The University of Tennessee in Knoxville has become the latest academic institution to make mobile IDs available to students with iPhones and Apple Watches. The utility is the result of a partnership with Allegion and CBORD, which have jointly developed a mobile access solution that allows students to use the IDs to gain entry to residence halls and other campus buildings.
According to Allegion, the University implemented the IDs in response to a formal request from the Student Government Association. Students can use the IDs to make purchases at campus stores, while the accounts themselves are secured with two-factor authentication. If the student has misplaced their phone, they can use the Find My app to lock it until it is found, or the university and the student can deactivate an ID remotely if the account is compromised.
“We are always adapting to the way students use technology to enhance the campus experience,” said Finance and Administration Senior Vice Chancellor Chris Cimino. “Being able to access your VolCard on your iPhone or Apple Watch is one of the many ways UT is continuously improving to meet expectations for a modern campus.”
The school indicated that the mobile IDs have proven to be particularly useful during the COVID-19 pandemic, which made it impossible to conduct in-person orientation events. The technology allowed them to issue credentials to new students remotely. The IDs also have contactless capabilities, so students do not need to touch keypads or readers when making payments or entering various facilities.
The mobile credentialing system is built with NXP’s MIFARE DESFire EV1 technology, and runs on CBORD’s CS Gold 8 software. The University has already used it to credential more than 18,500 individual devices, which have collectively been used to make nearly 4.6 million transactions at a clip of around 46,000 transactions per day. The system is part of a broader digital transformation on campus, during which the University has replaced its existing card readers with roughly 5,000 Schlage readers and wireless locks.
Apple has now provided mobile student IDs for several major universities, including Clemson University, Duke University, the University of Alabama, and the University of Oklahoma. In those cases, the tech giant delivered the IDs through a partnership with HID Global rather than with Allegion and CBORD.