AutoID & Data Capture Blog

Part 1 of 2: Universities "Tap" NFC for Campus Security/Access Control

Security/Access Control is one of the leading non-payment NFC applications. Generally, NFC-enabled Security/Access Control deployments to date have been within corporate or academic campus environments, but home security vendors are beginning to introduce products that leverage NFC for domestic applications. Accordingly, we will examine this application in greater detail from the perspectives of enterprise/campus and consumer/domestic deployment. This part 1 of 2 will discuss enterprise/campus Security/Access Control, while the following post will focus on consumer/domestic applications.

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: contactless payment and mobile commerce applications are only the proverbial tip of the iceberg in regards to the diversity of applications NFC enables. Security/Access control, particularly for physical (e.g. corporate/academic campus, floor, room) applications, is among the other NFC use cases VDC has been monitoring with expectations for near-term growth.

Almost one year ago, Arizona State University launched an NFC access control pilot program that enabled students to emulate their contactless campus access cards via their NFC-enabled smartphones. The pilot, by all accounts, was well-received by all ASU stakeholders. While students appreciated the convenience of using their smartphones in lieu of traditional access cards, ASU administrators viewed the solution as a major stepping stone towards a future where all campus credentials could be created, issued and managed virtually, thereby saving considerable costs associated with the issuance and management of traditional access cards.

Following in the footsteps of the ASU pilot, two new NFC access control campus initiatives are underway. The University of San Francisco, in partnership with security/safety solution leader Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies and campus access card solution provider CBORD Group, recently announced a multi-phase rollout of NFC-enabled campus card credentials that support physical access control and basic payment functionality at university-owned laundry facilities. The solution combines CBORD’s NFC-enabled card solution with Ingersoll Rand’s aptiQmobile mobile app and multi-technology door readers, thereby providing students with the option of using traditional access cards or emulating their credentials via an NFC-enabled device. After a small-scale rollout that was highly utilized by students, the university is moving forward with a broader expansion across its campus.

Similarly, the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) also plans to pilot an NFC access control solution at its Stockholm, Sweden campus beginning this month. The EIT access control system represents the cooperative efforts of NFC security solution provider Telcred and TSM provider Ericsson, and will control staff, researcher and student access to various campus buildings, rooms and facilities via contactless smartcards and NFC-enabled smartphones.

VDC believes applications such as security/access control and ticketing, which are generally deployed in closed-loop environments (e.g., corporate/academic campuses, transit networks) will continue to drive near-term enterprise adoption of NFC. As the aforementioned deployments demonstrate, closed-loop deployments benefit from the involvement of fewer stakeholders and minimal decision-making friction, issues that plague more complex applications such as contactless payment. 

Stay tuned for Part 2 which will examine the potential NFC-enabled Security/Access Control has in the home...


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