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By Jeff Koziol, Allegion’s business development manager of campus software partners

Credential technology has come a long way since the first electronic card access system was developed in 1968. For decades, universities have used some form of campus card. Yet many campuses have made few changes to the legacy technology they adopted years ago.

While many understand the risks of outdated technology, they haven’t made the change to something more secure, like smart cards or mobile student IDs. And those who had plans in place likely saw them shattered when the pandemic struck last year, forcing universities to pivot their 2020 initiatives.

Ironically, the pandemic uncovered the benefits of a contactless campus, leaving many to revisit the need to invest in smart cards or mobile student IDs.

Luckily, there is funding available to help colleges and universities prepare to bring students back to healthier campuses. Because contactless credentials can help limit the spread of COVID-19, Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF) might be able to help your campus make the transition.

What is HEERF?

Wondering how to fund higher education plans that will allow you to resume a somewhat normal campus experience? Coronavirus relief funding might be the answer.

HEERF was established as part of the CARES Act to provide fast and direct economic aid. Since then, new funding has been issued through the CRRSA Act and ARP Act to provide more relief from financial losses resulting from COVID-19 and support safe reopening of campuses. The NASFAA created this comparison chart to explain the three HEERFs.

“There are two parts to the higher education funds: student relief and institutional relief,” says Dr. Paula Love, President of RFPMatch.com. “The institutional portion of these funds can be used to implement evidence-based practices to monitor and suppress spread of the coronavirus in accordance with public health guidelines.”

“These funds are flexible to allow schools to use the funds where they are needed most,” Love adds. “For some, that might be implementing contactless transactions and touchless access control on campus.”

"Bottom line, there is a lot of money available for higher education institutions that can be used to help implement strategies to prevent the spread of COVID-19."

During the NACCU session, “Demand for Frictionless Technology: The Silver Lining of a Global Pandemic,” the speaker shared how the University of Montana used stimulus funding for new readers on each building to support its move to contactless credentials. The move increased security, reduced the time it took campus police to manually lock and unlock doors and helped them prepare for the next pandemic.

Bottom line, there is a lot of money available for higher education institutions that can be used to help implement strategies to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

It’s time to reconsider contactless credentials

“Regardless of cost, campus leaders are certainly thinking a lot about ways to make life involve less contact with surfaces and people, as COVID is here for now and will impact future behaviors,” writes Melissa Ezarik for University Business in November 2020. The article outlines six areas of campus to make contactless, including mobile credentials.

I’m hopeful that the end is in sight. Yet, the behavioral changes that we inherited during the last 14 months aren’t going to evaporate overnight. I’d still prefer a touchless door over mechanical operation. I’d rather use my phone to tap-and-go versus handing over my credit card for a cashier to swipe. Bottom line, I don’t want to put my hands where who knows how many hands have been before.

While I’m hopeful, I also recognize we are still in the pandemic and caution must be taken to limit the spread on campus. It appears that campuses across markets agree. Research from Campus Safety’s “Access Control, Lock and Lockdown Special Report found that there was interest among higher education, K-12 and hospital campuses in hands-free (17%), touchless (14%) and antimicrobial door hardware (13%) to stem the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.

Three ways contactless credentials can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 on campus:

Deploy remotely. Mobile student IDs offer the same contactless and security benefits as smart cards, plus they can be remotely deployed to avoid in-person contact. Wave goodbye to the long lines at the card office. The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, experienced this last summer when it had to pause it’s in-person summer orientations, the time students traditionally receive their VolCards. Students with Apple devices were able to take advantage of virtual deployment so there was less person-to-person contact at the card office.

No swiping needed. Students only need to present their mobile device or campus card in the RF field emitted by the reader for building access, dining, library transactions and more. They won’t need to hand over their credentials to a cashier to swipe or touch any objects. Nor will they have to swipe the magnetic stripe on their card, where they are essentially rubbing their hands on readers that are being touched by all campus personnel.

“At most universities and colleges, the campus card is the lifeblood of a student’s daily routine,” says Brad Sweet, when explaining how to safely improve campus security. “It’s how students access buildings, eat at dining halls, check out books from the library, print term papers, do their laundry—the list goes on. With so much relying on that card, it’s safe to assume it’s being touched multiple times a day. Therefore, upgrading to a contactless solution limits how frequently the student needs to swipe a card on campus, which involves coming in contact with the reader.”

Contact tracing. “As schools and institutions of higher education (IHEs) resume in-person learning, case investigation and contact tracing with staff, educators, and students are effective strategies to identify and isolate cases and test and quarantine close contacts to reduce transmission,” per the CDC guidelines.

Many universities, like USC, have already piloted contact tracing programs. With the right technology, it can be as simple as presenting a mobile student ID or campus card upon entering specific locations on campus. This video shows how University of Vermont implemented campus contact tracing using an iPad, mobile credentials and Schlage MT20 readers.

Preparing for the future

Universities are focused on getting students back, and to do so, they need to prepare a campus that is suitable for keeping students and faculty healthy and safe. Actions taken today will better prepare campuses for future public health crises. Many are already incorporating lessons learned during this pandemic into their emergency preparedness plans.

The reason for upgrading campus cards might be different than a couple years ago, but the goal is the same -- contactless smart or mobile student IDs. With the renewed focus on going contactless, now might be the time to revive plans or kick off a move from magnetic stripe to contactless mobile credentials using HEERF funds.

"The reason for upgrading campus cards might be different than a couple years ago, but the goal is the same -- contactless smart or mobile student IDs."

Not sure where to start? Check out these four common scenarios that campuses face when upgrading credentials and get tips for each. There are more options available than the four in the article.

Allegion experts are available to develop a tailored path if you would like to explore your campus’s migration plan.

By Jeff Koziol, Allegion’s business development manager of campus software partners

2020… What a year it has been. December is the time of year when we start discussing what the next year will bring. While we’re all excited to close the door on the last several months and look ahead to 2021, I know that there’s also a lot of uncertainty in our future. That said, I am hopeful. I think we will learn from this year and evolve to create better, safer campuses for students, faculty and staff.

Of course, technology and innovation doesn’t stop. Even during the pandemic, new software was introduced to help with contact tracing while access had to be reimagined all over campus. Here’s a glimpse at a few trends that I think we can expect in 2021 and beyond.

Continuation of mobile adoption

I’m sure it doesn’t surprise you that mobile will continue to be a hot topic in 2021. I anticipate that we will continue to see adoption for improved convenience, efficiency and security. Leveraging NFC technology gives users a more seamless experience from access and transactions, to distribution and management.

Enhanced security is a significant benefit of upgrading to mobile credentials, especially for those still using unencrypted technology. In fact, Mark McKenna, director of the CATcard Service Center at University of Vermont, shared during a webinar that the main reason his team converted to mobile credentials was to eliminate the use of mag stripe on campus for more secure transactions.

Mobile credentials themselves are more secure than older technology like magnetic stripe or proximity cards. On top of that you have the fact it’s on the student’s smartphone. When was the last time you saw a young adult go anywhere or do anything without their device? They’re less likely to loan it out or lose it. And if they do lose it, I’d give it less than an hour before they notice and lock the device or locate it.

Colleges and universities understand the value of mobile credentials, and I anticipate more will move from discussions to adoption in the coming year or two. And soon the Android solution for the Google Wallet will be available and will only help to further advance the adoption.

"Colleges and universities understand the value of mobile credentials, and I anticipate more will move from discussions to adoption in the coming year or two."

Doug Vanderpoel, manager of enterprise services at Mount Holyoke College, also sees a bright future for mobile adoption. “One of the things that excites me most about the future of credentialing is not just mobile itself but the possibilities it opens up, like geo location and geo marketing. Apps and the credentials will merge. A class schedule will be able to guide a student to her classroom, while the credential lets her in the door.”

Another benefit of mobile technology is that credentials are remotely deployed. It’s easier for your staff and it eliminates the need for students to pick up cards in person. Given the risks, your institution doesn’t want students lining up, risking students and staff.

Similarly, mobile is contactless, which is a hot topic when considering the overall health of a campus. The less students, faculty and staff are touching, the better.

Universities take control of credentials & deeper conversations about interoperability

Interoperability enables various technology systems to communicate, exchange and interpret information. With campus cards, interoperability enables a credential to work across multiple hardware manufacturers spanning access control, point of sale and other third-party applications.

Today, open interoperable solutions are optimal to the dated proprietary model that has long existed in the industry. When I look in my crystal ball to predict the future, I see universities taking a more active role in their technology choices. That starts with considering manufacturing partners who embrace open, non-proprietary flexible solutions.

“In North America, high frequency, or smart card technology, has long been dominated by a proprietary encryption key technology and business model,” says Paul Iverson, credential solutions business leader at Allegion. “As the industry evolves to non-proprietary and open architecture solutions and partnerships, end users are beginning to evaluate the dated proprietary model, which creates leverage and control for the manufacturer.”

"I see universities taking a more active role in their technology choices. That starts with considering manufacturing partners who embrace open, non-proprietary flexible solutions."

While some campuses might have hardware from a single manufacturer on campus, it’s more common that there is a mix, creating a more complex medley of credentials, readers and electronic locks. These solutions need to work together harmoniously, where the credential can open every door and interface with other readers for dining, bookstore purchases, laundry, vending and other applications on campus, regardless of where the lock or reader came from.

Manufacturers aligned with partners like NXP embrace the scenario described above utilizing custom encryption keys. Custom encryption keys are secure and create control for the university rather than the manufacturer. Should the end user’s technology or strategic needs change, they enjoy the flexibility of taking possession of the key at any time and can seek additional manufacturing relationships to serve their technology and business needs.

“There’s a choice of manufacturers in the market,” says Iverson. “Some use a proprietary model creating manufacturer control in the relationship while others embrace non-proprietary models and the new paradigm of the future.”

“I encourage you to ask the manufacturer, ‘If at any time I elect to take possession of the key, will you provide the key to us?’ If the answer is ‘yes,’ it sounds like you’re working with a manufacturer offering a non-proprietary custom key as an option,” Iverson says. “If the answer is ‘no,’ you’re likely working with a manufacturer aligned with a proprietary encryption key offering. This can limit your freedom to choose hardware manufacturers down the road.”

Invest in the freedom of choice and put control in your hands. Ask questions and choose wisely so you don’t box yourself in.

Investing in the student experience

Now more than ever, it’s important to focus on the student experience. Colleges want students back on campus, and they want them to choose their campus. Entice students with your offering and stand out.

What value does your campus bring to the student? How can you reassure parents’ safety and security concerns? Your campus card could be the answer.

If you’re going to market your campus card as a perk for students, it’s important to ensure it really is going above and beyond. This doesn’t mean you have to have mobile, though students are going to start expecting that in the coming years. Start by expanding your campus card capabilities.

“Students are the reason we’re here. They’ve been using mobile devices from a young age and we need to keep up with the technology that their expecting.”

--Doug Vanderpoel, manager of enterprise services at Mount Holyoke College

When universities move to smart card solutions, regardless of provider, they often stop at access control. They tend to overlook things like vending, dining and POS readers. When the mobile student IDs in the Apple Wallet came around, universities were forced to address all areas where cards were being used. Now we’ve seen universities expand the use case, even those not using the Apple solution. They want their contactless card to go beyond door access; they want it for transactions and more.

While you can still attract students with a full-service campus card, I wouldn’t completely overlook mobile. Students will start to expect this option in the future. We’ve had an evolution over last 20 years moving from key rings to plastic ID cards. Now we’re seeing a similar migration away from the traditional wallet with credit cards, membership cards and now keys all moving to the digital wallet.

“Students are the reason we’re here,” insists Mount Holyoke’s, Vanderpoel. “They’ve been using mobile devices from a young age and we need to keep up with the technology that their expecting.”

Technological advancements beyond 2021 & the expansion of software capabilities

Technological advancement isn’t a trend as it’s constantly evolving to further our industry. That said, I think it’s worth noting a few ways that technology will impact higher education institutions in 2021 and beyond.

In 2020, campuses were able to use credentials to provide in-demand services to deal with the pandemic, like contact tracing. Moving forward, universities can benefit from using that same data for capacity management and situational awareness.

While it all centers around the credential, a higher adoption of readers and wireless locks will increase the amount of data that a campus can access to better implement these capabilities. It becomes more valuable because it’s being used in more places.

"In 2020, campuses used credentials to provide in-demand services to deal with the pandemic, like contact tracing. Moving forward, universities can use that same data for capacity management and situational awareness."

Of course, when gathering data, the quality of that data matters. When using a card technology that can be easily duplicated, that data suffers. You don’t want someone to be able to take a card to a Key Me station and duplicate it, so it’s important to have encrypted technology in place first.

Cyber security and privacy concerns have been in the spotlight this year, and I don’t anticipate that will change in 2021. At Allegion, we have teams dedicated to addressing both topics. Looking beyond 2021, I see a lot of opportunity for our market. One example of this is the emergence of Ultra-Wideband (UWB).

“We’ve already seen how NFC and BLE have made access control more seamless through mobile devices,” says Brian Marris, product manager of Allegion connected accessories. “In the next five years, UWB will take this to the next level.”

“Location precision is improved, and it will recognize intent in a way that isn’t possible today.” Adds Marris. “Say I have my phone in my pocket and I’m approaching a door. UWB is tracking me within a few inches, and it knows by the way I’m facing and when I’m within a certain range that my intent is to walk through that door. It then authenticates my credential without me having to take it out of my pocket.”

Summary

While 2020 wasn’t the year we expected, I believe this is an exciting time for our industry. We learned a lot this year. For example, I bet pandemic planning is going to be key for universities, even after there is a vaccine. Campuses have done a good with their strategies to keep students safe on campus. And now they’re going to be prepared for health-related emergencies moving forward.

We’ve also seen technology help us in ways we might have overlooked in the past, like remote deployment and contact tracing. I think this innovative spirit will continue across our industry as we strive to design better campus experiences. More schools will introduce mobile credentials, while others expand the capabilities of their current technology.

When you look to the future, what do you see? Let me know by connecting with me on LinkedIn.

By Jeff Koziol, Allegion’s business development manager of campus software partners

How many of us still use a Franklin Covey planner or address book? What about a Garmin? If you’re like most, you now rely on your mobile device. Now imagine a generation of students who grew up with that technology, never knowing the pain of using a foldable map on a long drive. It’s understandable why today’s tech-savvy students are seeking the convenience of mobile student IDs.

Universities of all sizes and demographics should take note. If you’re not moving toward more convenient ways to interact with students, they will soon find campuses that are catering to their expectations.

Mobile credentials are still new to our market, and I’ve heard some hesitations from schools who are debating whether it’s time to make the switch to digital IDs. Among the potential barriers include the use case coverage requirements, implementation costs and the desire for a comprehensive offering that doesn’t exclude students with Android phones. I’ll take a deeper look at each of these and explain why these are important factors when considering mobile adoption on campus.

Does the mobile credential really need to work everywhere on campus?

I love Apple Pay. It’s so convenient to tap my phone—which I always have in my pocket—and go. When I first began using Apple Pay, that convenience was only enjoyed at a handful of places near me, however. Adoption is expanding.

As of January 2019, 65% of retailers were said to accept this form of payment. But as long as one or two of the businesses I regularly visit don’t accept Apple Pay, I have to defer back to my debit or credit card, which means I still have to carry my wallet as a backup. If this happens frequently enough, my debit or credit card might become my go-to even when Apple Pay is accepted because I’m used to pulling it out everywhere else. That convenience of the mobile payment diminishes.

"Since launching its mobile program about a year ago, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, surpassed 5,000,000 mobile transactions. About 70% of the transactions on campus are made with a mobile phone versus a plastic credential."

My early experience with Apple Pay illustrates the reason for a 100% use case of mobile student IDs in the Apple Wallet on campus. When I use the phrase “100% use case,” I mean that anywhere a student could use a physical student ID card they need to be able to use their mobile credential. If students have to switch between a plastic card and their mobile phone, they might opt for the option that’s guaranteed to work everywhere.

To avoid this and improve adoption of mobile credentials, make sure the mobile credential is accepted all over campus. For example, since launching its mobile program about a year ago, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, surpassed 5,000,000 mobile transactions. About 70% of the transactions on campus are made with a mobile phone versus a plastic credential.

I recommend putting together a plan to ensure everywhere on campus is prepared to accept the mobile students IDs within a few years. Here are some examples to consider:

What will mobile credentials cost our university?

Upgrading from a magnetic stripe card to a mobile credential can come at a premium, just as you would expect to pay more for a contactless smart card over a magnetic stripe option. The reasons for this is that it’s a more robust and secure credential and it’s easier to use. How those costs are covered is up to the university. Some schools cover the cost as a necessary expense to keep students and the school secure. Others have students cover the expense.

Additionally, there are costs of updating the hardware that’s needed to work with the mobile student IDs. This will vary depending on what’s already in place on campus.

There are costs of not upgrading that need considered as well. There are risks of using older credential technologies that can be easily copied. If a proximity card is copied using a device that can be purchased online by anyone, the offender can obtain access to various places across campus—the student recreation center, dining hall and even high-security areas. Newer technologies are encrypted and less vulnerable to security breaches.

"I recommend schools show off their mobile credentials during orientations by using mobile devices on campus tours. Right now it’s a way to stand out to students, but soon it will be table stakes."

Universities also need to prioritize the student experience and student expectations. Keep in mind, this generation of students is more dependent on their phones than others. Mobile credentials build on the convenience that the one-card system introduced to campuses several years ago. Access, dining dollars, printing privileges are all accessible through a single credential—but now that credential is the mobile device.

Students already are highly dependent on these devices, so it’s a logical transition to keep up with the tech-driven generation’s expectations. In fact, I would recommend schools show off their mobile credentials during orientations by using mobile devices on campus tours. Right now it’s a way to stand out to students, but soon it will be table stakes.

There are also cost-saving benefits for universities that adopt mobile credentials. Deployment can be done over the air so there is no need to mail cards ahead of the semester or distribute in person. Plastic is reduced along with printing costs.

What about Android users on campus?

At first, the NFC mobile student ID was only available on Apple devices, which is why some schools delayed adoption. It’s understandable to want an inclusive offering that doesn’t exclude students with Android devices.

That said, an Android solution is available today through some mobile student ID one-card providers and more will offer the solution by early 2021. By the time campuses complete the upfront work needed to transition to mobile credentials—planning, upgrading hardware and testing—the Android solution should be available from all the mobile student ID one-card providers.

Mobile credentials are more convenient -- for you and your students

While being able to do everything from your phone and not have to worry about carrying another card is ideal, there’s value beyond this convenience. Mobile credentials can be provisioned remotely.

If a student loses their card, they have to go to the card office, which can be an inconvenient walk between a busy day of classes for some. This also means the card office needs to be open and staffed during the week and sometimes on weekends. With mobile technology, students can deploy their own credentials without having to step foot in the card office. The self-serve option is more efficient for students and staff.

And it’s not just students. Think about the faculty and staff that misplace credentials. They aren’t as dependent on their IDs as the students, so they can go weeks—or longer—without replacing their cards.

Path to mobile credentials

I believe most universities and colleges will find the benefits outweigh the challenges, but not all will be ready for a direct path to mobile at this time. That said, I hope all understand the value of upgrading to newer, more secure technology now.

The way I see it, mobile should be the end game. If your university isn’t ready for mobile, upgrade to smart cards first. This is a common path that will take you in the right direction.

The upgrades from proximity or magnetic stripe credentials to smart cards can set up your campus to easily transition to mobile down the road. It’s best to choose multi-technology readers and credentials as you transition, and always investigate the interoperability.

Mark McKenna, director of the CATcard Service Center at the University of Vermont, and I will discuss his university’s implementation of mobile credentials during an upcoming webinar in December. Join us to learn more about the benefits, challenges and what’s next for Vermont's campus.

By Jeff Koziol, business development manager of campus software partners, Allegion

Nearly 29,000 students arrive at University of Tennessee, Knoxville, each August for the start of fall semester. With VolCards in hand, these students set out across 294 buildings on Tennessee's 910-acre campus. In October 2019, that experience changed.

The university introduced mobile credentials last fall to keep up with growing student demands for a digital VolCard experience on campus.

The benefits of a mobile student ID are always significant, and the need for them now is even more apparent. As campuses plan to reopen after being shut down since the spring, they need to welcome students back to healthy environments.

This comes at a time when people are more aware of the surfaces they’re touching. Mobile credentials can be issued digitally. Furthermore, remote distribution reduces the number of students that need to pick up replacement cards in person. And since mobile credentials are contactless, transactions and secure access can occur without an individual needing to swipe or hand over a physical card.

The decision: A digital student experience

When University of Tennessee, Knoxville, decided to transition to mobile credentials a few years ago, its focus was on improving the student experience and operational benefits. Bill Strickland, director of operational services at University of Tennessee, Knoxville, started receiving requests for campus cards on a mobile device from the university's Student Government Association.

Mobile credentials make it easier and more convenient for students and faculty to access buildings like residence halls or the library, as well as to make payments on and around campus. From coffee to laundry and other purchases, students just need an iPhone or Apple Watch to go about their daily routines.

The university also knew it would benefit from being able to cut down on its plastic card production, printing and other operational efficiencies.

“As an institution that values innovation, it’s important to us that we are always adapting to the way students use technology to enhance the campus experience,” said Chris Cimino, Senior Vice Chancellor Finance and Administration at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. “Being able to access the VolCard on your mobile device is another way UT is continuously improving to meet expectations for a modern campus.”

The solution: Mobile student IDs in Apple Wallet

The mobile student ID leverages the industry-leading global standard NXP DESFire security technology to provide higher education campuses with an easy-to-implement solution to enable contactless student IDs for iPhone and Apple Watch.

“As an institution that values innovation, it’s important that we're always adapting to the way students use technology to enhance the campus experience. Accessing the VolCard on your mobile device is another way UT is continuously improving to meet expectations for a modern campus.”

-- Chris Cimino, Senior Vice Chancellor Finance and Administration, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

The user experience with NFC on Apple devices enables a seamless and secure user experience. The user presents their iPhone or Apple Watch near the reader without the need to unlock the device or open an application. With the mobile student ID, users now have the convenience of using their phones for everyday transactions. Schlage AD electronic locks, NDE and LE networked wireless locks and MT multi-technology readers support contactless student IDs in Apple Wallet using CBORD’s CS Gold software.

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville was the first campus to implement the mobile solution from CBORD and Allegion in Apple Wallet.

The process: The road to a mobile credential

One of the first steps for Strickland and Mike Henderson, VolCard technology supervisor, was defining use case across campus. To move forward, it’s important for colleges and universities to understand every single way a student uses a card on campus. Entering the dining hall, accessing the fitness center, opening residence hall doors—all of it needs documented for the rest of the process to go smoothly.

“Essentially, we had to find every reader on campus where a student could use their VolCard and figure out a way that a mobile credential would work there,” said Henderson. “That was challenging because there were places that we didn’t even know about at first. There were some external systems, like at the recreation center, that were a little more challenging than others, but we got everything squared away with the support of our teams from other departments.”

The next task was replacing hardware.

“When migrating to a newer technology, like mobile credentials, there’s work to do on the front end, like with any campus security update,” said Mark Werner, end user sales consultant at Allegion. “The team at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, did a tremendous job of coordinating with their teams and updating thousands of readers.”

Roughly 5,000 readers throughout campus needed to be upgraded or replaced to support the new mobile credential solution with Allegion. Henderson’s team replaced a majority of the readers while students were away over summer break.

They converted competitive card readers to the Schlage MT wired multi-technology readers and updated the reader modules in their AD-400 networked wireless locks. Designed for flexibility, Schlage multi-technology readers allow campuses to easily transition from proximity or magnetic stripe technology to more secure, encrypted credentials, like mobile credentials in the Apple wallet or smart cards. The university also upgraded its physical campus card technology to Schlage smart credentials using NXP MIFARE DESFire EV1. Students still needed to use a physical card until the mobile credential solution was available.

Once the readers were installed, CBORD updated Tennessee’s one-card software to CS Gold, a customizable solution supporting campus auxiliary services. CS Gold helps colleges and universities build a connected campus through integrated systems including security and access control, attendance and activity tracking, meal plan and stored value management, on- and off-campus commerce, and more.

Implementation will look different for every college or university depending on the hardware and technology in place and the compatibility and interoperability of solutions. Strickland said they hit some hurdles from time to time but ultimately paved the way for more seamless adoption. “We were the first CBORD school to have the digital ID, and I think it will be much easier for other schools to get there.”

Results

“Students that I’ve encountered absolutely love it,” Henderson said. “The ones who have the mobile credential don’t even carry their cards anymore. I haven’t swiped my card for building access since October 2019, and I use my Apple Watch 99% of the time; I don’t even need to get my phone out.”

In approximately six months after the mobile credentials launched, 10,000 unique devices were provisioned for the mobile credentials. Those devices completed more than 2 million transactions. On average, the university was seeing between 15,000-20,000 transactions per day with the mobile credential—sometimes as high as 30,000. This data was collected before the campus shut down last spring. It expects these numbers will increase as students are welcomed back in August.

“It’s very convenient to be able to present your phone to a reader for access and transactions,” said Larry Delaney, vice president of strategic alliances at CBORD.

“Those who have the mobile credential don’t even carry their cards anymore. I haven’t swiped my card for building access since October 2019, and I use my Apple Watch 99% of the time; I don’t even need to get my phone out.”

--Mike Henderson, VolCard technology supervisor

“Apple improved the user experience by adding a feature that pops up, even if a phone is locked, to show the student his or her balances in different campus accounts," said Delaney. "It sounds trivial, but the way students had to get that in the past was to talk to the dining hall attendant or open a separate mobile application. They automated a previously manual task, which adds value for the students.”

Aside from the student experience, the mobile student ID is going to benefit the university as students are welcomed back this fall. Due to COVID-19, summer orientations couldn’t take place in person, which is when students would have picked up their physical VolCards.

The university expects many students will take advantages of mobile credentials during the start of the Fall 2020 semester. This will reduce the number of students gathering in the card office to pick up their IDs at the start of the year as everything can be handled digitally. The university is looking forward to adding the Android solution in the near future to enhance student use with both iOS and Android smartphones.

There is some peace of mind knowing that most students will be able to come back to a campus that is contactless in terms of transactions. They don’t have to touch a keypad or pass their card to someone else. It’s easy and more hygienic.

Furthermore, mobile credentials have cut down on the number of plastic cards the office must reprint for students each. It saw a drop last year, and the university expects to see extraordinary reduction moving forward as students go mobile during future orientations.

"There's some peace of mind knowing that most students will be able to come back to a campus that is contactless in terms of transactions. They don’t have to touch a keypad or pass their card to someone else. It’s easy and more hygienic."

The mobile credential solution has also improved security on campus. “Phones are personal; people want to keep them in their possession. As a result, people aren’t giving away their phones like they might an ID card," Henderson adds. "This has lowered fraud and given us better insights into who is actually using the credential for access.”

Summary

Since launching mobile student IDs in October 2019, VolCard holders enjoy even more seamless transactions and access as they go about their daily routines. By implementing a mobile credential solution, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, met the demands of its tech-savvy students while improving operational efficiencies. Furthermore, the university is now better prepared for students to return to campus in the fall following recent COVID-19 guidelines.

If you’re interested in learning more about mobile credential options, visit allegionmobilecampus.com or contact Allegion.

By Robert Lydic, Vice President of Commercial Electronics Strategy, Allegion

Unprecedented times. Unfamiliar landscapes. We’ve heard it described many ways. The fact is that nearly every industry has had to face new challenges and pivot operations because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Higher education is no different. Most universities and colleges closed earlier this year, moving to e-learning in many cases, creating unique pressure for students, their families and universities across the country.

While it’s unclear when schools will welcome back students, campuses need to be prepared for a new normal. There’s a lot of planning to be done while students are away. As your university develops plans to restart operations, you’re likely considering how to decrease opportunities for exposure.

In addition to following recommendations from the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), two solutions to think about are contactless credentials and touchless access control hardware. These measures can reduce the number of surfaces that people touch on campus and can help reduce contact transmission.

Unimaginable times, unpredictable future

The future remains unclear. It’s hard to estimate what tomorrow holds because enrollment is unforeseeable at this time. Will schools continue e-learning for some or all of 2021? What does this mean for incoming freshman classes?

"Contactless credentials and touchless access control can help reduce the number of surfaces that people touch on campus and can help reduce contact transmission."

We’re dealing with this at home. My son was set to begin his freshman year of college this fall. He was accepted to several prestigious institutions, but COVID- 19 changed a lot for our family. It changed what school choices made the most sense because there are so many unknowns at this time.

Before coronavirus, we were debating over which school had the best program for his career, whereas now we are putting a bigger emphasis on location and costs. Do we send him to a phenomenal school out of state that costs more than double what an in-state school would cost? And would his campus experience even be what it would have been if he had started a year earlier?

My family isn’t unique. A survey by the Art and Science Group found that one in six high-school seniors who expected to attend a four-year college full time before the outbreak of the novel coronavirus now think that they will choose a different path this fall.

This ranges from taking a gap year to attending community college. According to the study, 35% of students said that campuses “closer to home” were now a more realistic option than their first-choice college. Additionally, about one-third of respondents said they were considering a less-expensive institution.

Preparing for the new normal

Even with so much out of the hands of universities, it’s still essential to focus on the road ahead. When it’s time to welcome students back to campus, schools will need to prove that they can offer a safe campus experience.

One place to start is by looking at things students touch daily on campus. How can those surfaces be more hygienic? Studies have found that viruses can survive on certain surfaces for days unless properly disinfected. As a result, facilities across the world are elevating their efforts to provide clean, safe environments.

Contactless credentials

The campus card is probably one of the most frequently touched items in a student’s wallet. Depending on your school’s one-card program, this credential might be used for access to buildings, dining halls, libraries and much more. Upgrading to a contactless solution limits the number of times a student needs to swipe a card, while improving security for your institution.

There are still colleges and universities that are using magnetic stripe technology for their campus card. Not only is this less secure than newer smart technology options, magnetic stripe isn’t contactless. Students touch their cards, swipe them through readers at places like dining halls then put them back in their wallets or pockets.

Proximity cards are contactless, but more secure technologies are available that are encrypted and less vulnerable to security breaches.

My recommendation for most schools is to consider mobile credentials. They’re contactless, which can help reduce contact transmission by decreasing the number of surfaces students touch on campus, thereby decreasing opportunities for exposure. They’re encrypted for added security. And they’re convenient for students, faculty and staff. Universities across the United States are already enjoying the benefits of mobile student IDs.

Mobile credentials allow for contactless deployment. Administrators in your one card office can push out credentials to students without requiring in-person interaction. This could dramatically decrease the amount of people stopping by your card office.

"Mobile credentials allow for contactless deployment, and your card office can push out credentials to students without requiring in-person interaction."

Think about the potential during orientation, whether that be this fall, next spring or beyond. A mobile credential option will make the process more seamless and sanitary.

Smart card technologies offer a similar contactless experience after deployment. Students will still need to receive a physical card, but from there, they can enjoy contactless transactions and access on campus.

Multi-technology readers can read both smart and mobile, so it’s easy for both forms to coexist on campus. Therefore, if your campus is transitioning to smart cards, consider the advantages of making the move to mobile.

Contactless credentials go far beyond access. These are essential for quick, in-and-out transactions. Think back to the dining hall example. Instead of swiping, a student presents his or her phone or Apple Watch near the reader — without coming in contact with it — and moves through the line. The phone goes back in a pocket or purse.

Touchless access control

Credentials are just a piece of the puzzle in terms of access. When a student uses their phone for access, they often need to touch something to open the door after the reader verifies their credential. The same is true upon exit; a student will need to press the push bar for egress.

The less students need to touch a door, the better. To achieve this, consider these questions:

From libraries and rec centers to the main entrance of a residence hall, hands are coming in contact with openings all over campus hundreds of times a day, if not more. Touchless solutions can help reduce contact transmission by decreasing the number of surfaces people touch in a facility, which thereby helps decrease opportunities for exposure.

A common way to accomplish touchless operation is by pairing low-energy automatic operators with actuators or readers. Presenting a contactless credential to the reader can automatically open a door without an individual having to touch anything. A similar operation is performed when a person is leaving the building.

Solutions that keep people from handling a door are popular in many industries right now, and there is clear value for higher education campuses. In fact, I’ve found universities are already looking into contactless credentials that work with automatic operators and other hardware to create a more touchless campus.

"Touchless solutions can help reduce contact transmission by decreasing the number of surfaces people touch in a facility, which thereby helps decrease opportunities for exposure."

That said, adoption isn’t going to be uniform. Implementing a new credential platform requires a moderate investment, depending on the hardware that’s currently in place.

Your campus might need to upgrade readers to accommodate mobile credentials. Similarly, moving to touchless openings might require new hardware.

This is where the challenge comes full circle. Schools have been hit hard financially, so implementing new solutions isn’t feasible for all, at least not right now. But for schools who are in a financial position to manage these investments, there is value in taking a proactive approach to create a more hygienic environment.

Start looking for solutions that enable you to bring students back to campus in a safe fashion so they can return to the superior face-to-face instruction, in-person laboratory experiments and as much of a normal routine as possible, while, of course, practicing social distancing and other safety recommendations by the CDC.

There’s also long-term value to be considered. Incorporating contactless credentials will help a university to prepare for future technological advancements, improve security and create a more seamless campus experience.

Closing thoughts

Getting back to normal will take time. There’s a lot to be done to ensure your campus is a safe, clean environment for students. Moving to contactless credentials and touchless access control hardware won’t solve all of your challenges, but these are important considerations as you’re evaluating best practices during these uncertain times.

Whether students are welcomed back this fall, next spring or sometime after that, it’s going to be imperative that your school shows how it’s working to keep students safe. While campuses are free of students, I recommend using this time to focus on upgrades that promote a healthy environment, like a move to contactless credentials and touchless openings.

By Robin Tandon, Director of Product Marketing, Cloud Solutions, HID Global

The way ID cards are used on college and university campuses as well as in the enterprise has changed dramatically in recent years. Once a simple identification tool, corporate ID badges now provide the means to open doors and access IT systems, networks and data, and campus IDs are used to purchase meals, check out library books, enter dorm rooms, and more.

The way cards were issued had gone unchanged for two decades, using one or more PCs that were each connected to a nearby printer. Now, enterprises and universities are making a shift to cloud-based solutions that enable a remote card issuance experience, transform ID card printers into edge devices within the Internet of Trusted Things (IoTT), and redefine the economics of card issuance by ushering in new service-based models.

Improved user experience

With the traditional issuance formula, ID cards were designed and printed from a PC that was connected to a nearby printer. Someone also had to be physically present at the PC to design the card, use the student ID database to encode data on the card, and send the card to a printer. Some suppliers added a piece of locally installed software that enabled web-based design and, in some cases, a certain level of encoding work.

In contrast, today’s true cloud-based card issuance platforms bring all the elements required for secure issuance into a centralized and integrated system that enables the entire process to be managed and executed remotely, from design and encoding to printing.

With cloud-based card issuance, an administrator in a card office or any satellite facility or remote location can seamlessly create new cards, encode data on them, issue replacements and manage print queues. This can all be accomplished through one trusted system using a tablet, laptop or any device with a web interface.

"Today’s true cloud-based platforms bring all the elements required for secure issuance into a centralized, integrated system that enables the entire process to be managed and executed remotely, from design and encoding to printing."

This cloud-based model improves the user experience by enabling instant issuance across different locations, rather than requiring a visit to the main card office in order to pick up an ID. Card printers can be installed anywhere, and cards can be sent to any of these printers. Printers essentially become smart, secure, web-enabled edge devices in the IoTT that can leverage all of the platform’s functionality.

Increased privacy, security via cloud-based card issuance

Security and privacy protection are both improved with the cloud-based model. There is end-to-end encryption of all sensitive data both in transit and at rest, using banking-level encryption protocols. The use of digital certificates creates a trusted relationship between the cloud and the issuance console, and card data remains encrypted until it is printed, after which all personally identifiable information (PII) disappears.

All encryption keys are securely stored in tamper-proof hardware, and unique firmware ensures the printers cannot be hijacked, but will only work with the cloud-based issuance system software. The issuance console can also be used with a card reader so that print jobs are not released until an authorized card or credential has been physically presented for validation.

"The use of digital certificates creates a trusted relationship between the cloud and the issuance console, and card data remains encrypted until it is printed, after which all personally identifiable information disappears."

In addition to transforming security, privacy protection and the user experience, the cloud-based model also improves the admin experience by simplifying high-volume card issuance management and delivery, while increasing control and security.

With cloud-based card issuance, it’s no longer necessary to manage software and other IT resources typically required for card issuance. Since there is no longer the need for PCs to be locally connected to printers, the administrator is also saved the task of maintaining associated software updates and security patches across local computers connected to printers.

Not only does this approach eliminate the problem of using legacy systems that limit the ability for IT or security personnel to track system activity, it also eliminates any capital expenditure requirements for deploying printers as part of a world-class card issuance implementation. Instead, the cloud-based model introduces new economics for card operations, providing the option for resources to be leased and costs bundled into a cloud-based offering.

New economics of cloud-based card issuance

With a cloud-based platform, the entire ID card issuance process can be delivered through a service model billed on an annual or monthly-installment basis – including hardware, software and service.

This approach cuts multiple layers of program costs while making it easier for administrators to scale the card office to accommodate future technology capabilities or changing volume demands. For instance, during periods of peak demand, large batches of cards can be produced and dispatched by commercial printing bureaus.

A service model enables administrators to convert their budget for ID card issuance into an operational expense that could amount to a service fee covering all ribbons, pre-printed cards and mag stripe encoding. This approach diminishes the previous unpredictable ancillary costs associated with owning and managing hardware and software by eliminating costs related to maintaining hardware, inventory, labor, and potentially the capital expenditure related to purchasing printers.

The cloud-based service model can include auto-replacement of cards and other consumables when needed and can deliver all the benefits associated with centralized control and visibility along with distributed or batch printing.

"Administrators who adopt a cloud-based model for their card office know that their operations will be compatible with today’s and tomorrow’s credential technology, including mobile IDs."

Cloud-based card issuance solutions are aware of printer health and maintenance needs, as well as all activity down to the printer level, including the status of consumables. A service provider can, for instance, predict when a printer will run out of a consumable, and drop-ship replacements to the customer when they need them.

Equally important, administrators who adopt a cloud-based model for their card office know that their operations will be compatible with today’s and tomorrow’s credential technology, including mobile IDs. Solutions are generally also compatible with leading card systems.

An example is HID Global’s HID FARGO Connect secure cloud-enabled card issuance system, which is compatible with systems including the CBORD solution for higher education and HID SAFE Enterprise software for managing identities and their access across physical access systems.

While the technology used by card offices had largely remained static, the technology available to most other operations in the enterprise and a university campus has advanced considerably. These advancements are improving how employees are onboarded and are making it easier for university students to seamlessly register for classes online, pay fees and be ready for classes on the first day without waiting in physical lines.

The crucial task of printing and issuing student IDs has now fully caught up with industry advancements, taking the inefficiency and inconvenience out of corporate ID badging, while helping to alleviate the Fall crunch time for university card office administrators. Cloud-based card issuance solutions are giving back both time and money while re-envisioning the way card offices operate.

By Jeff Koziol, business development manager, campus software partner at Allegion

You’ve heard about the mobile movement that’s expected to surge in popularity on higher education campuses across the country. Many have raved about the seamless user experience and the enhanced credential security, but how do you know if mobile is the right solution for your campus? And when is it time to consider the transition?

Three unique schools of different sizes, geographies and security needs share insights about their decisions to transition from magnetic stripe cards to mobile student ID cards. The University of San Francisco, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and the University of Vermont all share their experiences, the value they expect to receive and advice for their peers.

How did your school make the decision to adopt mobile student IDs?

Mark McKenna, Director of the CATcard Service Center at the University of Vermont:

“We were motivated by our own CATcard team to move away from the mag stripe credential. We had been pursuing the contactless chip technology readers for the past year after some misuse of our mag stripe cards. Around that time, the student IDs in Apple Wallet became a possibility. Our new readers were NFC-ready, so it was a no brainer for us. We wanted to go with that added security, and the user convenience was a super bonus.”

Jason Rossi, Director of campus card and security systems at the University of San Francisco:

“We have a comprehensive campus card program just like many universities do, and we like our campus card program. But every campus card program comes with one necessary evil, and that’s the friction of producing cards and getting them to people. There’s a lot of administrative resources involved in that. The mobile credential gives us all of the benefits that we have in our campus card program but removes that one bit of friction.”

Mike Henderson, VolCard technology supervisor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville:

“Students had been requesting a smart phone solution for years. The card office had also been pushing for the solution as it is more secure and will reduce their work load, especially in the fall. We utilized a top down approach and got buy-in from our senior vice chancellor, Chris Cimino. Once we had that support, everything else fell into place.”

Describe the process of transitioning from a physical card to a mobile credential.

McKenna, University of Vermont:

“We worked with CBORD and Apple for three or four months to make the changes required in the CBORD CS Gold system, ironing out the different technology pieces that needed to be put in place. We ran beta testing with about 20 people around campus for another couple months. At that stage in the game, we were feeling confident that everything was working well. We had already moved most of our stuff away from the mag stripe, so it was just validating that the Apple credential worked at the locations that we already converted. We did a lot of beta testing up front and it was probably one of the smoothest beta tests I’ve ever done in 20 years of being in the card industry.”

Informational material for the mobile credential initiative at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Rossi, University of San Francisco:

There were two parts to it: Number one was getting the requisite software in place. Number two was installing new hardware where we didn’t have contactless already or upgrading the firmware on existing contactless hardware. It was technically easy, but due to the volume we were dealing with, it was complex. It was routine to go to several hundreds of readers and do firmware updates, but there were still a lot of them out there to touch.”

Henderson, University of Tennessee, Knoxville:

“As we transitioned from iClass to MIFARE DESFire EV1, we had to replace over 4,000 readers across campus. This change was necessary so the mobile credential and new DESFire card could be accepted by the readers. As the first CBORD school to go live with the Apple solution, we had to work through all of the stopgaps along the way.”

How has the transition to mobile credentials impacted the student experience?

McKenna, University of Vermont

“We have received nothing but positive feedback from our student population, and even our faculty and staff. The students love it for the dining services. They always have their phone with them, so it makes it very easy for them to do their meal transactions or get in and out of their res hall.

"Since launching in mid-October, we have almost 3,000 participants with the program. We have well over 250,000 transactions, with 15% of transactions conducted using a student ID in Apple Wallet.”

Since launching in mid-October, we have almost 3,000 participants with the program. We have well over 250,000 transactions, with 15% of transactions conducted using a student ID in Apple Wallet.”

Henderson, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

“Students are embracing it! Since launching on October 14, we have over 6,600 unique credentials and 500,000 transactions from those patrons.”

What operational benefits do you anticipate?

McKenna, University of Vermont:

“We anticipate our orientation this summer will look a little bit different. In past years, we always requested the photos upfront, printed the IDs and did a distribution. We’re trying to reengineer our orientation process for the summer so that if a student submits a photo, we should be able to ask if they have the iPhone. Students with iPhones have the option of putting it in Apple Wallet. We may still require having at least an ID badge on campus. But instead of printing a $5 chip card, I can print a 50-cent piece of plastic with a student photo on the front.”

 Rossi, University of San Francisco:

“It’s a paradigm shift because we’re changing the entire delivery of the campus card experience into something that’s self-serve. Even if students submitted their photo in advance and we printed it in advance, there were still distribution locations. It’s really changing that process to a bring-your-own-credential model. They login through single sign-on just like they do with every other bit of business on campus. Now the card is simply another one of those online services.”

How has this impacted security?

McKenna, University of Vermont:

“I think there will be less sharing of credentials. People are pretty willing to forfeit their piece of plastic to somebody else to let them get in their res hall or use their meal plan. Letting someone take your thousand-dollar phone or Apple Watch will probably not happen – or it will at least reduce the number of times that happens. When you elect to turn on your Apple credential, we deactivate the chip in the physical card so that it can’t be passed onto somebody else.”

"The biggest benefit we are seeing so far is that students and staff are far less likely to lose their phone or watch. This is also going to allow us in the future to get rid of the mag stripe and barcode from the plastic cards."

Rossi, University of San Francisco:

“We do see this as a way to secure the credential since it is protected by multi-factor authentication, whereas a card is not. The security component was a factor in our decision to use mobile student IDs.”

Henderson, University of Tennessee, Knoxville:

“We feel the mobile credential is very secure. The biggest benefit we are seeing so far is that students and staff are far less likely to lose their phone or watch. Another thing that this is going to allow us to do in the future is get rid of the mag stripe and barcode from the plastic cards.”

Have you received any specific feedback from students, faculty or staff?

McKenna, University of Vermont:

“People love the convenience of it. A lot of people signed up right off the bat. We turned on the website and sent out emails around 8:00 a.m. When I was in dining services, a student told me he had already signed up and used some of the features – that was at 8:05 a.m.”

Rossi, University of San Francisco:

“It’s still new, but we had 100 testers for months prior to the launch. All of the feedback has been positive.”

Henderson, University of Tennessee, Knoxville:

“All of the feedback has been positive. Students and staff are embracing the new technology.”

What advice would you give to other universities considering the adoption of mobile student IDs?

McKenna, University of Vermont:

“If you’re on mag stripe, you have to move someplace. The contactless technology is definitely the direction to go. If you have not been moving away from mag stripe and getting ready for mobile credentials, don’t get blown away by the sticker shock. Part of that is just to get rid of the mag stripe technology, which needs to be done anyways.”

"When getting ready for mobile credentials, don’t get blown away by the sticker shock. Part of that is just to get rid of the mag stripe technology, which needs to be done anyways.”

Rossi, University of San Francisco:

“No two universities look the same. Organizationally, we are very different from each other. Ask pointed questions and see if it will fit your business needs. It may not be for everyone, but it certainly is a fit for USF and our business needs.

For example, we have campuses throughout California. Our year-zero launch has been in our law school, school of education and branch campuses. These groups are extraordinarily difficult to get cards to because their courses could be hundreds of miles away.

The old process to get cards to these locations required students to upload their photo online, and then everything smart stopped there. From that point, a person in San Francisco printed the card on a commercial printer, put it into a FedEx envelope and mailed off to someone else in California. Then it was collected by another person, given to a professor, and then picked up by the student. Talk about friction! Our year-zero launch has the biggest impact operationally and on the student experience. Now the student can self-provision.

"It’s really about looking at one’s own operations and pain points and finding the best tool to address it. For us it’s by far a mobile credential.”

It’s really about looking at one’s own operations and pain points and finding the best tool to address it. For us it’s by far a mobile credential.”

Henderson, University of Tennessee, Knoxville:

“Jump on in. The early adopters have overcome the majority of the start-up issues, so the path is paved for a smooth conversion for any other schools.”

Allegion is excited to help universities across the country achieve frictionless student experiences via contactless student IDs in Apple Wallet. Contact Allegion today to learn more about the company's mobile solutions or speak with an expert about the mobile movement on your campus.

By Brian Marris, Product Manager, Allegion Connected Accessories

From mechanical keys to mobile devices, managing access is an essential piece of campus security. With more campuses exploring mobile credentials, buzz continues to build across the campus card industry. In response, schools are reevaluating their credential platforms alongside locks and other hardware to provide a more secure and convenient campus experience.

Don’t let credentials be the weak link in your campus security strategy or complicate your management of access. When it’s time to evaluate your campus credentials, consider these top three factors to ensure your credential is a strong link in the campus security chain:

Are these credentials secure?

While convenience is often a motivating factor to upgrade, the number one thing to consider is the security of the credential. Encryption is crucial because it protects the data being relayed between the credential and reader. Basically, it takes the string of numbers being communicated from the chip in the credential, shreds it apart, sends it to the reader and puts it back together—like a technologically advanced handshake.

Encryption is crucial. It takes the string of numbers being communicated from the chip in the credential, shreds it apart, sends it to the reader and puts it back together—like a technologically advanced handshake.

It’s important to understand the encryption and frequency before selecting a credential type.

For optimal security, it’s best to choose an option that has high frequency and high encryption, like smart and mobile credential technologies. In addition, for those currently using proximity and magstripe solutions, a transition plan to move to a secure smart or mobile credential should be strongly considered.

Can one credential be used across campus?

Almost as important as security is the interoperability of the credential. Smart and mobile credentials can have limited interoperability depending on the platform selected and may limit the available hardware options. This can be overcome, but it’s important to think about the encryption methodologies and platforms that you choose. One of the first questions you should ask is if the credential platform was built on an industry standard, open technology like NXP, or is it a propriety technology that is exclusive to one or two companies.

Open platforms allow the end user to be the center of the solution and leverage a smart credential to work across different pieces of hardware and with a variety of applications.

Open platforms allow the end user to be the center of the solution and leverage a smart credential to work across different pieces of hardware and with a variety of applications. Closed options are much more restricting. A proprietary solution can lock you in to ordering very specific hardware because the technology isn’t widely known or shared, and therefore cannot be supported. Leveraging an open platform protects your freedom to choose the technologies and manufacturers your college wants to work with – putting security choices and long-term financial independence in your hands.

It is equally important to think beyond access control so the credential can be leveraged for more. Consider all the places around campus where students would benefit from using their campus ID – vending, bookstores, dining and transportation. If the correct technology is chosen, a student can carry one credential to accomplish everything.

Lastly, an open platform provides flexibility as you think about your future. Using an open platform gives a university flexibility to keep, change or add different brands, products and technologies as they become available.

What coordination needs to occur for door access?

When implementing various systems or switching to smart or mobile credentials, it’s important to take into account what others on your campus are doing. With a variety of decision makers across campus, it’s important to assure everyone is on the same page. Implementing one head-end access control system is beneficial. There are integrations that need to occur to ensure all the pieces of the puzzle work seamlessly. Consider all the places around campus where students would benefit from using their campus ID— including the different schools, student housing, printing, transportation and more.

The system, hardware and credential all need to work together. And when you add in other pieces like payment, there’s additional coordination needed. Therefore, it’s important to collaborate with multiple departments across the university before implementing new credentials or other hardware.

Research your options and work with trusted, verified manufacturers or wholesalers. They can help navigate the options in the market to ensure you’re getting an industry-known technology that will meet your college’s security needs.

Reasons to evaluate campus credentials

Upgrading to a smart or mobile solution that’s encrypted is the best defense against stolen information. Mobile is the credential of choice because students are far less likely to loan someone their phone versus their campus ID card.

Interoperability plays a big role. A closed or proprietary solution limits your power to adopt new technologies as they are available in the market.

Preparing for the future also is important. Think about where the campus should be in five and ten years. When it’s time for new hardware, consider products that will allow the school to move from current state to future state. Whether you have mechanical, proximity or smart cards, resist installing hardware that isn’t open to new technologies like mobile. There are a variety of ways to future-proof door hardware so that new technology is easier to adopt, like multi-technology readers and credentials.

Interoperability plays a big role here. A closed or proprietary solution limits your power to adopt new technologies as they are available in the market. Instead, opt for an open product that’s more likely to work with new technological advancements in access control.

Summary

When it’s time to evaluate your campus credentials, remember to think big picture. Some universities want the convenience of a keyless campus and opt for electronic access control and smart credentials at every opening. Other schools might only be able to upgrade high security openings and building perimeter openings at first.

Regardless of your current situation, think about the future. Select solutions that give you the convenience to make security decision based on your campus’s unique needs and evolve as those needs change.

Credential security is essential to campus protection. Partner with an expert who can guide you through the various frequency and encryption options available and recommend solutions that fit your campus’s unique security needs—today and in the future.

By Jeff Koziol, business development manager, Software OEM Partners, Allegion

The evolution from mechanical, to wired, to wireless continues to impact the security industry, and higher education campuses are among the environments benefiting from the flexibility and efficiencies wireless solutions offer. While wired and mechanical solutions have their place on campus, wireless electronic locks complement these to expand the value of electronic security to more openings.

To understand the value, let’s explore the advantages of wireless:

Upgrading hardware is simple

Wireless locks complement existing security solutions and can be tailored to fit varying security needs. Universities of all sizes can upgrade traditionally mechanical doors and extend the value of wireless electronic access control throughout campus. These devices are easy to install, affordable and can overcome architectural limitations where running wire is difficult and costly. They are ideal for interior openings like student rooms, faculty offices, lab spaces and classrooms.

Real-time control improves campus security

As wireless electronic locks are integrated into a campus’s access control system, personnel can configure locks, assign schedules, and access reports and insights that aren’t possible with mechanical locks. Utilizing real-time data and technology allows schools to manage their facilities as well as the staff or occupants inside to make informed, proactive decisions.

Wireless locks are easy to install, affordable and can overcome architectural limitations where running wire is difficult and costly. They're ideal for interior openings like student rooms, faculty offices, lab spaces and classrooms.

In the event of an emergency, a campus can lockdown all or portions of its campus from a centralized location. Wireless devices extend electronic access control to more interior doors, adding an additional layer of protection during a crisis.

Another benefit of wireless locks over mechanical options is universities can instantly activate and deactivate campus ID cards, and the system tracks who has access to areas on campus. There’s no need to worry about mechanical keys floating around. Mechanical key override can still be an option, but facilities can reduce the distribution of those keys to just the campus lock shop and public safety personnel.

Operational cost savings with wireless

Beyond security, electronic credentials reduce the cost and time associated with the traditional rekeying of a mechanical lock. If a student, faculty or staff member loses an ID card it can be deactivated, and a new credential can be issued in minutes versus the hassle of rekeying a mechanical door.

Campuses can often install more wireless locks in the same cost parameters as a wired solution because eliminating the need to run wires to each opening dramatically reduces labor costs.

Also among the advantages to universities is the return on investment. Campuses can often install more wireless locks in the same cost parameters as a wired solution because eliminating the need to run wires to each opening dramatically reduces labor costs. Once installed, maintenance teams can spend less time manually visiting each opening. Instead, schedules can be deployed to lock up buildings, classrooms and other spaces at set times.

Seamless access for students and staff

Students value the conveniences that wireless devices offer, like a single credential for access. While main entrances often use wired hardware, it’s not feasible to hardwire every interior door.

By Hilding Arrehed, Vice President Cloud Services, Physical Access Control, HID Global

Cloud technologies are giving people access through their mobile phones and other devices to a variety of new experiences, while making their environments smarter and more data-driven. The modern campus is now undergoing unprecedented change with the advent of identity- and location-aware building systems, virtual assistants, and “personal IoT” solutions that recognize people and customize how they access buildings and the services and resources they need.

Until now, though, these capabilities could generally only be developed and delivered on a building-by-building or, at most, campus-by-campus basis. This is now changing in three important ways.

First, the adoption of mobile identities is accelerating, with many universities already moving to “mobile-only” access control that integrates multiple applications into a unified mobile experience. Second, an installed base of millions of physical access control system (PACS) readers, controllers, panels and locks worldwide will soon be connected to the cloud and IoT. And third, these systems will also be married with location services capabilities that enable universities to know where people are in a building or on campus.

This trifecta of technological developments provides the opportunity to create a common cloud platform upon which developers can build, deliver and manage innovative and data-driven trusted campus solutions.

Physical access control transformation

It has been estimated that by 2020, 20% of physical access control solutions will be shaped by mobile technology and cloud architectures. Cloud-based platforms will ensure identity-aware, seamless and more consistent service delivery and user experiences while improving how identity solutions are delivered.

For example, bridging biometrics and access control has been challenging in the past, because it requires a trusted platform designed to meet the concerns of accessibility and data protection in a connected environment. These barriers can be addressed through a secured and connected cloud architecture that can remotely manage all readers and users -- including on-boarding, template loading and enrollment activities for supported authentication modes.

Cloud platforms will also provide the backbone for quickly adding complimentary applications like secure print, virtual photo ID and vending, as well as other access control use cases and emerging permission-based transaction capabilities yet to be developed. These platforms also give university administrators greater flexibility to upgrade their security infrastructure, scale it as they grow, improve maintenance and efficiency, and get the most out of their investments. Key among these is a location-services platform that delivers high-value data for a host of new applications and capabilities.

It has been estimated that by 2020, 20% of physical access control solutions will be shaped by mobile technology and cloud architectures.

Another benefit of cloud platforms is the opportunity to adopt new, more flexible subscription models, such as enabling easier replenishment of mobile IDs when smartphones are lost or need replacing.

Subscription models will make it easier for universities to issue and manage IDs for accessing buildings and services across the campus, and they have the potential to further streamline forecasting, budgeting and reporting while pushing mobile credentials from a product-based model to more of a service-based approach. Mobile ID subscription licenses can be transferred across the university’s students, staff and faculty, all while provide administrators with an opportunity to register multiple mobile IDs across multiple devices without incurring additional cost.

Universities are already using cloud technologies for ID card issuance, using platforms that give them the option for hardware, software and other resources to be leased and their costs bundled into a service offering billed on an annual or monthly basis. This service model cuts multiple layers of program costs and improves user convenience for requesting and receiving their ID cards. This also making it easier for administrators to scale the card office to accommodate future technology capabilities or changing volume demands.

Cloud-based access control will be accompanied by simplified development environments that are designed for easy integration into vertical solutions. This will fuel innovation and a new way to look at university design as the convenience of mobile apps is married to the power of data analytics -- from both location services and access control devices connected throughout the campus. The result will be more intuitive and seamless service delivery, better workflow planning, regulatory compliance, remote hardware configuration, and predictive access control system maintenance capabilities.

Enabling a new chapter in university access control

Millions of installed physical access control devices are already poised to form a global cloud platform for trusted workplace innovation. These devices need only be connected to the cloud and supported by software developer kits (SDKs) and open application programming interfaces (APIs).

To enable these connections to cloud-based services, IoT functionality will be embedded in access control panels as app extensions. With these IoT connections, access control systems will deliver real-time data to the cloud, which will facilitate remote diagnostics and a more predictive approach to system maintenance to help protect against emerging vulnerabilities.

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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

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

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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.

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