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University Campus Card To Use Biometrics

From CardTechnology.com – In perhaps the first university chip card project of its kind, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals in Saudi Arabia plans to control access to its 900-acre campus with biometrics.

The university plans to store digitized fingerprints on the chip cards, which it plans to start rolling out to 20,000 students, staff and visitors before the end of the year, says Netherlands-based Bell ID, the main technology vendor on the project. The university deemed the security of conventional photo ID cards insufficient because many of the cardholders would be members of the same tribe, who bear a strong resemblance, explains Michael Westermann, account manager on the project for Bell ID.

The cards will tighten access to 28 buildings on the university’s campus in Dhahran. Cardholders will also be able to use the cards as a closed electronic-purse in cafeterias and vending machines and as ID at the campus medical center and library. The university is considering adding applications, such as digital certificates to secure network access and, perhaps, an “open” e-purse that could also be used off-campus, says Westermann.

For the additional applications, the cards would likely use dual-interface chips, which can run in either contactless or contact modes, the latter requiring the cards to be inserted into a reader. The school also wants to be able to add applications to cards already issued, which is a main reason it is using Bell ID’s ANDiS card-management system, Westermann says.

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