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The University of Pittsburgh implemented swipe access at all on-campus buildings and residences using its campus card in August of 2020 as an added precaution during COVID-19. The expanded swipe access policy for campus buildings remained in place until July 1 of 2022, at which point the campus reverted to its normal card access protocols.

Now, according to opinions gathered by student publication, The Pitt News, some students are calling for a return of increased swipe access on campus, expressing that the card swipe policy from 2020 added a layer of security and a sense of safety when navigating campus buildings.

Currently, swipe access is required to enter on-campus residential buildings and apartment-style dorms, but no other on-campus buildings require the same swipe access.

Part of the call for more card swipe access could be related to a spike in safety concerns at the university's Oakland campus following an alleged sexual assault last October on campus. A subsequent online petition calling for increased police presence, building access restrictions, and more security cameras received some 6,000 signatures.

The Pitt News report published a few of the opinions in favor of the more stringent card swipe policy.

A freshman student told the student publication that she feels safe on Pitt’s campus, but believes that swipe access should be required for entry to university buildings, stating that "the extra level of security would benefit students."

A Pitt sophomore told The Pitt News that she felt less safe on campus after the university stopped requiring swipe access.

“Pitt’s not a campus that’s closed off to the public,” commented one Pitt student. “We’re just in the middle of a city, so I definitely think that they should bring it back. I feel safer with it.”

“I liked it better during COVID with how everyone had to swipe in,” said another student. “Even visitors had to do an online visitors pass, and I felt more safe.”

There are no current plans to return to the COVID card access policy, nor is there any indication as to just how many within the student population want to see card swipe policy return. Nevertheless,  swipe access via the student ID card seems to have made a notable impact on students' perception of campus safety, and serves as a reminder that the student credential plays a valuable role in security.

Security products and solutions provider, Allegion has announced that its Schlage intelligent hardware can now be integrated with the BadgePass ONE platform. The integration means that BadgePass is the first to offer a subscription software package that includes all hardware and software needed to issue secure ID badges and manage door access privileges within a facility.

The deal with BadgePass also marks one of the first reader controller model integrations for Allegion, with the goal of offering customers efficient and cost-effective access control implementations.

“As access control moves to the cloud, the teams wanted to make it more cost-effective for customers,” says Jeff Koziol, business development manager – PACS partners at Allegion.

“The Schlage NDEB and LEB intelligent wireless locks are easy to install and seamlessly communicate with the software via Wi-Fi. The Reader Controller devices round out the solution by enabling real-time updates and offering an option for doors where wireless locks are not a fit," Koziol adds. "Through this system, customers can now provision a reader device and assign access privileges to cardholders in just minutes, while greatly reducing implementation costs.”

Key features of the BadgePass ONE platform include:

“We chose to partner with Allegion because their hardware options help reduce common barriers to installation, including complex and costly wiring,” says Derek Gibbs, EVP of Product Development at BadgePass.

“We started with credential issuance, giving customers the ability to enroll cardholder data and print ID badges right from their phone," adds Gibbs. "We’re excited to be at the forefront and now embed access control capabilities to the system. ID badging and secure door access go hand-in-hand, and customers today demand a more comprehensive, integrated experience from their cards.”

Allegion has supported successful integrations in two other BadgePass product lines: BadgePass Access Manager and TotalCard.

For more information, visit BadgePass.com.

The process of transaction reconciliation can be a lengthy and daunting prospect for campus university administrators. But having a comprehensive reconciliation software in place can provide checks and balances, help identify errors and potential fraud.

To help make sense of things, a recent entry to TouchNet's blog delves into the topic of reconciliation software - specifically what to look for in a software. Reconciliation software is designed to help ease the accounting process, save the admin team significant time, and reduce human error by providing automated tools to reconcile campus transactions.

As any card office admin will know, the amount of transactions easily reaches the thousands, making the need for an effective reconciliation software a must.

TouchNet's 7 benefits of reconciliation software include:

1. Automates processes. Reconciliation software removes the manual effort your team spends entering data and resolving inconsistencies by automating many manual and repetitive tasks.

2. Improves accuracy. Thanks to automation and integration, human errors from manually inputting data can be reduced.

3. Strengthens controls. Tailored permissions keep unauthorized users from viewing, editing, and sharing data.

4. Enables insights. A unified dashboard coupled with detailed reports ensure you understand your overall performance.

5. Protects data. Reconciliation software only shows information needed to audit and balance accounts, protecting sensitive information as much as possible while still being able to access the needed transaction data.

6. Monitors transaction activity. Administrators can easily manage returns and credit card chargebacks, including notifying users of status.

7. Streamlines reconciliation. The software streamlines and accelerates the reconciliation process, expediting your reporting and planning.

TouchNet also offers its advice to campuses in the process of selecting a software, including the importance of a centralized dashboard, integration needs, reporting capabilities and more.

For the full list of benefits and features to look for when selecting a reconciliation software, visit TouchNet.com.

Small but mighty could describe Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary when it comes to leveraging Transact Campus’ new cloud transaction system, Transact IDX, for its campus card program. The solution is reducing pain points for card office staff and enabling the office to maximize the utilization of its workforce.

Gordon-Conwell’s main, residential campus is located in South Hamilton, Massachusetts, but the college also operates satellite campuses in Boston, Charlotte, and Jacksonville. The Transact IDX solution is in use across all campuses.

Earlier this year, Transact Campus released Transact One, a cloud-native platform that brings together the company’s campus ID, campus commerce, and integrated payments solutions.

The platform's new campus ID transaction system, Transact IDX, is designed to streamline student services underpinned by the campus card. According to Keith Doyle, IT systems analyst and applications development lead for Gordon-Conwell, it is already starting to pay dividends for students and staff.

IDX enables digital management of meal plans such as balance checks and discounted points purchases, says Doyle. That can save significant amounts of frustration and friction, given that students often ask cashiers about that information.

“I like the fact that we can give people direct access to their accounts,” says Doyle. “That’s a huge win for us.”

One-stop campus ID

Transact One was designed to provide a better user experience in what amounts to a one-stop shop for campus card programs. The platform, among other things, aggregates data across the various transaction system products, providing easy access to dashboards and insight into system updates and daily business trends.

The integrated, single sign-on ecosystem makes the various applications and services deployed by Gordon-Conwell more cohesive. According to Doyle, the interface is intuitive, and they were able to customize it with branding and other features.

“We tend to be quite aggressive looking for automated processes,” says Doyle, talking about one of the reasons the Transact IDX system was so attractive to the school. As the institution’s needs grow, APIs are available to support integration with an array of third-party technology providers.

Campus ID workflow

Gordon-Conwell was already partnered with Transact before making the change to Transact IDX, and Doyle acknowledges that the shift has already produced significant positive change.

Vital for a school with a relatively small staff – Doyle says that a total of just six or seven people were needed to facilitate the migration.

He says it not only allows the seminary more ownership of its campus ID program but has improved his office’s workflow and, perhaps more importantly, freed up staff time.

The future of IDX

The promise of what’s to come with Transact IDX is a significant part of the campus technology plan described by Doyle.

Mobile credentials are in play, among other upgrades.

Looking ahead, Doyle says he is anticipating an IDX integration with the college’s card printer system, which would specifically include a cloud-based photo upload solution.

“There are a lot of moving parts,” admits Doyle. “We’re confident that we’re off to a strong start with Transact IDX.”

For more information on Transact IDX, visit TransactCampus.com.

The University of North Alabama has implemented mobile credentials with the aid of card transaction system provider, Transact. UNA students, faculty, and staff can all add their Mane Card to either Apple Wallet or Google Pay and use their iPhones, Apple Watches, or Android smartphones to access campus buildings, purchase meals, and more.

The Transact mobile credential initiative at UNA is a universal use case, meaning that UNA students can now complete any transaction that would have previously required a physical Mane Card with their iPhone, Apple Watch, or Android phone. The new program is called Mobile ID, and went live on November 2.

In a report from The Flor-Ala, UNA Mane Card manager, Linda Brocato, says she had been preparing for the move to mobile credentials for years.

“When I became the manager of Mane Card, we changed out our readers to go to a chip card with the intention of going to mobile credentials,” says Brocato in a Flor-Ala interview. “Once we got the ball rolling, we didn’t realize that we had to have multi-factor authentication, so we had to back off since the university didn’t have it yet. Once we got Duo, which was within the last year, we got the ball rolling again. We’re excited that we finally have it now.”

UNA trialed the technology on campus first with resident assistants and select faculty members.

In terms of transactions, the new Mobile IDs work nearly identically to the previous Mane Cards. Students can now use their smartphones to gain access to campus facilities and residence halls on campus. On the payments side, students can tap their phones to complete any monetary transaction that the original Mane Card supported.

In future years, incoming students will have the option to either carry a physical Mane Card or be provisioned a mobile credential.

“The reason they don’t want them to have a card and a phone is because it bogs down the system even more,” explains Brocato. “Also, you can give your friend your card for meals or door access. You’re not going to give your phone to people as easily as you will a card. You can get mobile credential on your Apple Watch, too, but that’s it.”

While testing the system, RA feedback included an appreciation for the ease of use that a smartphone offers for door access and transactions. Some expressed concerns about the occasional inaccuracy of card readers and the possibility of phones running out of battery.

Apple devices carry a feature called Express Mode, which allows up to a five-hour window after the phone dies when students can still use their mobile credential.

“The main thing is convenience. Students and employees will have their phones with them. It keeps Mane Cards from getting lost and people from having to pay $15 for a replacement,” says Brocato. “You don’t lose a phone like you do a card. You keep up with your phone a lot easier.”

After students move to mobile credentials, they will no longer be able to use their physical Mane Card. The UNA system will search weekly for card duplicates – i.e. students who have both a physical and mobile Mane Card – and will cut the physical duplicate off, rendering the card unusable.

By Renee Henry, Product Marketing Manager, Entrust

Why should you consider distributed issuance for campus cards? Because your IDs are the most tangible connection between a school, its students, and its faculty. In this evolving, fast-paced environment, when convenience and speed are of utmost priority, enrolling and issuing student ID cards can present a real challenge. The traditional card issuance process that provides each student their personalized card often results in long wait queues, creating an unpleasant experience for students and faculty.

Fortunately, Instant ID issuance software (formerly TruCredential) enables you to reimagine your card issuance program. The distributed issuance ID card solution uses locally installed software to capture data, print, and issue technology-rich student ID cards anywhere on campus and on-demand using ethernet-connected card printers.

The secure software integrates seamlessly with access controls and other systems on your campus, making it easy, efficient, and practical to meet the needs of tech-savvy, multitasking students and staff. Distributed issuance for campus cards delivers greater system flexibility, allowing more customized solutions to meet campus needs.

Here are the top 5 benefits of distributed issuance for campus cards:

1. Secure

Fraud risk makes security a concern, and a securely connected campus starts with trusted identities. A well-designed issuance security architecture keeps your data and systems secure throughout the issuance process with software that installs easily on your existing secure servers.

Our Trusted Platform Module enables you to store and manage user certificates and keys and establishes an encrypted, secure connection between the issuance software and the ID card printers. Our patent-pending secure boot protects the system from outside intrusion to limit malware insertion. Additional tamper resistant card options like custom holographic overlays, tactile impression, and color, tactile printing provide an extra layer of security, firmly placing you in control of your school’s ID Program.

2. Cost-effective

Our secure cloud management solution helps eliminate the need for onsite technical support visits, enabling automated system updates, troubleshooting, and fleet management capabilities. Our card issuance solution is easily scalable, lowers operational and service costs, and minimizes hardware and software costs. Scalability, cost savings, and optimized output make distributed card issuance viable and effective for universities and their students.

3. Innovative

As technology on campus rapidly changes, proprietary hardware and software can make it challenging to deliver seamless one-card experiences. Entrust combines physical and digital into one identity issuance platform that is either on-premises or in the cloud. It can deliver a physical ID and a mobile flash pass instantly, creating multi-use credentials for identification and payment. Instant ID also offers seamless integration with access control systems, letting you encode smart cards, contactless cards, and magnetic stripes on demand. The ability to integrate with agnostic ID card providers enables universities to create a more connected, more efficient ecosystem that simplifies identity, access, and payment at scale across campus systems.

4. Convenient

Many ID software products require station-by-station installation. This approach does not allow you to capture and print anywhere you choose. Our server-based software lets you capture images and demographic data for the ID issuance process anywhere on campus. You can print and issue new, lost, or stolen ID cards at multiple locations or batch print IDs at your convenience. If desired, you can mail cards to students who choose to do remote mobile enrollment. Distributed issuance for campus cards eliminates long lines in the card office, streamlines operations, and empowers staff to accomplish more.

5. Easy

The issuance process is fast, simple, and on-demand. No delays. No waiting for the mail. Students and staff can begin enjoying the benefits of a connected campus experience immediately. Campus ID solutions from Entrust make it easy for you to issue technology-rich cards that integrate seamlessly with access control and other systems on your campus. Manage your printer from the palm of your hand with our printer dashboard – monitor printer status, order supplies, check the cleaning status, update firmware, and contact help. The software is easy to maintain and the plug-and-play nature ensures that no specialized training is required.

By Jeff Koziol, Business Development Manager – PACS Partners, Allegion

As more college campuses adopt electronic access control each year, or expand what they already have, it’s important to have a handle on electronic access control 101 and how the technology can create a better campus experience for students, faculty and staff alike. Weighing campus security, convenience and cost are often at the forefront of discussion when considering upgrades.

Read on to learn the basics of electronic access control 101, key points to consider when assessing your campus’s needs, and benefits the different types of systems can provide.

Basic components of access control

Electronic access control refers to a wired or wireless system that determines access to entry points using software and access credentials. Student credentials may include ID cards, badges, fobs or mobile credentials in an app or the student’s Apple or Google Wallet. The user must present their credential to a reader, which then decides whether the user is authorized to access the entry point. It can also exclude entry at certain times or certain days.

Components that make up an access control opening include a card reader, latching hardware, door position indicator, a request-to-exit switch (a sensor that differentiates between someone forcefully entering, and someone exiting), and of course, a power source.

Installing access control on campus

If you get a request to add electronic access control somewhere on campus, you first need to speak with an access control expert to determine your unique needs. One type of solution may not solve all your security requirements.

It’s important to have a holistic approach to each entry point and its environment. Then, these surroundings and existing conditions must be evaluated, including door type, frame type, ceiling access, and ability to retrofit existing hardware. This will help determine what type of electronic access control hardware will be best.

Based on these factors, a cost estimate is developed and presented. Once approved, necessary permits are secured, and orders are placed. More recently, however, labor and material shortages has impacted this step.

“We're at the mercy of what's available and how soon can you get it,” says Gary Conley, Access Control Project Manager at University of Virginia. “Once installation is scheduled, preparation crews are brought in to complete the project.”

Key considerations when choosing access control hardware

When choosing which electronic access control hardware to implement, it comes down to preference of lock platform. “Do you want to go with an electric strike and couple that with a mechanical lock,” Conley asks. “If you're going with exit hardware, do you prefer to have exit trim where the exterior handle locks and unlocks, or do you need the flexibility of having electric latch retraction.”

Hardware selection depends on the door type, needs of the user, and application.

One consideration to account for is aesthetics. Electric strikes are used in conjunction with a card reader and connected to an integrated access control panel or a standalone controller. They are installed directly on the door frame.

“Some people don't like the look of electric strikes. They're kind of ugly,” says Conley. “Others prefer to go with an electrified lockset because you can't see anything.”

Wires must be run in the surrounding area which can disrupt the aesthetic or allow for tampering. Electric strikes can also create a “click-clack” sound upon opening and closing. However, they are easier and faster to install and to retrofit existing hardware. Electrified locksets transfer power through the actual hinges and door but require more invasive, expensive, and specialized installation.

The second consideration is anticipating any potential need for additional complementary hardware. When selecting the type of electric access control for the Student Health Center, Conley decided on a mechanism that could easily be combined with a power operator for wheelchair access in the future.

In less than a year, the Student Health Center requested 12-14 of those power operators, he says. If a power operator might be added in the future, an electric strike or electric latch exit device allows for such update.

Wireless locks

There are certain openings that may be better suited for wireless locks due to budget constraints or the difficulty in getting cable or wiring to certain openings. Wireless, battery-powered locks have become commonplace on many university and college campuses for applications like student room entries, faculty offices, lab spaces and storage or data closets.

While these solutions tend to maximize the campus’s security budget and can tie into the security and access control software already in place on campus, these solutions carry considerations for annual maintenance costs, like battery change-outs.

Another important consideration is code compliancy. Factors affected by code include the type of door, like a fire door, the need for failsafe trim, and re-entry requirements.

For example, fire stair doors’ electric latch retraction must be programmed so if the alarm sounds, the latch retraction is released – but the fail-safe electric trim ensures that the hardware always remains latched on the exterior while still allowing egress in emergency. Conley notes that he and his staff stay up to date every week on iDigHardware, a blog from Allegion’s Lori Greene covering topics surrounding door, hardware, and code questions.

The final consideration is traffic flow. There's a significant balancing act between ease of use and being completely secure. “The most secure opening is the one you cannot get through,” says Conley.

While restricting a door with heavy traffic flow may feel inconvenient, it also provides valuable, additional security. Classrooms, laboratories, residence halls, and offices holding student records are a few spaces that benefit not just from limiting access, but auditing who accesses the space, and when.

Doors with less concern around traffic monitoring can benefit from prop and force alarms, which sound when the door is forced or left open. These alarms are easy and inexpensive to install and may be programmed to automatically silence when the door is closed again, making it a convenient option.

Weighing pros and cons

Convenience and security are major benefits of access control technology. With electronic access control, credentials can be instantly deactivated if reported lost or stolen. Whether an ID card or mobile credential, all it takes is the click of a button to prevent unauthorized people from accessing a secure space.

“We can literally say, ‘what's your card number?’” says Conley, whether he’s issuing access to a door or building, or revoking access. This helps to quickly secure sensitive areas or buildings where select people should be able to access, like residence halls, adding a more efficient layer of safety.

On the other hand, a physical brass key must be tracked down, or each corresponding entry point will need to be rekeyed. Losing a master key can cost tens of thousands of dollars to rekey entire buildings.

For transient populations like students, auditing brass keys becomes more complicated than keeping track of credentials tied to a database. Digital information is stored centrally, rather than in the hands of thousands of students in the form of small, brass keys.

However, the price tag of electronic access control can turn some away. Traditional keyed access is typically less expensive to implement up front without accounting for the potential need to replace keys or rekey doors. It’s typically easier to get ahold of and install the hardware.

The expertise required to install and maintain electronic access control may not be readily available. You not only need someone qualified to program the systems, but you also need someone that can properly structure the systems.

Electronic access control 101: Final thoughts

When deciding to implement electronic access control on your campus, it’s important to start with the fundamentals. Before ever considering implementing electronic access control hardware on campus, having every door in basic working order is essential.

This means the door itself, the hinges, the frame and the surrounding area must be maintained properly before introducing the hardware. If any portion of the door is not properly maintained, the access control system cannot do its most important job – restricting unauthorized access and providing security to the facility.

Securing your campus is not a one-size-fits-all solution. By seeking out industry experts and advice, you can work to create a customized access control system – whether traditional or electronic – to best fit the needs of every entry point on your campus.

Are you ready to implement electronic access control on your campus, but still not sure where to start? Discuss your unique needs with an Allegion expert at us.allegion.com.

The EV revolution is coming to universities – and with it, the need for EV charging on campus. This emerging service could be opening new roles for campus ID card.

College and university officials should begin preparing now for how they will handle the increasing use of electric cars, scooters and bikes by students and even faculty and staff. Decisions made now about how to access and manage EV charging will bring big impacts in the coming years.

That is among the main messages from a recent CampusIDNews interview with two HID Global executives charged with helping ease the transition to electric vehicles and the charging infrastructure requires to support them.

“We have seen more EV usage in the workplace environment, and the education market is also emerging,” says Mohit Khoda, Senior Manager of Product Marketing, Extended Access Technologies at HID Global. “It is still very new so we don’t know how the whole thing will play up. Right now, everyone is testing the waters.”

EV charging on campus gains momentum

The EV trend is increasingly well funded and has gained a momentum that seems all but certain to continue. The Federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and other programs are pumping fresh funding to states for their own EV projects.

Each day seems to bring news of new capital and focus for EV projects, whether $25 million for EV development South Carolina, New York’s proposed ban on gas-fueled automobiles or a Detroit pilot that involves in-road EV charging.

Campuses will not be isolated from these trends – indeed, some colleges and universities already offer EV charging on campus at low or no cost for faculty members. EV charging poses unique on campuses, in part because parking is often limited and charging stations chew up valuable real estate.

HID’s role is to help campuses or their partners operate EV charging systems – and craft ID and access process to ensure only approved users access the system and that, when required, payments are collected.

“It is quite similar to gaining access to smart lockers, or enabling students, teachers and other members of the campus community to buy food and other retail goods via their ID cards and digital credentials,” says Khoda.

EV credential models

As explained by Helmut Dansachmüller, Vice President of Product Marketing and Innovation, Extended Access Technologies at HID Global, campuses face a variety of business models when it comes to accessing EV charging stations.

For instance, universities could operate the service for students and faculty or could work through local utilities to set up a charging infrastructure. Campuses could offer free charging – as some already do – or charge for the use of the stations.

Khoda adds that some or all charging stations “could be public, like a gas station, open to all.”
That may turn out to a popular choice with larger universities.

“Indeed, that is how it’s done at the HID office in Austin, where a couple of charging stations are open to the public while the others are restricted to employees,” says Khoda. “A technology-focused university such as MIT might do it differently than a state school in the Midwest, and small institutions will almost certainly look different than large metropolitan sites.”

In pretty much all cases, however, a campus-based EV charging station infrastructure requires a robust credentialing and ID system.

Credential challenges for EV charging on campus

The general idea, as the HID executives explain, is to place an RFID contactless reader module into the charging device, integrating the solution into the EV power station.

“It has to be integrated so it is protected from the elements,” Dansachmüller says. “The main protection is for wide-ranging temperature fluctuations, though snow also can tax the system and draw more battery power, something HID is prepared for when dealing with campus EV charging stations.”

Similar to the way smart lockers are accessed on campus, the RFID contactless reader provides a secure way to access the charging station without the need for PIN codes or text messages. As well, he adds, the process also enables integrators to use APIs, furthering the potential use of more technology.

“As projects progress, it’s also very likely that EV charging station access will come via smart phones along with cards,” Khoda says.

EV complexity

It’s important to note that the ongoing EV revolution is somewhat complex because of the array of players involved. While HID aims to provide credentials and RFID reader modules to the infrastructure, the stations are owned by a third-party, power is coming from a utility, and another business or campus unit is likely to be in charge of parking-lot management.

But that’s just another reason to get this part of the EV campus infrastructure totally right. If one part fails, the whole system can break down, and then faculty, students and staff members might lose confidence in EV as other campuses do better.

Both Khoda and Dansachmüller agree that campuses must prepare. “The government is supporting this with a lot of incentives,” says Khoda. “And EV is going to be a part of the Gen Z generation.”

For more info on EV charging and how HID Global can provide solutions for your campus, visit HIDGlobal.com.

 

The higher ed experience encompasses lectures, tests, extracurriculars, and more, and Genetec campus security solutions helps secure the total experience. A positive environment is vital, and security via campus ID, video surveillance, access control, staff collaboration and other tools is key to building that sense of trust, safety and success.

A new brochure from Canada-based Genetec goes a long way toward illustrating the stakes involved and the best, most recent approaches to keep campus communities secure. The company’s Higher Education Industry Portfolio provides a look into some of the most pressing issues around campus ID and security technology.

“Threats are on the rise, regulations are changing and security systems are becoming increasingly data driven,” the company says in describing the evolving campus ID and security landscape. “Moving to a unified, flexible, platform will help secure your students and promote the learning conditions ideal for them to thrive.”

Changing campus security needs

As the world becomes ever more digital, multiple mobile and web touch points for daily campus activities create vast amounts of actionable data. Campus activities are expanding and changing, requiring smarter, more sophisticated security preparations and responses, according to Genetec. And while all that happens, hackers and other criminals keep punching away at cyber defenses, using cutting-edge techniques that can be hard to repel unless a campus commits to robust software and security technologies.

“Breaking down silos will optimize communication and decision-making within your organization. That’s why you need a portfolio of solutions that centralizes operations and can adapt to unexpected threats.”

Teaching and learning happen best when everyone feels safe, Genetec explains, citing a Concordia University study. And with annual government funding reaching more than $192 billion for U.S. universities, money is available for the necessary upgrades. But such upgrades involve more than crafting a shopping list of the latest campus ID and security tools.

“Breaking down silos will optimize communication and decision-making within your organization,” Genetec says. “That’s why you need a portfolio of solutions that centralizes operations and can adapt to unexpected threats.”

Genetec campus security portfolio addresses institutional complexity

As Genetec points out, U.S. universities have “inherited city-like complexity, prompting the need to simplify their internal systems. Traditional systems are isolated by function and cannot easily interact with each other.”

Unifying these often-isolated systems can deliver a host of benefits.

These systems can include:

Unifying the management of these and other functions via a single platform facilitates collaboration among campus and security officials and aides in automated response management.

"U.S. universities have inherited city-like complexity, prompting the need to simplify their internal systems.”

The Genetec Security Center is the “unified security platform … that blends IP security systems within a single intuitive interface to simplify campus operations. From access control, video surveillance and automatic license plate recognition to communications, intrusion detection, and analytics, Security Center empowers your staff with unified command and control.”

Live dashboards, end-to-end data security and privacy, built-in redundancy and customized protocols also help make this technology stand out.

Campus safety is crucial

A unified approach to campus security can benefit campus IT, facilities and public safety directors, the company says.

"Disconnected systems can no longer adapt and scale. You need to break down silos and capitalize on a unified security system that’ll improve collaboration and efficiency.”

Take the public safety director as one example: The technology offers one-click threat management meant to simplify the incident response process, along with a unified view of access control and video management, which can help make emergency response quicker and more precise.

“Schools are a second home for many students and staff so it’s crucial they feel safe,” explains Genetec. “With rising threats it can become difficult to offer your students a pleasant and safe learning experience. Disconnected systems can no longer adapt and scale. You need to break down silos and capitalize on a unified security system that’ll improve collaboration and efficiency.”

Check out the full document to learn more about modern approaches to campus security.

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.

Benefits of open credentials

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.

Supply chain challenges

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.

Chip types

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.

Encryption keys

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.

Diversification methods

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.

Card format

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:

The wrap-up

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.

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The only publication dedicated to the use of campus cards, mobile credentials, identity and security technology in the education market. CampusIDNews – formerly CR80News – has served more than 6,500 subscribers for more than two decades.
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Join us, @NACCUorg, and @TouchNet to explore how campus card programs can successfully navigate the sales and procurement process. Join the webinar on June 6, 2 pm EDT. https://go.touchnet.com/l/652093/2022-05-18/lsndq

Webinar: Learn how the University of Arizona uses campus cards, mobile ordering, kiosks, lockers, and robots to revolutionize campus dining. April 7, 2-2:30 EDT. Register Now at https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/7821245544009488910?source=campus-id

As supply chain issues in 2021 persist, identity solutions provider @ColorID discusses ways campuses can to overcome potentially troublesome delays until the situation eases.

https://www.cr80news.com/news-item/protecting-your-campus-card-program-from-supply-chain-issues/

A dining services push at the @UBuffalo is reinforcing the utility of self-service checkout. @CBORD is improving the food service experience using the GET app, as well as Nextep kiosks and Oracle’s Micros Simphony POS.

https://www.cr80news.com/news-item/kiosks-self-service-tech-streamline-campus-food-service-u-buffalo/

Did you miss our recent webinar? No worries - watch it on-demand. Leaders from @NAU and the @UAlberta joined Ryan Audus, Touchnet, and Andrew Hudson, @CR80News, to discuss innovative mobile services and the future of mobile tech in higher ed. Watch now: https://bit.ly/31RFyLn

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