Identify the trends

Serra Luck from HID Global looks at the trends affecting the deployment and management of student ID cards in higher education

Educational institutions have evolved in their requirements and adoption of technology as they continually aim to satisfy the growing demands of a very technology savvy group of consumers: students. On the agenda of every campus office is leveraging the capabilities of a student card for everyday applications in order to provide convenience not only on campus but also off campus, while keeping the campus safe in as cost-effective a manner as possible. Key trends are affecting the deployment and management of student ID cards in higher education, ranging from a single student ID card allowing access to multiple universities, to using student ID cards as a digital signature to enhance security and protect learning assets.

Firstly, a rising trend in the European Union is ‘Learning Mobility’, whereby students can undertake their studies in more than one university. This entails either going abroad or to universities within Europe and has been driven by recent initiatives such EU ministers agreeing on doubling the proportion of students studying abroad to 20% by 2020. As a result, having a single ID card solution that can be used across multiple universities is vital.

Secondly, the use of mobile access is also gaining traction by using a smartphone as an alternative or complement to traditional contactless smart cards. The Arizona State University (ASU) mobile access pilot undertaken by HID Global was very successful and enabled smartphones to carry secure digital keys. Students found this to be very convenient and the pilot provided the University a streamlined ID card management process. Also increasing in popularity is the use of student ID cards off campus to provide enhanced convenience. For example, using campus cards across different university facilities in multiple countries or using the student ID card as a debit card. Campus cards can also be used for public transport to avoid additional ticketing.

From an operational and logistical viewpoint, having an efficient photo ID badging process that can be used both as a student university ID badge and also as an International Student Identity Card (ISIC) is increasingly important. Today, student cards are issued either via a centralised or decentralised process depending on the country. A decentralised card issuance process enables flexibility and efficiency for high volume card issuance to students every year. An increasing requirement is field-upgradable printers that can constantly meet evolving needs.

For secure management of visitors, an upward trend is to have access cards for visitors that can be managed, monitored and audited regularly, and activated and deactivated as necessary via a visitor management system.

As universities expand, another important trend is the drive for universities to make it possible for students to use their ID cards to access both old and new buildings or easily use the card from one university campus to another. The access control system and its access control devices (readers and badges) should therefore support the use of one campus card that is interoperable, highly adaptable and part of an open, standards-based access control platform.

Student ID cards are being used as digital signatures solution to enhance security and protect learning assets. This is both time- and cost-efficient as it replaces slow and expensive paper-based approval and signing processes with fast, low-cost and fully digital solutions. Digital signatures can be stored securely on smart campus cards and can be used by staff members or students to digitally sign important documents such as examination and lab results.

These trends are expected to gather momentum as higher education institutions continue to focus on facilitating convenience that enable students, staff and faculty to access multiple applications without compromising security.

Serra Luck is Director of End User and Consultant Business EMEA, at HID Global.

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