Industry Spotlight

Q&A with the Editor: Tim Nyblom and Dave O’Driscoll, HID Global

We spoke to HID Global's Tim Nyblom, End User Business Manager - Higher Ed, and Dave O’Driscoll, Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives, about cloud and mobile technologies that will be important when universities reopen in the fall and in the next few years.

As universities plan to reopen during a pandemic, what campus security and safety solutions are available to help prevent the spread of coronavirus?

The #1 protective measure to prevent the spread of a virus is social distancing and while providing credentials for access is vitally important, there are solutions to allow for proper credential management and limit the exposure between staff and students. Cloud-based and mobile solutions are a big hot topic with universities as they look to re-open campuses.

Providing as normal a work flow as possible while limiting social contact will be the focus for some time to come.

What’s the most overlooked aspect of a campus security plan?  

Institutions are spending lots of money on the latest gadgets, construction for new buildings, renovating spaces everywhere on their campuses, but still may be using outdated legacy technology like Proximity or mag stripes for access control. Universities must chart a course toward a more secure, user-friendly access control landscape. In the short term, this will likely mean a more complete embrace of smart cards and multi-technology readers, which offer a far higher level of security relative to magnetic stripe or Prox, and in the longer term, universities will move toward a mobile-based credential offering.

What emerging technologies (with regard to safety and security) do you anticipate campuses will implement within the next few years?

Leveraging a cloud solution that allows for secure, remote card management and personalization from any device provides the ability to have students receive their student ID at an unmanned printing station, with no contact with card management personnel required. It also allows the card office to manage the entire printing process remotely from their own tablet or phone, eliminating the need to share (and clean!) a traditional work station.

Additionally, students have been demanding mobile and campuses have been looking at best practices to upgrade their infrastructure to support mobile. Mobile provides another value-added benefit that wasn’t probably as top of mind six months ago. A campus will need to have the right infrastructure in place to support mobile, but some of the key benefits include:

  • Having the ability to issue credentials digitally over the air where students don’t have to come to a card office or take part in large orientation gatherings.
  • Using their mobile device for access control and payments where otherwise they may have to hand off a card to swipe a mag stripe to avoid unnecessary interactions (contactless or touchless).
  • Security is always a big topic and with mobile it allows for dual-factor authentication. Students are logging into their device (typically with a biometric – facial, iris, etc or with a password) and they are less likely to hand someone their phone than a physical card. It can add another layer of security and protection for the campus.
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