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San Francisco school completes NFC access control installation

Access control systems can be an affordable, efficient and reliable security solution when decision-makers correctly implement the technology. This means conducting tests and deploying pilot programs to determine if the advanced locking mechanisms will meet user demands and hold up to industry standards.

Colleges and other higher education schools around the United States are considering leveraging next-generation access control systems to provide safe learning and living environments for students, faculty and staff members. Instead of using traditional magstripe cards, however, more administrators are deploying solutions that use near-field communications.

The University of San Francisco, for example, is wrapping up a pilot program that enables community residents to leverage NFC-based mobile applications on personal smartphones to gain entry to buildings around campus, according to a CR80 News report. Rather than using the USF One Cards that were traditionally used for dorm access, individuals have the choice to integrate credentials with a unique mobile application that enables their personal iPhones to act as university ID cards.

"Our students have embraced it, telling us they prefer the convenience of their iPhones to digging for their One Cards," USF One Card and campus security system director Jason Rossi said, according to CR80 News. "This convenience is important to us but equally important is the security of using their existing contactless credentials, keeping our transactions secure."

Students who choose to integrate their credentials with the mobile application can also use their smartphones to pay for laundry at specific machines across campus, the news source said.

The USF program was initiated after a similar pilot proved to be successful at Villanova University in Pennsylvania. Villanova students found the use of NFC-enabled mobile devices was more convenient than traditional systems and proved to be just as secure, according to a Security Director News report.

"Our students tend to misplace their ID cards – known as Wildcards – but they tend to never lose their phones," Villanova director of card services Kathy Gallagher said, according to Security Director News. "They will know instantly if their phone is missing, where a student may not notice if their wallet, backpack, ID card, let alone their textbook, is missing."

As access control systems and NFC technologies evolve, the two will likely continue to converge and create highly effective and secure options for schools and other organizations around the world to use.

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