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Cards on Campus!

Week 10, 2007

Now, we see more university (and even school) cards projects reaching maturity. For instance:

  • In India, Anna University, the largest educational institution in India with 225 affiliated colleges in Tamil Nadu and a student base of about 500,000, will deploy a student card this year. The university multipurpose smart card allows the coexistence of university and non-university application issuers. The main contractor is Modular, from Malaysia, who established a subsidiary in Chennai for the circumstance.
  • In South Africa, the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, is about to implement a smart student card. Cards will be contactless, used for physical access control and logical access control, as they will allow students to access online statements. The cards will also be accepted as a means of payment at the university cafeteria, the libraries, and in vending machines.
  • In French Rhone Alpes Region, the "Carte M'RA" is delivered to around 300,000 high school students. It gives them the possibility to borrow and purchase books, and to access cultural and sports facilities. The Region signed partnerships with bookshops, cinemas, associations, and museums, for the acceptance of the M'RA card. Applicam performs the systems integration, the customer relation is handled by Accor Services, and Xiring provides terminals and readers.

Besides the obvious benefits brought by a university cards: speed and convenience, no cash to carry (thus a better security for students), flexible physical and logical access control capabilities, … having university students carry smart cards has many advantages.

In fact, many students already carry a smart card without being conscious of it: the SIM that remains in their cell phone. Besides mobile communication, students carrying multi application university cards will get used to the concept, and will be favorable to the implementation of multi application systems in their future life. Then, many engineering students may be pushed by the daily use of multi application cards to develop their own multi application projects creating this way a community of people interested in developing user-oriented new technologies, in a faster and more efficient way than previous generations.

Having students use university cards is a way for issuers to establish a clientele for their services. Of course, banks who market their cards to students, build on this existing base. Students ID can also be seen as a pilot for national ID projects.

Even if applications took longer to develop than originally expected, they are here today. Maybe the next step is a standardization phase between all major world-class universities.

Thierry Spanjaard
Chief Editor
Smart Insights