Published May 2020
Whether you turned a brass key or swiped a plastic card to access your college residence hall, it’s safe to say that today’s campus experience is unlike anything we’ve encountered. Why? The evolution of technology continues to improve the campus card’s capabilities, making students and staff more efficient than ever before.
New technologies have brought the industry more secure and convenient solutions, and new use-cases emerge each year that make routines exceedingly seamless. We’ve seen this with the rise of mobile credentials, sophisticated one-card solutions and flexible systems that allow it to all work together.
From mobile credential advancements to open technologies, Koziol shares his expectations and outlook for the industry
At NACCU 2019, we heard a lot about mobile credentials, but this year it’s genuinely here. Last year, there were three to five institutions that had moved in the direction of mobile. It was still relatively new. Today, there are nearly 20 campuses that have implemented mobile credentials. It’s become real for our industry. There’s headway on the iOS front, there’s headway on the Android front. I think the market is ready for campuses to start moving to mobile in mass.
There’s also a lot of buzz right now around interoperability. For example, the LEAF Consortium, which is an association of partner entities intent on bringing interoperability to the access control and identity credentials market and beyond. Allegion is one of several members that are part of that consortium to make credentials more open and less proprietary.
I think there are two main areas of advancement. The first is the mobile ecosystem and the achievements that have enabled us to do more with existing infrastructure, like wall readers, wireless locks and other devices. Making those work in the mobile ecosystem is huge.
Second would be our industry’s increasing focus on open credentials. Not only are we making interoperability more attainable, but we’re also educating campuses on how to avoid moving down a proprietary path that could limit their hardware options. I expect we will see more trends and innovations that make sure that campuses are using secured credentials that will also keep their options open—things like smart credentials that can be shared, initiatives like the LEAF Consortium and custom keys for universities.
There shouldn’t be; you can have both. I think that’s the great thing about where we’re at now, especially now that we’ve moved into the mobile world. It’s no longer sacrificing security for convenience or vice versa. Now you can have the best of both worlds.
I’ve been waiting for the industry to get to a place where campus IDs are secure, open and easy to administer and provide a frictionless user experience. In a way, it feels like the end game is here. Of course, there will always be advancements and enhancements in technology.
Going beyond campus cards to look at general access control topics, I think we will see more adoption of access control beyond the exterior of buildings. It has proven to be valuable on interior doors. On campus, that means student rooms in your residence hall. It’s offices in a faculty building. Lab spaces in an academic building. There are probably about 10 to 15 times more interior openings to secure compared to exterior openings. And to do that might require a campus to get creative with the technology they are considering, like wireless locks.
As wireless adoption increases, one of the things that excites me most is that there are different architectures that don’t require access control panels. This brings down the costs and removes obstacles that might have limited full adoption of access control on exterior and interior openings.
It’s already happening now. People want more card-read range and security. NXP has come out with MIFARE® DESFire® EV2, which has a feature set that allows for a greater card-read distance that meets today’s expectations in the market place. It also allows for the rolling of keys.
I think to be successful, companies will need to help their customers transition to the new technology with little interruption. That’s always the challenge in this industry—as technology evolves, trying to take advantage of it while trying to leverage the existing hardware that’s out there. Future-proofing credentials and access control solutions will be key to making technology evolutions relatively painless to the end user.
My advice to schools is to avoid the proprietary path. There are great options that keep you open. Talk to your peers in both courts—those with closed, proprietary solutions and those using open credentials. See what they like and dislike about their choices. Know the pros and cons of what you’re getting yourself into. Know how your credential choice can impact future decisions as you roll out ID technology on your campus.