a roster of campuses to deploy robot delivery from Kiwibot that includes New Mexico State University, Loyola Marymount University, Gonzaga University, and more.
According to an official university release, JSU is the first institution in the state of Alabama to deploy Kiwibot on campus. Partnering with the university's food service vendor, Sodexo, Kiwibot will deliver food from most on-campus dining facilities at JSU to 20 designated drop-off locations on campus.
Delivery service at JSU officially began Aug. 24, the first day of the fall semester. Orders can be placed for robot delivery Monday-Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
To get started, students must first download the Everyday App from the App Store or the Play Store.
Using Sodexo’s mobile application, Everyday, students can place an order with a participating restaurant and a Kiwibot will pick up the food and deliver it to a selected campus drop-off spot. Users will receive a unique link to track their order, enabling them to follow the robot’s progress along its route in real-time.
The Kiwibot delivery fee is $2 per order, though subscriptions are available. Users can purchase a subscription plan directly from the Everyday app, and choose from one of three options:
"Kiwibots will bring joy to everyone on campus," says John Tarin, head of global operations at Kiwibot. "This service allows students, faculty and staff to not only invest their time more productively, but also to merge into robotics. It is an exciting endeavor for Kiwibot to be part of the JSU community and to help students get closer to the world of technology, robotics and entrepreneurship."
To ensure safe operations, Kiwibot uses a semi-autonomous driving system to guide the robots. The robots create a virtual visualization of the world in real-time, using on-board sensors, reflective flags, night lights, and laser imaging, detection, and ranging (LiDAR).
Human supervisors are also on watch if a robot needs additional assistance, and an on-site team will be ready for immediate support.
"JSU Dining Services is proud to be the first Sodexo unit in Alabama to host Kiwibot," says Scott Williams, general manager for JSU Dining Services. “We look forward to growing our partnership and serving the 'Friendliest Campus in the South.'"
Middle Tennessee State Athletics has launched a new mobile app that will enable fans load tickets into Apple Wallet or Google Play, as well as stay connected and current with updates on the university's 17 athletics programs.
According to an official university release, the new Blue Raiders mobile app is built on a platform designed by SIDEARM Sports. In addition to digital ticketing, the app can send custom push notifications, provide access to live and archived video and audio, live statistics and more. The app is free to download on the Apple App Store and Google Play.
The Blue Raiders app also includes a loyalty program that will enable general fans to accumulate points for attending or watching MTSU events, while a separate student rewards program will also be housed within app. Points can be redeemed for prizes throughout the year.
Students and fans can utilize the app to access tickets for every MTSU home football, basketball and baseball events directly on their smartphone. Tickets can be saved to Apple Wallet and Google Pay to be used for contactless entry into all MTSU athletic venues.
SIDEARM Sports is now partnering with some 300 NCAA Division I programs and 57 "Power Five" athletic departments. It operates within the Learfield IMG College structure.
The University of New Mexico has installed new turnstiles in its campus libraries that now enable tap access via the student ID card. The new turnstile systems have been added to all the entrances at all central campus libraries.
According to an official university release, the idea behind the the turnstile system is to support a safe and secure environment for the campus community, as well as improve protection for library collections. The library access project is part of a larger effort to improve safety on UNM's campus.
The library entry process is similar to other facilities on campus. Students, staff, faculty and others carrying a valid UNM LoboCard with proximity privileges will be able to tap in to gain access to the spaces.
“We pride ourselves on providing resources and services to the community while ensuring all visitors and employees are safe,” says Leo Lo, dean of College of University Libraries and Learning Sciences. “With the new turnstile system, we aim to improve the safety in our spaces while continuing to welcome community members.
"The turnstiles are one of many space renovations we are implementing to improve our facilities for the campus and Albuquerque community,” he adds.
LoboCards must have proximity access in order to enter in the turnstile system. LoboCards without 5 or more digits located on the back-right corner of the card, must be replaced with a new proximity card. The UNM LoboCard Office replaces old student credentials at no cost, provided the cardholder can turn in their old credential. Lost card replacements carry a fee.
UNM community members without a LoboCard must check in with library staff at the desk located near the turnstiles and provide a government-issued photo ID or a student photo ID for entry.
“The wellbeing of our library patrons and employees is our highest priority,” says Mark Emmons, associate dean for education and engagement in the College of University Libraries and Learning Sciences. “We have seen an increasing number of security incidents in the years leading up to the pandemic and we believe that the addition of the turnstiles in our buildings will promote safety.”
The new turnstiles include ADA-compliant swing gates and can also allow group access for campus tours. In the event of an emergency, the turnstiles are connected with the fire alarm systems and permit safe and immediate exit from the library.
Card transaction and payments system provider, TouchNet, is now offering mobile credential for Android smartphones. The addition of Android device support follows a successful rollout of mobile student IDs in Apple Wallet at Northern Arizona University. NAU will now launch its JacksCard on Android ahead of the Fall semester through TouchNet’s OneCard Mobile ID.
NAU students can use Android mobile devices to complete any action they would previously complete with their physical JacksCard – access to dorms, buildings, libraries, dining, purchases at bookstores, purchase tickets, entry to events, and more. This new offering is made possible through integrations between TouchNet OneCard Mobile ID and the NAUgo app, powered by ModoLabs.
To implement mobile ID, an institution needs a mobile app that connects with campus transaction system.
"As a TouchNet Advanced Partner, ModoLabs’ mobile apps integrate into our OneCard Campus ID solution to validate and deliver mobile IDs for students and staff," explains Ryan Audus, Vice President of Product Strategy at TouchNet.
"Whether a campus has an existing app, or needs an app, TouchNet has a solution," says Audus. "For campuses without an existing app, TouchNet’s 360u mobile app can serve as the single point of access for students, allowing them to tap their phone for access, events, payments and more."
NAU serves a combined student population of nearly 30,000 at its Flagstaff campus, statewide and online.
“We're excited to partner with TouchNet and ModoLabs to add Android users to our digital credential capabilities,” says Dr. Steve Burrell, Chief Information Officer at Northern Arizona University. “Our partners shared in our sense of urgency to create digital equity and extend these high-demand state-of-the-art capabilities to all of our students, faculty, and staff.”
TouchNet’s OneCard Mobile ID for Android is available through either a school’s existing mobile app (such as the NAUgo app) or TouchNet’s 360u mobile app which streamlines the experience for all users.
Additionally, OneCard Mobile ID offers more secure transactions that protect users’ data, better on campus security through improved access management, as well as advanced reporting in regards to student activities, payments, and point-of-sale transactions through an aggregated method that also protects each user’s privacy.
Beyond digital and physical security, mobile student IDs encourage more contactless transactions and help provide additional peace of mind as students, faculty, staff, and visitors come back to campus.
“The addition of mobile ID for Android is an important step to creating a truly contactless campus,” says Adam McDonald, President of TouchNet. “With our Android solution in place, we now offer mobile student IDs for nearly every student, helping to close the digital divide and deliver the experience students have come to expect on campus.”
OneCard Mobile ID for Android works wherever the physical campus ID is accepted and is available to all OneCard schools. The provisioning of mobile student IDs on Android devices is a big step forward for TouchNet's mobile ID offering.
"As with any campus ID program, integration is key. We are fortunate to work with a lot of great partners that all share our intention to bring a mobile-first experience to students," says Audus. "Adding mobile ID for Android is an important step for our clients and for TouchNet in our commitment to bridge the digital divide."
With a forward thinking attitude for campus credential technology, Northern Arizona made for a perfect launch partner for TouchNet's Android offering.
"NAU has been a tremendous partner as we rolled out our OneCard Mobile ID solution," says Audus. "As an organization, NAU is continually looking for ways to improve the campus experience and pushing the envelope with innovative technology solutions. It’s been a pleasure working with a team that says, 'Yes, how can we make this happen?'"
The community college system in the state of New Hampshire is, for the first time, printing mental health resources on every student ID card. The new initiative begins with the start of this fall semester.
According to a report from the Carriage Towne News, the new initiative will see all student ID cards issued by New Hampshire’s community colleges include mental health resource information. The move follows along with a growing trend across the country for the student credential help provide ready access to help when students are experiencing a crisis or other mental health challenge.
New Hampshire Legislature got the ball rolling with SB234 this past spring. The bill required student IDs to include the telephone number for the national suicide prevention lifeline.
Under the new initiative, cards issued by community colleges will include the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence helpline, the 741741 Crisis Text Line, as well as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline toll-free and new three-digit helpline.
“As rates of suicide and mental health concerns continue to increase among college student populations, we applaud those who came forward to advocate for this common-sense and compassionate measure to ensure that students have access to information that could save lives,” says Meghan Eckner, CCSNH Chief of Staff and Executive Assistant to the Board of Trustees.
“CCSNH is committed to the success of all students, and supporting their health and wellbeing, in addition to their academic and career readiness goals, is an important part of our mission," adds Eckner. "Listing these resources on ID cards is another way for us to support our students and their mental health.”
The University of Findlay has revamped its campus dining experience with the addition of delivery robots from Kiwibot. The arrival of robot delivery joins a host of other changes to Findlay dining, including redesigned dining facilities and new meal options.
According to an official university release, Kiwibot food delivery robots will now be available for anyone on campus. The robots will leverage the Everyday app on student mobile devices to process orders from on-campus dining locations.
Kiwibots will also deliver orders placed at select, new virtual dining concept options including Mr. Beast Burger, Pardon My Cheesesteak, Buddy V’s Cake Slices, and Mariah Carey’s Cookies. Kiwibot orders can be paid for directly through the app with a debit/credit card or University of Findlay meal plan points.
Students will have the option to add money to their meal plan for Kiwibot deliveries and can also elect to purchase a subscription plan to save on delivery fees. Deliveries included in the subscription plan are not charged additional fees and subscriptions expire at the end of each semester.
In total, UF Dining Services has deployed 15 food delivery robots from Kiwibot.
To use the delivery robot, students select their dining location of choice, input delivery info, receive a link to track the robot, and a notification when the food is arriving. Students can use a number of convenient pick-up locations across campus to meet the robot, and enter their one-time code to open the robot.
Joining Kiwibot delivery, Findlay's Henderson Dining Hall -- the primary dining location on campus -- is undergoing a much needed renovation that will add a new brick pizza oven, and a 24/7 to-go location. The revamp will also provide students with new meal customization options, updated build-your-own burger station, and a range of international cuisine.
The National Association for Campus Card Users recently held its first ever Data Summit in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. To help paint a better picture of the event, NACCU CEO, Dawn Thomas, discusses the topics covered, and why future iterations of the event will be a worthwhile experience for a range of university professionals.
At the inaugural Data Summit, NACCU is seeking to help universities to better utilize the data generated by card systems and better inform insights and decision making. Dealing with data can be a daunting task for any campus, so the Data Summit is designed to help develop processes to achieve consistency in data preparation, and hopefully make this task more manageable.
Registration is now open for the next NACCU Data Summit, which will be held at Ohio State University on Thursday, November 3-4, 2022.
NACCU will also host a Data Summit on February 9-10, 2023 at a West Coast location to be announced soon.
Grand Valley State University is on the verge of one full year of cashless operations on campus. The university's Cashless Campus Initiative will remain in place this fall after a successful first year.
According to a report from the Grand Valley Lantern, GVSU's Cashless Campus Initiative started taking shape in early 2020, when the campus began only allowing credit cards and electronic forms of payment to be used on campus. The system was later integrated into campus infrastructure throughout 2021.
GVSU officials say that the cashless system is designed to improve on-campus transactions by speeding up the payment process, reducing contact between cashiers and customers, and improving the safety and security of transactions.
Another benefit to the cashless system is that it decreases potential human error in book balancing by allowing for uniform, electronic tabulation and accounting of funds.
GVSU is just one of a number of campuses to move to a cashless format for on-campus payment transactions. Vanderbilt, North Carolina State, University of Tennessee-Knoxville and others have all implemented similar systems as a means to improve on-campus purchases.
From the student perspective, the cashless system leads to faster lines at the till with more convenient methods of payment.
As for the methods of payment at GVSU, credit cards remain the most common way to make purchases but are only one of multiple ways to pay without cash. Students and employees can use Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay and Tap-and-Go as forms of payment on campus.
For students equipped solely with cash, the university has implemented multiple cash-to-card ATM kiosks on campus. Students can use these kiosks to purchase prepaid cards that are accepted wherever standard credit cards are used. The prepaid cards can hold up to $500 each and do not carry any additional fees.
GVSU has published an FAQ page to help its campus community better navigate its cashless environment.