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Duke University moves to electronic access

Duke students will soon be able to tap instead of swipe into residence halls thanks to a collaboration between the university’s Office of Information Technology and Housing, Dining and Residential Life. The move is part of a larger initiative at Duke that will see electronic access implemented at all residence halls and dorm rooms.

Per a report from the Duke Chronicle, all dorms on Duke’s East Campus are currently being outfitted with new electronic entry systems that enable students to gain access by tapping their DukeCard to the card reader. One of the residence halls included in the initiative will also install electronic dorm room door locks, replacing metal keys. That residence hall will serve as a pilot for electronic room locks, with a view to eventually implement electronic dorm room access at all campus dorm rooms. It will be the first dorm on Duke’s campus to employ electronic access on room doors.

There are also plans to expand electronic access to other parts of the Duke campus over the coming five to six years. University officials say that any location where the DukeCard is currently swiped will be included in the overhaul.

“With this technology, all transactions are encrypted, whether for door access, vending, laundry or dining sales. It’s fast and secure,” said Debbie DeYulia, director of program management at Duke’s Office of Information Technology, in a statement to the Chronicle.

From a safety and security standpoint, university officials hail electronic access for its ability to from a central location, lock all doors on campus, including academic building doors.

Down the line, Duke is also considering access alternatives independent of the DukeCard altogether, including mobile devices and wearables. “We are paving the way for even more options such as mobile apps and wearable credentials like waterproof bracelets,” DeYulia added.

The new DukeCards that will be issued as part of the new access control initiative will maintain the current design but will feature the addition of an embedded chip. The university will be issuing multi-technology credentials for now, keeping the magnetic stripe that Duke has long maintained. There are plans longer term to phase out the magnetic stripe.

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