Spring launch to mark culmination of multi-year process to chart course and deploy necessary devices
This spring a campus-wide rollout of mobile credentials is planned for Iowa’s Drake University. The incoming first-year class will be the first not to receive a physical card.
Drake’s existing campus card partner Transact is providing the mobile credential technology. As with other Transact programs, the Drake IDs will reside in the Apple Wallet on iPhones and Apple Watches or the Google Wallet on Android phones and watches.
Transact acted as the mediator between Drake and Apple, so we have not had to directly engage with Apple at a corporate level
Drake students are accustomed to using Transact’s eAccounts app to manage their card-based accounts and services, so using the app to add their mobile credential should be an easy addition.
Jeff Regan, Drake’s project manager for the rollout told the Times Delphic the virtual ID will work everywhere the physical cards work now, including doors, printers, dining, the Bulldogs Bucks program, and even Starbucks.
Because of the experience at other campuses across the country, Transact was able to guide Drake through the development process with Apple, Regan says. “(They) acted as the mediator between Drake and Apple, so we have not had to directly engage with them at a corporate level.”
Transact required the mobile credentials to be tested on at least 1% of the campus population, but Drake project management expanded this to a two-month test with 200 people.
Discussions about the move to mobile began between the Drake team and Transact several years ago, but the real process began in spring 2023 after the project was approved by the President’s Council.
Still, because key campus stakeholders understood mobile credential was the end goal, they began preparing for its launch years ago. As new or replacement devices were purchased, they selected readers that would support the next gen ID.
“Printing physical cards and supporting card printing software and machines is going away,” Regan says. “We expect to see an improvement from a user experience perspective of getting an ID.”
The comment that ‘students will leave home without their ID card but will never forget their phone’ has been overused to the point of becoming trite. But Drake’s director of public safety, Scott Law, put an original spin on it.
“We have fire alarms at two o’clock in the morning. You’ll see students out there with their cell phone and a towel, but they may not have anything else with them,” he says. “So I think this is a huge step.”