Transact Campus Inc. has won the 2020 NFC Forum Innovation Award for the Best-In-Market NFC Implementation for the Transact Mobile Credential solution. The NFC Forum is the global standards-body for Near Field Communication (NFC) technology and its Innovation Awards recognize the development, deployment and use of state-of-the-art NFC products, services and applications worldwide.
One of 15 finalists selected from 90 entries across five categories, Transact was selected for its Mobile Credential was awarded for NFC-based student IDs natively in Apple Wallet and Google Pay. The company was recognized during an online awards ceremony on September 30, 2020.
“We’re thrilled to receive this NFC Forum award recognizing our decade-long journey to evangelize the benefits of NFC and showcase its power and utility through our first-of-its-kind Mobile Credential,” says Jeff Staples, Senior Vice President, Market Development at Transact. “Our mission continues to empower our clients to transform the student experience, and our NFC-enabled mobile student ID has been a game changer for them. Our clients have been with us every step of the way on this innovation and we share this recognition with them.”
“We’ve proven to ourselves, and the larger market, that these things are difficult to execute. It requires a strategy, commitment to that strategy and delivering a complete solution to our campuses.”
Transact is the first and only campus credential provider to offer native NFC mobile IDs in both Apple Wallet and Google Pay. Transact Mobile Credential can help campuses minimize lines and crowds to adhere to new social distancing requirements, and enables students to conduct transactions with their student IDs on their smartphones for retail, dining, laundry, vending, and ticketing, plus contactless access control to residence halls and campus buildings.
Transact Mobile Credential is also supported on all NFC-enabled Transact-manufactured reader hardware and third-party access control, vending, and printing readers that support NFC.
Moving forward with Transact Mobile Credential
The NFC Forum win for Transact marks the second cross-market recognition for the company this year, following a CNP Award win in June for best e-commerce platform. Both awards pitted Transact Campus against companies from a broad range of other verticals beyond higher education.
The awards are well merited, because when it comes to provisioning private-label, closed-loop credentials in Apple Wallet or Google Pay, Transact is navigating relatively uncharted waters.
“The Portland, Oregon transit system was the only other body – aside from Transact Mobile Credential – that was issuing credentials in both the Apple and Samsung wallets,” says Dan Gretz, Senior Director at Transact and leader of Transact’s Innovation Practice. “Even on a global scale, there’s still not many doing what we’re doing. We really are out in front in that respect.”
“We’ve proven to ourselves, and the larger market, that these things are difficult to execute,” adds Gretz. “It requires a strategy, commitment to that strategy and delivering a complete solution to our campuses.”
“While every other department on campus was left scrambling to adapt to new protocols, the card office felt well prepared because it could remotely provision student credentials. While other departments were preparing, the card office was executing.”
Word has travelled fast about Transact Mobile Credential and the experience that campuses are able to create with it. “What we’ve seen over the last several months is a huge spike in demand, and we’re continually working to make it easier for campuses to go live sooner than before,” says Transact’s Staples. “We’re working to get creative in how we solve for all the campus use cases over time, and clear a path for more rapid adoption.”
“NFC and Mobile Credential have been huge initiatives for us, but there’s no finish to this. We have many clients still using physical cards, so this is really just the beginning,” adds Staples. “This is a continuum, we’re constantly looking for new ways to improve the student experience, the response time, and delivering the right service to the right users at the right time.”
The profile of campuses deploying Transact Mobile Credential is also evolving, with greater representation across the board, ranging from small private liberal arts schools, to the largest state institutions and everything in between. It’s a trend that Transact is eager to expand upon.
“One thing you’ll see soon is a pathway and approach that enables a wider swathe of institutions to implement Mobile Credential more quickly,” says Gretz. “This acceleration makes sense in normal times, but now with COVID-19 it’s imperative for us to help our schools deliver a safer transaction experience for students.”
“The biggest thing for us hasn’t been the technology, but the campus and student experience. It’s the realization of that experience that has been the real win.”
Feedback from the University of Alabama, where the back to school experience this year — as with every other university — was unique, offered some valuable context.
“The onboarding for students this summer was like no other time in our history. Where campuses would typically have an in-person experience, that suddenly morphed into a virtual one almost overnight,” says Gretz. “The message from the Alabama card office was that while every other department on campus was left scrambling to adapt to new protocols, the card office felt well prepared thanks to the ability to remotely provision student credentials. While other departments were preparing, the card office was executing.”
Industry awards are rightly a source of pride for their recipients, but just as valuable in Transact’s case is the tangible recognition of a vision that the company set long ago.
“One of our key decisions with NFC was to make deep investments in a long-term process, because we believed this technology would help us to best serve our clients,” says Staples. “Sometimes these decisions bear fruit quickly, but sometimes it requires consistent investment, patience, and staying true to plan.”
“The biggest thing for us hasn’t just been the technology, but also the campus and student experience,” adds Staples. “It’s the realization of that experience that has been the real win.”