Completing transition launched in 2021, physical All Card access is phased out
By Jesse Dolojan, Education & Enrichment Coordinator
In a shift led by Auxiliary Services beginning this semester, All Card access has transitioned from a physical ID card and building pass into a digital version available on mobile devices via the Transact app.
Director of Auxiliary Services Bill Moran explained how the transition to the digital pass has taken years of planning and development.
“The decision to move to a digital ID was made by university administration back in the fall of 2020… We had a lot of hardware on campus that took a magnetic stripe that was getting very old and we had to replace it,” Moran said.
“We wanted to do things that are a little more secure – contactless technologies that are encrypted and not easily replicated like a magnetic stripe is. So, as we planned the hardware replacements, we did that with in mind that we wanted to have a contactless experience for the students thereafter that was more secure and more convenient,” he added.
Addressing some student concerns following the transition, Moran also acknowledged the difficulties that can arise with the digital pass, including the possibility that your phone could die.
“We did the testing prior to launching it back in 2021, we did test the locks out at points of sale, as well as dorm style locks, and found that even with a phone that was completely devoid of a charge that the user can interact with their phone in any way,” Moran said.
“It still carried enough voltage to unlock the door and to do the transaction for like, say a meal plan or whatever. So we felt comfortable that even though you couldn’t use it, it would still work, and we tested that for up to eight hours,” he said.
Some students, however, have noted that this change does not work for them and are sometimes locked out of their rooms. Kuhlman Resident Assistant Xander Smith noted that almost all residents in residential halls were not provided access to a physical All-Card.
“In most living areas in most of the buildings, people got nothing. In Brockman, Buenger, in Justice, and I think also in Commons, no one gets a physical card if they’re a first-year student because all the doors have the new scanners that you just use your One Pass on your phone,” Smith said.
“They gave the new residents temporary pass cards that they use and they just put it in, take it out, no code and the door opens which is still better because at least they have a card in case they lose their phone,” he said.
Moran stated that Auxiliary Services would look at the issues regarding the digital passes functioning while phones are completely powered off.
“We’ll investigate that, but that wasn’t how we tested it. But it’s been a couple of years… We should probably do another field test just to reconfirm what we originally knew,” Moran said.
“If it was, you know, a lost All Card, or if it was a brass key and they lost it in the middle of the night, they would reach out to either an RA or hall director and be issued some kind of a temporary access card to get in the room. So nothing’s really changed there, whether it’s a key card or phone pass or whatever. At some point, if you’ve lost it entirely or it doesn’t work, you would reach out to those support systems that are in place,” he said.