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Illinois State redesigns student ID card

Andrew Hudson   ||   Jul 31, 2020  ||   

Illinois State University is revamping its student ID card, the Redbird Card, with a new design aesthetic and enhanced technology. The major component of the revamp will be the university's move to smart card technology that will leave behind legacy mag stripe and proximity protocols being used throughout campus.

According to an official university release, the new changes to the Redbird Card will incorporate smart card technology that will provide the Illinois State community with several new benefits, including improved customer experience, overall cost savings, increased security and room for future growth.

The Redbird Card Office recognized the need incorporate more advanced and secure card technology and collaborated with a number of fellow campus offices to implement the new changes. University marketing and communications were tasked with creating several mock ups for the new card aesthetic. The designs were presented to all faculty, staff, and students in a survey, enabling the campus community to have input on the Redbird Card's new look.

On the technical side, several campus departments worked together to improve the security and software that interacts with the card. The new Redbird Card will be used for electronic door access across campus, consolidating access control from previous card technologies.

For physical access, ISU's facilities management collaborated with university police, emergency management, and environmental health and safety to strategize and improve electronic door access on campus. Software systems, equipment, and other technologies that interact with the new smart Redbird Card were coordinated with the university's technology solutions and facilities management departments.

Door access reader replacements were already underway across campus prior to the ID card change, so the university is first replacing cards for students who had previously been using electronic door access via a FOB, magstripe or proximity technology. These cardholders will need the new card beginning August 1.

The Redbird Card Office is employing a phased approach to re-carding its entire campus community. Understandably, the COVID-19 pandemic has created additional challenges for the card office as it looks to capture student photos, and then create and distribute the 24,000 credentials to students, faculty and staff.

To accommodate the new campus environment and virus-related challenges, card distribution will be spread out over a 6-12 month timeframe. The Redbird Card Office is also providing students with an online photo submission system to assist with credential provisioning.

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