Campus credential and commerce solution provider, TouchNet, has been busy in the mobile ID realm of late, building an exciting new mobile app called 360u. The next generation of TouchNet’s OneCard mobile app, 360u is a significant step toward a campus mobile app that combines mobile ID with event access and the ability to purchase campus services all from a single interface.
“The aim of 360u is to bring all of our campuswide services into a single app platform and experience,” says Ryan Audus, Senior Director, Product Strategy for TouchNet. “We see the 360u app as the front door to TouchNet in the future.”
“A lot of the features built into this first version of the app are centered around our OneCard product stack,” explains Audus. “Moving forward, we anticipate bringing in other functionality like bill payment, shopping cart capability, and partner services.”
Currently, 360u offers the ability to view the student ID and provision credentials for door access using NFC or Bluetooth. “There’s also declining balance capabilities, so as you add funds to your closed-loop account on campus you can use 360u to make copies, pay for vending and laundry, and get dining hall access,” says Audus.
“A lot of the features built into this first version of the app are centered around our OneCard product stack. Moving forward, we anticipate bringing in bill payment, shopping cart capability, and partner services.”
Other core features of the 360u app include notification capabilities that students can subscribe to, as well as campus navigation and wayfinding.
“While using your meal plan on campus, if declining balance funds reach low levels you can be notified of those statuses,” says Audus. “Students and staff also have the ability to add more funds directly through 360u.”
Campus mobile apps aren’t a new concept. Universities have long provided campus communities with mobile apps that cover the basics, like events calendars, dining hall menus, directories, and campus maps. But these apps traditionally lacked the functionality and features that made consistent use worthwhile.
“One of the challenges that universities have had was creating the drive and desire to entice students and other campus constituents to use the campus mobile app,” explains Audus.
With the addition of more utility for students, TouchNet views 360u as the proper, all-encompassing campus mobile app.
“One of the challenges that universities have had was creating the drive and desire to entice students and other campus constituents to use the campus mobile app."
“Payments and access control with the student ID, and eventually the ability to make tuition payments, will drive more people to want to use the app,” he adds. “From there, we will add more ancillary campus services that enhance the overall campus experience.”
The inclusion of mobile ID capabilities, whether NFC or Bluetooth Low Energy, could be the missing piece of the campus app puzzle. “We’re embracing those technologies in our development,” says Audus. “By including the mobile ID in the app, you can leverage the capabilities around NFC or BLE.”
TouchNet piloted the new 360u offering with four universities that will represent the initial rollout group. “Our existing OneCard mobile app campuses will also have access to 360u after launch, as 360u will be an upgrade to the current app,” says Audus.
If the campus already has the previous mobile app as part of OneCard, they will move up to the 360u mobile app. “It’ll be a solution update for the campus and for students it’s simply downloading the new 360u app,” says Audus.
With every discussion of mobile ID comes the inevitable question: Where does the plastic card fit in? It seems the answer is becoming clearer.
“I would see this as a replacement of the plastic credential, particularly when you can pair the app with access control and payments,” says Audus. “The direction we need to go on campus is towards a digital or mobile ID and phase out the plastic ID. When you look at where we’re going generally as consumers – boarding passes, driver’s licenses, etc. – I think this is the beginning of the phase out process.”
Moving away from the plastic credential only makes sense if the mobile ID can offer use-case ubiquity with the tried-and-true card.
“I would see this as a replacement of the plastic credential, particularly when you can pair the app with access control and payments. The direction we need to go on campus is towards a digital or mobile ID."
“We are going for feature parity between the mobile ID and the plastic card,” says Audus. “It’s a two-way street, and we see 360u as providing a full credential use case, but where the mobile ID is actually accepted will be determined by the campus’ infrastructure.”
As for provisioning, TouchNet is offering flexibility to campuses as they move toward mobile ID.
“We can deliver the mobile ID, and have it operate as a plastic credential, as long as you have the fundamentals of TouchNet OneCard on campus,” says Audus. “It can live in the wallet, in the campus’ existing campus app, or in 360u.”
Ultimately, the role of 360u in TouchNet’s portfolio stamps a clear message to universities: mobile ID is here and TouchNet is ready to provide a solution.
“We see 360u as a relaunch of our mobile experience and a further step toward providing the mobile ID experience,” says Audus. “We can meet you wherever you are on your mobile journey.”
Check out a demo of 360u in a free webinar on Wednesday, Dec. 9 at 2pm EST. Click here to register.