A column written by Ryan Goh, VP and GM of Zebra Technologies Asia-Pacific, discusses the advantages of smart card credentials in the higher ed sector. The column for eGov Innovation provides a basic understanding of smart card technology, how it works, as well as how the technology can be used to boost campus security and student services.
Goh lists his six primary features of smart card technology:
1. Student, staff and visitor management
Visitor management may seem like an issue only for K-12 facilities, but college campuses are an open environment, making it difficult to monitor activity. University security departments must know who is on the campus at all times. The first step is to strictly enforce visitor sign-in and issue the visitor a temporary RFID-enabled ID that features track-and-trace technologies. Upon sign-in, school visitor software can also determine if the visitor is wanted by law enforcement or registered in the sex offender database—creating a path back into law enforcement.
2. Access control for secure buildings or rooms
RFID-enabled smart cards present the optimal solution for not only visitor management but access control for all people, campus-wide. Issuing a smart ID card to all faculty, students, staff, and visitors allow security departments to control who has access. Campuses can improve dorm safety, secure labs with high-value equipment, and ensure research departments performing specialized projects only provide access to those with the right credentials.
3. Time and attendance tracking
RFID-enabled ID badges replace the manual attendance tracking that faculty typically perform for each class session and for each student. With RFID-enabled plastic card personalization and integration of digital photo identification solutions, schools can move from a handwritten to an automated approach. Smart access card solutions deliver a new level of accountability and enforcement that can help reduce the number of tardies.
4. Streamline library access and inventory management
Campus libraries, printers and copy rooms should remain exclusive to students. With RFID card readers at the door, students entering the library or copy room can use their student ID to gain access. Students can then check out books automatically, with all information recorded and loaded into the student database.
5. Electronic payment for food, beverages and bookstores
While on campus, students can load their cards with meal credits, allowing them to use their IDs like a debit card at vending machines and in dining halls. Smart cards are also suited to a pre-paid spending account that students can use to make purchases at student stores and food service locations, as well as at school events.
6. Expand off-campus affiliate programs
The large student populations at universities and college campuses fill the surrounding community with a captive consumer audience. Smart ID cards bring the campus and community together to generate value-added opportunities for local stores, restaurants and service providers. Students can use their cards on or off campus and accrue credits and incentives for further purchases.
See the full column for a more detailed description of Goh’s six smart card features.