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A NACCU 2015 primer

Simple things you can do in advance to arrive informed and prepared

The annual NACCU Conference is right around the corner. This year marks the 22nd installment of the campus card event, which will take place in New Orleans March 8-11. In advance of the conference, here are a few things you should know.

Mobile everything is taking center stage across the higher-ed space, with apps launching for virtually every student-facing service on campus and beyond. The cover story in the current issue of CR80News – being mailed as we speak – examines this trend and explores what the future of the campus mobile app could be.

As more and more services are pushed to the mobile, the future for the student app will likely be a single, all-encompassing application from which students can facilitate their daily activities.

The major campus card vendors are on board with the trend, and report being well well on their way to offering a comprehensive mobile solution. A host of other, third party mobile apps are revolutionizing everything from food ordering to ID photo uploads.

With NACCU bringing all of these folks together under one roof, I encourage conference attendees to do a little ‘mobile’ homework.

Take the time to peruse the conference schedule and find those mobile solutions that sound interesting. Then, simply download the free app should one be offered, explore what it can do and come conference time find that vendor and ask informed hands-on questions.

A great example of this in practice could be mobile food ordering app, Tapingo. Students and the general public alike have taken to mobile food ordering in droves. Find out what the fuss is all about, and get ahead of the curve when the demand reaches your campus.

Online photo submission is another hot topic at this year’s conference, and is yet another service with a mobile future. The online photo submission trend is so significant that it’s less a matter of if, than it is when your campus will be using it.

It’s worth it to visit sites like MyPhoto and others to see how online photo submission is cutting time and cost from the card issuance process. Also, consult with your card system vendor as many are offering photo upload solutions as well.

Another great mobile initiative is being offered by HID Global through its Mobile Access Test Drive. The company is encouraging conference attendees to experience HID Mobile Access by enrolling their mobile device prior to arriving in New Orleans.

Both Android and iOS mobile devices can be used for building and gate access by holding the device up to a Mobile Enabled reader, or by twisting your phone from a distance. The app is free to download, so either before or while at NACCU, give Mobile Access a spin.

Once on the conference floor find the folks at HID, Tapingo, MyPhoto and your card system vendors and ask tough, informed questions. Test out their mobile apps, ask them to troubleshoot issues you run into and tell them about your experience with their solutions en route to learning more about these mobile options.

Make it a point to leave the conference with a better understanding of what your vendors are already offering, as well as what’s on their roadmap.

Spend some time in the App Store or Google Play before you leave home. It’s a quick and simple way to arrive in New Orleans prepared and informed. And even if downloading some apps to your personal device seems a bit much, remember you can always delete them as easily as you downloaded them.

And if mobile apps and other emerging trends spark your interest, I encourage you to join me on Tuesday during the 1:30 block of sessions for my presentation “Innovative IDs: 10 Unique Use Cases Every Campus Should Consider.” I hope to meet many of you on the conference floor.

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