The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is celebrating the successful launch of its Mobile ID program. The program officially debuted at the start of the 2021 fall semester, and provides students and staff with a digital MIT ID that can be stored on a smartphone.
In terms of utility, the MIT Mobile ID card functions much like its physical predecessor. People can present their phones at card readers to gain access to university facilities, and they can also use the digital card to pay for food and print services on campus. In that regard, the MIT Mobile ID has been fully integrated with the school’s TechCash and Pharos programs.
The technology behind the Mobile ID was developed by Information Systems and Technology (IS&T). IS&T started planning the system with MIT in September of 2018, though the school needed to build a new app and update its physical access readers before launching the system. That process started in late 2019, but hit delays in 2020 due to COVID-19 disruptions.
MIT was eventually able to complete the overhaul, and its efforts are starting to pay dividends now that the system is live. The MIT Mobile IDs were first offered to the incoming first-year class, roughly half of whom registered for their digital ID on the same day as their orientation. Adoption rates have remained high since MIT expanded the program to the rest of the MIT community in September. More than 14,000 people have signed up for an MIT Mobile ID, and they collectively used those cards to complete nearly 50,000 transactions in October. That figure is double the number for September, and does not even include those who used their digital ID to gain access to a building.
The MIT Mobile IDs can be stored on an Android phone, an iPhone, or an Apple Watch. Those who keep the card in an Apple Wallet will be able to view their TechCash and dining hall balances. The system leverages the MIT Atlas mobile app, which was used to distribute health attestation forms and to share vaccination and COVID-19 test results during the pandemic. MIT is hoping that the digital ID integration will simplify its reporting procedures, and minimize the number of physical ID cards that it needs to print to keep track of people on campus.
Moving forward, MIT plans to partner with the MBTA to allow card holders to use their MIT Mobile ID as a pass for Boston’s public transit system. However, that will have to wait until the MBTA enables digital credentials. MIT cited contactless access control as one of the primary benefits of the digital IDs, but noted that its plans were in place before the pandemic.
The news reflects the growing interest in digital IDs on university campuses across the country. Transact has provided mobile ID services for Benedictine University and the University of Texas at Tyler, while Allegion and CBORD have done the same for Auburn and the University of Tennessee.
Source: MIT News