Mobile ID and Access Control

Phone. Keys. Wallet. A leaving the house ritual so prevalent that hipster apartment décor has applied the checklist to entryway doormats. But could this habitual ritual be headed towards becoming a quaint and eventually, an obsolete idiom? After all, a phone can now be both a key and a wallet.

Regarding the mobile phone as an access credential, yes, there is the cool factor. But the functionality provides recourse for students who do not have their primary credential—whether it be a key or an ID badge—on their person.

Our community is on the fence on whether non-traditional credentials will eclipse the physical ID card—but we all agree that a hybrid credential environment is here and will be the bridge if and when the card system no longer uses the card. In the meantime, additional credentials—like phone for access—complement the student ID card.

A common use case for mobile credentials on campus is residence hall room lockouts. So common that the majority of campuses publish and enforce lockout policies to deter the lockout frequency. How frequently? Columbia University (student population 3,300) estimates an average of 1,600 per month.1 Lockout policies discourage lockouts. Mobile credentials prevent lockouts—because let's be realistic, if a student is going to forget one of the three—keys, phone, wallet—the phone isn't going to be one of them.

1. Elizabeth Sedran, "Housing may charge fee for repeated room lockouts." Columbia Spectator, March 4, (2014).