Apple's iPhone 6 could become the new campus card at many colleges and universities, according to campus card industry business consultant Robert Huber of Robert Huber Associates Consulting. For the past 50 years, colleges, universities, hospitals and corporate campuses have been issuing plastic cards and badges to their students and employees using a variety of card technologies, he says. New hardware and software in devices like the iPhone 6 are paving the way for the transition to digital—using smartphones as both a secure form of identification and payment processing.
Now Huber envisions these same organizations accepting user-provided mobile credentials, such as smartphones, in lieu of institution issued IDs.
"Most college students today purchase their own smartphones and manage their accounts via the web," Huber says. "Using their phones as their new campus card will invariably be seen as an added convenience and customer benefit by most students."
Huber, who worked on the development of a pioneering all-purpose campus card at Duke University in 1985, has been following the evolution of the technology for nearly 35 years.
"Although it took a few years for travelers to trade paper tickets for e-tickets, the TSA acceptance of smartphones as valid passenger ID has been a relatively smooth transition," Huber notes. "I expect to see a wave of campuses shifting from plastic cards to user-provided virtual credentials by the end of the decade."
The reasons, according to Huber?
The iPhone 6 includes features that are similar to many campus cards: it processes payments via a mobile credential, data encryption protects the privacy of personal credit card numbers and an internal Near-Field Communication (NFC) chip (similar to Bluetooth Smart) is a more secure payment technology than traditional mag stripe cards.