SMU could benefit from contactless IDs
Published: Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, February 19, 2013 23:02
Convenient technology. Our lives have been filled over the past few years with ever growing lists of smart gadgets seeking to accomplish more with less effort from the user.
Developers are learning the most successful apps allow the user to complete the task with just one click less than its competition.
This facet of thinking has expanded far beyond smartphones as we see “old-fashioned” appliances like fridges and ovens receive their own processors, notifying users the chicken is cooked or they’re out of eggs.
Unfortunately for students, SMU has yet to grasp this minimalistic mindset.
The student ID cards are still using magnetic strips, which require that extra step from the user. Unlike many other universities, we have not moved forward to contactless ID cards. The newer system of cards has been available for many years and can be cheaply acquired.
I put forward a simple fix: contactless ID cards. Putting money toward a pragmatic change like this would directly impact the daily lives of students.
Contactless ID cards prove themselves as they can be used without being removed from a wallet. A simple wave of your wallet over the scanner will accomplish the same deed as removing and sliding your card.
In this we remove one step from the process, and what a difference one step can make.
Another option is the Near Field Communication technology present in almost every high-end phone sold today, except for the iPhone.
This technology allows data to be transferred with a mere click of the phone to the sensor. It is extremely secure and removes the need to carry around a card.
Unfortunately, with the numerous iPhones present on campus this method of identification couldn’t be implemented until Apple catches up with the rest of the industry.
With contactless ID cards, students would no longer fumble in their wallets for cards to get into the dorms.
The lines at Umphrey Lee would at least be somewhat alleviated as perhaps students could wave their own IDs. The lines in the parking garages would be a breeze, as students will no longer have to pull a muscle just to reach the swipe sensor.
Now let’s take this one step further. If they really wanted to impress the students, get a RFID mount for the cars. This is the technology applied to the inside of a car windshield that recognizes a car as it passes through checks on a tollway.
Every time a car with RFID drove up to Binkley parking garage the gate would simply lift. This would perhaps be the best solution, albeit it would require a bit more effort on the part of Park N’ Pony.
The new contactless card system would cost SMU about $300 per lock system and the cards themselves mere cents. Although the budget is manageable, it certainly would be a rather long project.
A project like this would be best undertaken over the summer when there are fewer people on campus. As technology advances in the future hopefully SMU will follow suit.
Kopp is a sophomore majoring in finance.