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NACCU conference spotlights trends and new options for campus card systems

The Annual Conference of the National Association of Campus Card Users (NACCU) was a great event and a great opportunity to spot trends and changes in the campus card industry. In the following paragraphs, a number of these developments and observations from the event held early this month in San Antonio are highlighted. Look for more detailed review of many of these items in coming issues of CR80News.

Student Advantage is back

The President and CEO of Student Advantage, Ray Sozzi, succeeded in his efforts to buy back the company from the stockholders and is returning Student Advantage to its roots. The ‘new’ Student Advantage will refocus on its original product, a membership program targeted at students providing discounts at a nationwide network of merchants. In the past, it seemed that nearly every restaurant in a college town had Student Advantage window stickers announcing their participation in the program. But in recent years, the pressure of the public market and the drive to build more moved the company in a variety of other directions. The opportunity for campus card programs to offer Student Advantage memberships to students at the point of card issuance could provide a financial lift to cash-strapped card programs.

New payment system architecture from IDFunds(TM)

Campus card pioneer Bill Norwood’s company HDO Card Systems announced an innovative new payment product called IDFunds(TM). The product will enable a campus’ existing ISO number to be added to the global financial transaction networks, thus adding ATM and debit card functionality to card programs without the need to recard or enter a traditional bank partnership.   IDFunds(TM) also enables funds to be segregated into separate accounts to enable specific transactions to pull from dedicated pools of money (e.g. dining account, bookstore account, open account).

Renewed bank interest in campus card programs

The renewed interest in bank partnerships was again evident at this year’s event with a number of institutions-including USBank, Wells Fargo, PNC, Wachovia, TCF, Penn Security, and HigherOne-all in attendance.   USBank’s Whitney Bright gave a great presentation on how campuses should approach banking partnerships. Wells Fargo brought their big red bus to showcase the mobile training facilities and explain how the bus with a dozen wirelessly connected workstations can serve as an account enrollment facility during orientation or recarding events.

Riding this renewed wave of interest, the CR80News Team is excited to announce a new feature beginning in April – The Banking Corner sponsored by U.S. Bank. This informative, unbiased look at the world of card-related financial services is sure to become a reader-favorite.

Handhelds and wireless are hot topics

As we discussed in the February issue of CR80News, handheld devices are a hot topic on campus and were a major focus at the conference.   Companies including Sequoia, Vision Database, Tokenworks, General Meters, and Blackboard all demonstrated their applications running on handheld computers or PDAs with integrated card readers. These devices are available to read magnetic stripes, barcodes, 2D barcodes, smart cards, proximity cards, and contactless smart cards.   Biometric versions are also available. The ability to use these devices to collect and store data was showcased as was the ability to communicate directly with host systems using a campus’ wireless network.

Smart cards beginning to regain their footing

After several years of struggle, smart cards were once again a topic of conversation.   Several companies including SmartCentric, ITC Systems, and Ingenico/Debitek showcased a range of new software applications and readers that rely on smart card technology.   With the massive commitment of the federal government and many of its agencies to smart card technology, the technology is becoming more cost effective and the application suites more comprehensive.

Biometric access control is big

There was a great deal of discussion about biometric technologies, particularly as it relates to controlling access to recreation facilities on campus. A number of campuses-including Johnston and Wales, University of Georgia, and Emory University-described their experiences during a very strong panel discussion.

IP Addressable readers are hot

Everyone, it seemed, used the forum to showcase their IP addressable card readers. Blackboard, CBORD, and Diebold all described their TCP/IP communicating devices during their corporate presentation while a number of additional companies showcased the devices in the exhibit hall.

Wireless communications for security and access readers

A company called Wyreless Access showcased its ability to connect an access control reader to a security system via wireless communication.   The relevance of this is the simplification of the installation process in locations that are not conducive to hardwiring.   As an example, a parking gate controller connected via a Wyreless Access device can be hooked up to a system in just minutes-eliminating the need to dig a trench through the parking lot and disrupt the surrounding area.

Contactless technology replacing mag and prox for access control

Until very recently, magnetic stripes and proximity cards were the only real technologies used for access control on campuses. But several campuses have made the move to the more advanced contactless technology in recent months and several other major universities spoke of their pending implementations of the technology. Proximity card leader HID is leading the way into the next generation of access control technology with its iClass contactless cards and readers.   Expect to see a solid number of iClass-enabled campuses by Fall of this year.

The Trinity University Tour Draws Largest Attendance in NACCU history

The NACCU conference, held in San Antonio, TX on March 12-17, included a tour to Trinity University enabling attendees to experience first-hand a robust installation of CBORD’s campus card solution.   The tour pulled in a record number of attendees this year and was, by all accounts, an outstanding success.  

Jerry Ferguson, Director Card Services for Trinity University, hosted the tour.   Trinity staff got the opportunity to show off their campus and highlight their services to a large number of college & university administrators from across the globe.  

The tour was broken into groups each led by members of the Trinity staff and accompanied by CBORD personnel.   Throughout the tour, guests were given the opportunity to review the CBORD Odyssey PCS Campus-wide card system in all venues of the campus, including; dining, laundry, on-line vending, BEST door access, bookstore, Kinko’s Paw Prints Store running Pharos UnipriNT, JSA Technology’s WebVTS, the DataCard ID Works system, ValuePort stations, the Tigers Den Pub and the C3 convenience store.   Tour guests also received a “Put your Paws on this” TigerBucks shirt compliments of Trinity University.

Trinity University is home to some 2700 students and is situated on more than 117 acres in San Antonio.   Utilizing the CBORD Odyssey PCS system, Trinity students use their TigerBucks and TigerCub cards across the entire campus for all their daily account transaction needs.  

Trinity converted to the CBORD system in June, 2000 and has continued to add functionality over the years.   “CBORD has continued to provide us with exceptional technical support throughout our rapid growth process. The technical support staff is tenacious to the point of being unwilling to give up until a problem is solved to our satisfaction. They listen attentively to our needs and strive hard to meet them. We value the partnership with the CBORD group,” says Jerry Ferguson.
For more information on the CBORD Group, Inc., headquartered in Ithaca, New York, visit www.cbord.com or www.gotmycard.com .

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