Clever use of smart cards at Waiariki Institute

The tertiary institute takes smart card to its full potential, says software provider

Waiariki Institute of Technology in Rotorua has rolled out smart cards for identity and access control, printing and photo-copying control and bus fares.

Last year, the tertiary institute looked into whether it could use Mifare smart cards, issued to students and staff for free bus fares and ID, and as access cards to the Institute’s buildings.

The project went ahead and RedCrater Software Solutions in Hamilton provided the software for programming the cards, says Peter Neil, software architect at RedCrater.

“The main appeal of using smart cards is they can be loaded with multiple applications, which can both reduce overall administrative costs and provide students and staff with an easy way to perform a range of activities that require identity verification,” he says.

While many organisations plan to use smart cards for different applications, very few of them actually use the cards for anything other than just physical access control, says Neil. A central reason for this is the logistics of enrolling and loading data on smart cards from completely different systems, which are often administered by different departments or by separate organisations, he says.

Early this year Waiariki Institute of Technology decided to add photo copying and printing control to the smart cards, and RedCrater again provided the software, as well as smartcard readers, which make the process of getting the data on to the cards easier, says Neil.

The software-hardware smart card package from RedCrater supports bus tickets, print control, cost recovery and physical access control — all on one card, he says. The smart card issuing solution, tailored for Waiariki, enables all of the smart card applications to be loaded on to the card at the time the card is issued, he says. The card is scanned and loaded with the data when it is handed to the student or staff member.

The smart card technology and applications involved in the project are not extra special, but Waiariki has taken the technology a step forward and is utilising the full potential of the cards, says Neil.

Around 7,000 smart cards have been issued so far.

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