Safety & Security (Prepare and Be Aware)

Keys or Cards? What's the Problem?

Near field communication (or NFC) may well be the future of access control on college campuses — because NFC solves the major problems associated with key and card access systems.

What are those problems? Ingersoll Rand interviewed more than 1,000 key influencers at U.S. colleges and universities to find out.

Key problems: Eighty percent of the survey participants complained about the number of lost and stolen keys. Sixty-three percent identified the failure of key-users to return keys as a problem. Forty percent pointed to the problem of damaged or broken keys. In each incident of lost keys, keys not returned and damaged keys, the school would need to issue a new key and send someone to re-key the lock to fit the new key. Costs include materials and labor.

Card problems: In the Ingersoll Rand interviews about cards, 70 percent identified lost or stolen cards as a major problem. Fifty-six percent cited damaged or broken cards as problematic. Twenty-two percent pointed to the time required to manage the cards.

NFC solves each problem. As you probably know, students, faculty and everyone else, for that matter — rarely lose smartphones. Sure, it happens now and then. When it does, all the credential administrator must do is turn off the permissions. The student or faculty member replaces the phone and reloads the credentials.

The same goes for damaged phones. The administrator turns off the permissions on the damaged phone. The owner replaces the damaged phone and reloads.

Since the user owns the phone, there is nothing to return at the end of the year.

When only a handful of phones get lost, stolen or damaged, the time required to manage the system plummets.

This article originally appeared in the February 2015 issue of College Planning & Management.

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