Tulane University and Quinnipiac University are piloting a complete near field communication system on campus. The Blackboard Transact system uses NFC-enabled Android handsets and students can use the devices for physical access control, payments at the point-of-sale, vending, laundry, copying and printing.
The pilot is using Samsung Galaxy S3 handsets that are being provisioned over the air using a trusted service manager, says Dan Gretz, senior director at Blackboard. Blackboard is working with one of the largest mobile carriers in the U.S., which the company has declined to name.
Tulane and Quinnipiac were chosen for the pilot because of the large installed base of contactless readers. Blackboard’s contactless readers are capable of working with standard contactless cards as well as NFC-enabled devices. “It’s not just about door access, it’s about using the mobile for everything,” Gretz says. “It really covers the entire campus ecosystem.”
Pilot participants have to swap out their device’s existing SIM with one enabled for NFC, Gretz says. These SIMs are available at the campus card offices and are activated with a call to the mobile provider. The student then logs into the Blackboard Transact system on their mobile and the credential is downloaded to the device.