ID Cards Aren’t Just for Access Control Any More

The use of credentials at institutions of higher learning is expanding to include cafeteria privileges, library services, debit, transportation, printing and more. Eventually, campuses might do away with ID cards and use cell phone technology instead.

More community and private schools than others have their one-card systems integrated on the same platform as their access control systems. Public schools are more likely to have multiple access control systems with some being integrated; others not. Schools in urban areas are more likely than those in rural areas to have integrated systems.

Although additional features are available, use is inconsistent from student to student and college to college. However, students report there are three consistent unfulfilled needs that exist for one-card use. First of all, students typically would like their one card to replace ATM and drivers licenses to reduce the number of things they need to carry. They want to use their one-card as a debit card and proof of date of birth. Lastly, they consistently want to use it for retailer discounts. (See fig. 4 and 5)

Cell Phones Wanted for Credentials
There are a great number of early adopters in the college population who are already sold on cell phones being used as a credential, just like they were sold on the use of smart cards and biometrics previously. Nearly half of all students identify their cell phones as their favorite personal electronic device. It too is their “everything.”  Indeed, 91% of all mobile users keep their phones within arm’s length day and night.

Already, nearly half of all students are using cell phone apps. Campus apps include managing class work, checking grades, communicating with their professors, and receiving notifications and alerts. They are also using cell phone apps for the bookstore, bus schedule, maps and townie discounts.
Additionally, when it comes to credentials, two-thirds are interested in using their phone in place of an ID card. Why? They feel they are less like
ly to lose their phone than an ID card, plus they know that ID cards are shared; phones aren’t. 

The day when cell phones are used as credentials is not that far off as students’ desires for using a mobile device rather than an ID card ties in nicely with the budding discussion of near field communication (NFC), which will inevitably end up on cell phones. No Visa card; no MasterCard…only their cell phone will be needed for cashless payments or to show their identities. The smart card would be in the cell phone.

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