Products & Solutions
- Services & Support
- Contact Us
- Learning Center
by David Stallsmith, Director of Product Management, ColorID
Universities in the United States and Canada are very familiar with one-card systems for closed-loop payment and access services based on official ID cards. What are the international trends in credentials that could affect universities in North America in the near future?
One-card systems are more commonly employed by universities throughout the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, than by universities in other parts of the world. Eugene McKenna of the Waterford Institute of Technology in Ireland was one of the founders of the European Campus Card Association (ECCA) in 2002, patterned after the North American Campus Card Association (NACCU). WIT has one of the most comprehensive one-card systems in Europe and has won EU funding to develop the European Education Connectivity Solution, a system that would enable a student ID to be used interoperably at universities across Europe. Universities in Sweden, Austria and Hungary have also developed their own one-card systems for a variety of applications. In other countries, where student ID cards also serve as banking cards and national IDs, one-card systems have usually been independently developed on an as-needed basis.
Card technologies for access control (opening doors) vary somewhat by location. In North America, the older prox technology by HID is still prevalent, though it is quickly being replaced by HID’s newer iCLASS contactless smart card product line. Throughout most of the rest of the world, cards based on the NXP MIFARE family of contactless chips have predominated for access control. MIFARE DESFire EV1 cards, the latest version of MIFARE, are typically used in systems that take advantage of the full security offered by the newer chip. Coincidentally, cards with MIFARE chips are becoming popular in cards used by schools in North America. Legic is a Swiss maker of contactless smart cards and readers used by European schools that has yet to gain
much traction in North America.
MIFARE cards were originally designed for public transit fare collection applications and are still used throughout the world for this purpose today. Schools in North America that would like to use their student IDs on the local transit system often find they must add a MIFARE chip to their cards.
EMV – CHIP AND PIN
For general payments, cards with mag stripes are by far the most convenient and inexpensive credentials available. More than 1 trillion mag stripe cards are estimated to exist worldwide. Data on most mag stripe cards are not encrypted, so the cards are easy to clone and present to POS terminals for fraudulent purchases. To address the vulnerabilities of mag stripe cards, Europay, MasterCard and Visa developed a secure chip and PIN-based card standard in the 1990s, called EMV. These cards have a rectangular gold-colored contact on the face of the card by which the IC chip in the card
can communicate directly to a smart card reader when the card is inserted. EMV cards are widely used for payments throughout Europe, Canada and many other parts of the world. Visa and MasterCard have instituted a liability shift policy to incent card issuers and merchants in the United States to distribute EMV cards and readers. Closed-loop university one-card systems will not normally have to accept EMV payments. However, in order to accept open-loop (MasterCard, Visa, etc.) payments, EMV-enabled terminals may be required.
NEAR FIELD COMMUNICATION
Japan leads the way in Near Field Communication, with over 80 models of NFC mobile phones being used by more than 20 million people to make payments. NFC, the payment standard for contactless communication between a card reader and an integrated circuit chip, is embedded in most Android smart phones and now the iPhone 6. Apple is creating a lot of buzz for its own version of NFC payments, but many merchants have not yet installed NFC-enabled POS terminals in the United States. It is expected that new EMV-enabled readers will also be able to read NFC. Several access control reader makers have introduced applications and digital credentials that enable a phone to open a door. Some of these use NFC, but others are exploring encrypted Bluetooth communication.
While biometric technologies are widely used by governments to identify travelers and population groups, commercial use of the technology is gaining popularity in North America. Biometrics employs sensors and systems to identify a person by measuring some part of the body. Fingerprint and iris are often used for physical access, while vein pattern recognition is commonly used in conjunction with cards at ATM machines in Japan. Universities in the United States are beginning to look at biometrics as an alternative way of identifying people, especially where high security (server centers) or high throughput (dining halls, rec centers, athletic facilities) is required.
David Stallsmith is Director of Product Management for ColorID, a leading provider of identification systems and components across North America. By communicating complicated technical information in understandable terms, he has helped hundreds of health care institutions, universities and government agencies with their decision-making processes regarding contactless smart card and biometric technologies. He is an annual presenter at the National Association of Campus Card Users conference and has presented at other card and identification-related conferences in the United States, Canada and Europe.
ColorID's most recent installation of the Biometric Dining Solution installed at Virginia Commonwealth University received national spotlight this past week.
NBC.com posted the following video as it reviews the system and the technology behind it .
ColorID exhibited and participated at the NACCU Workshop held on the campus of University of Notre Dame last week.
We enjoyed being with industry experts, sharing ideas & solutions and of course growing camaraderie.
It was first class event, organized by NACCU and held at the Morris Inn on University of Notre Dame.
Iris cameras offer VCU students faster entrance to Shafer Court
By Brian McNeill
University Public Affairs
Thursday, July 30th 2015
Hungry Virginia Commonwealth University students will have a speedier – and more futuristic – option for entering Shafer Court Dining Center this fall.
The university on Wednesday installed two iris cameras that will allow meal plan holders to use their eyes instead of having to swipe their IDs to access the dining hall.
"Students won't need their ID to enter the dining center anymore," said Stephen Barr, the director of campus services who oversees VCU Dining Services. "With iris identification, it’s as simple as a camera taking a picture of their eyes and two seconds later they walk through."
“With iris identification, it’s as simple as a camera taking a picture of their eyes and two seconds later they walk through.”
The new system, which is voluntary, is meant to serve as something of an express lane for students.
"We thought it'd be a nice service for students to help everybody get through at peak times," Barr said.
Plus, he added, the iris cameras will give students who lose their IDs over the weekend the ability to still access their meal plans even though the ID card office is closed.
"There currently isn’t a mechanism for students to get a replacement ID [over the weekend] so they can access Shafer," Barr said. "So how do they eat over the weekend? In the past, they've had to come out of pocket. Now they don't have to. This backup lets them get into Shafer so they can eat.”
Cashiers will remain in place for those who choose not to use the iris cameras, as well as for visitors and others entering Shafer Court.
The iCAM 7100 iris cameras, made by North Carolina-based ColorID, take a high-definition photo of the user's iris and then identify 220-plus unique points. It then generates a number, which is associated with that individual meal plan holder's iris.
"We don't keep pictures of your iris," Barr said. "It's just a number, just like your ID. Your ID has a unique number that ties it to you."
To sign up interested students, the university will have stations set up at Shafer Court and elsewhere during the first couple weeks of the fall semester.
The iris cameras are an example of how biometric credentials are being increasingly embraced. Many people use their fingerprints to unlock their iPhones, for example. And the Cary Street Gym uses a fingerprint – and soon a handprint – scanner to verify the identity of students and subscribers accessing the gym.
VCU Dining Services chose to go with iris cameras, Barr said, because it is reliable and does not require touching – which is especially important before a meal.
"We're going to continually improve access to Shafer and see if there are other places [on campus] that we can expand this kind of technology to, as well," he said.