Can an owl help keep a 12,000-student university safe? It can when it’s designed into the identity card program at Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU), whose mascot is the Fighting Owl. SCSU, spanning 168 acres in New Haven, Conn., is in the midst of a $230 million campus renovation that includes the introduction of a Hoot Loot card for identification.

With a student population of 12,000 in 115 graduate and undergraduate programs, the university believes campus security is a critical component of the renovation. It needed to replace its paper ID cards and laminated photos with a more modern, more durable multi-purpose identification card for all university students, staff and faculty.

Effective identification system

The university’s outdated card printing system was no longer filling the school’s needs"

Found In 2006, Mark Waters, Director of Financial Business Applications, was hired as the Card Office Coordinator to set up the new ID card system, upgrading the paper ID cards with a plastic ID card system. When it came time for the upgrade, Jordan Jones, Card Office Assistant, knew where to go. “I’ve worked with ID Wholesaler for some time,” Jones said. “They directed us to Fargo because they knew our needs. We were impressed that Fargo received good reviews, especially in higher education applications.”

Mark and Jordan are advanced users,” said Amy Sanders, Account Manager, ID Wholesaler (www.IDWholesaler.com), the Fargo Value-Added Retailer. “When I first spoke with Jordan in April 2006, the university’s outdated card printing system was no longer filling the school’s needs. Jordan was beginning to research more reliable solutions, and the Fargo DTC550-LC was a perfect fit. It provided a reliable, cost-effective solution.”

Fargo DTC Printer

Jones and Waters chose this printer for several reasons. “We knew we wanted to print on two sides of the card,” said Waters, “and we also wanted a built-in encoder for magnetic stripes because the campus has many legacy devices that use magnetic stripe technology. We also wanted the printer to be a network printer. It was important that it be a standalone device and not tied to a desktop computer or server.” The Fargo printer is kept in a secure office in a secure building to prevent tampering.

Jones, who manages the day-to-day operation of the Card Office, which includes customer support, also wanted a printer that could handle the pace of output he needed. “We were impressed with the speed of the DTC,” he said. “It cut our card production time in half or better.” Likewise, its ease of use was important. “There are no cumbersome parts,” Jones added. “I like the WYSIWYG version of installing new ribbons, card media and laminate.”

Secure access system

The Southern Connecticut State University system has grown to include seven part-time student employees who are trained to verify identity and produce ID cards

The lamination capability was important in providing durability for our students,” Jones continued. “We issue one card for the entire length of a student’s education here, which might be as long as five or six years. We want it to last.” A $10 replacement fee is assessed for the first card that is lost or stolen. After that, the cost increases to $20.

The Southern Connecticut State University system has grown to include seven part-time student employees who are trained to verify identity and produce ID cards. To obtain a card, students must present an official photo ID, such as a driver’s license, as well as their academic schedule or proof of enrollment. Faculty, staff and others must present a photo ID and a letter of authorisation to verify affiliation with the university and entitlement to an ID card.

Hoot Loot ID card

The cards serve a myriad of purposes. “First and foremost, the Hoot Loot card is a mandatory ID card for everybody on campus,” said Waters. “It is important that we be able to identify who actually belongs here and who doesn’t.” Currently, there are several different versions of the ID card, identifying undergraduate, graduate, full-time and part-time students; administration; faculty; staff; faculty emeritus and contractors.

After the Virginia Tech shooting incident in April 2007, a change was made in the orientation of the SCSU cards. Student cards are printed horizontally because they are carried in purses and wallets. Faculty and staff cards are printed vertically, in a badge format, and expected to be worn at all times. “We want our faculty and staff to be easily identifiable as authority figures on campus,” said Jones.

The SCSU Hoot Loot ID card can be used both on and off campus

Hoot Loot card readers

The SCSU Hoot Loot ID card can be used both on and off campus. For the 2,600 students living on campus, a magnetic stripe on the card provides access to their residence hall, where users need to enter a pre-programmed PIN after swiping their card in the card reader. For all students, the card can be used for access to the university’s computer labs as well as for health services, laundry machines, the bookstore, fitness centre and vending machines.

A bar code on the card enables users to check out library books at the Hilton C. Buley Library, while the magnetic stripe enables them to pay library fines or use self-service copiers and color printers there. Hoot Loot card holders can also access SCSU’s online Web service, called BannerWeb, thanks to the individual’s unique eight-digit identification number printed on the card.

Smart payment solution

Off campus, students can use Hoot Loot cards at a wide variety of locations, from Greek restaurants to gas stations and UPS stores. Not surprisingly, a large number of local pizza restaurants accept the Hoot Loot card for payment. Hoot Loot cardholders can also receive discounts nationwide through a Student Advantage Discount Card membership, which can be incorporated into the card itself.

Not only does use of the Hoot Loot card lessen the need to carry cash, adding to a student’s personal safety, but it also helps students avoid credit card interest fees and the possibility of overdrawing a bank account. The debit account carries over from year to year and is protected if reported lost or stolen.

Campus and facility access solution

The Food Loot information is stored on the Hoot Loot card to simplify the process

Students, faculty and staff can add money to a Hoot Loot card at five locations on campus or through a secure online centre, called MyCard Online, where they can also check their card balance, print out their card history or change their PIN.

Resident students who sign up for a meal plan are required to participate in Food Loot, a declining balance plan for use at on-campus dining facilities, including the main dining hall, student centre cafe and on-campus convenience stores. Food Loot requires that students living in kitchen-equipped rooms have $300 in Food Loot per semester. Others must have at least $50 per semester, in addition to their traditional board meal plan. The Food Loot information is stored on the Hoot Loot card to simplify the process.

Card-based security

Card-based security has become more of an issue with the increase in multi-function, campus wide ID cards,” Sanders added. “The cards at SCSU are used for so much more than just a photo ID that lamination has become a necessity, not only for security purposes, but also for enhanced durability.”

Waters knew even back in 2000 that schools looking at ID card programs should view their primary purpose as providing a service to the students, faculty and staff. “If they always keep that in mind,” he said, “everything they do will at least stay even with the curve.”

Download PDF version

In case you missed it

Smart home access control growth and the future of door security
Smart home access control growth and the future of door security

There’s growing noise around smart homes and smarter security. You’ve probably heard it. But there is a place where access control and more have been smart for decades: the workplace. Home automation and IoT are still playing catch-up with the commercial sector. A new insights report from ASSA ABLOY and IFSEC Global — “The Smart Door Locks Report 2018” — measures just how fast consumer smart technology is running. According to a survey conducted for the report, 61% of households now claim to own at least one smart home device or system. Energy monitors, home CCTV cameras, intruder alarms and smart door locks are the most popular, according to the report. All these functions, of course, have been available to businesses for years.61% of households now claim to own at least one smart home device or system Educating the smart home consumer Paradoxically, report data also questions how much consumers really know about their smarter home. A surprising 42% of those surveyed, for example, were unaware they could control a smart door lock from their phone. In fact, many leading smart door lock models offer this feature, delivered by Wi-Fi or Bluetooth and an app. Despite a wealth of features offered by the latest smart door locks — remote and location-based locking/unlocking; voice activation; timed access; emailed entry alerts; and integration with smart camera and lighting systems — most people still have limited knowledge of their capabilities.  Smart technology is increasingly becoming the new norm in terms of home security  Only 14% of survey respondents described themselves as “very familiar” with what a smart lock can do. Even though most of them probably use smart access control solutions at their workplace. Secure homes through smart technology Monitoring and security are not the only drivers for smart home adoption. We humans also love convenience, and modern living presents us with problems that smart home technology can solve. Ironically, given the report’s findings, it takes a smartphone to really unlock the convenient possibilities of smarter living. The device that’s “always to hand” is central to the newest generation of smart door locks.A smart door lock is a convenient way for a landlord or agency to offer round-the-clock check-in and check-out If homeowners wish to remotely manage property access for friends and family, many smart door locks oblige. You let in guests remotely, send them a virtual digital key, or provide a temporary or single-use PIN to unlock the door. It is just as easy to revoke a digital key, if you don’t want its owner to come around anymore. This is a significant improvement over sharing physical keys — or hiding one under the doormat. We cannot be totally sure where a metal key ends up and have no way to track or cancel it once it’s “out in the wild”. Commercial access control offers such functionality as standard, of course.  In addition, smart door locks offer more than just stand-alone operation and clever functions. In a domestic setting, magic happens when locks work in harmony with a home automation system, connected by protocols like Z-Wave, ZigBee or Wi-Fi. "Smart" security on the move  The smartphone is becoming a remote control for managing a connected life beyond just home (and even workplace) security. According to Accenture, the parcel delivery services market will grow by $343 billion by 2020. Just like home security, convenience is a major driver of change. Homeowners can send guests a virtual digital key to their phones, or provide a temporary or single-use PIN to unlock the door A recent PostNord pilot in Sweden aimed to remove the inconvenience of waiting home for a postal delivery. Selected customers of some major Scandinavian e-retailers could choose to have parcels delivered inside their front door, if it was equipped with a Yale smart door lock.  Home delivery is among potential smart services covered in “The Smart Door Locks Report 2018 ”. When asked whether the ability to receive parcels securely in a porch or lobby would make them more likely to invest in a smart door lock, 79% said it would.It is easy to revoke a digital key, if you don’t want its owner to come around anymore Holiday rentals and smart home tech ASSA ABLOY research published in 2017 forecasts continued growth in the European holiday rentals sector (at 5.8% CAGR). Smart door locks are also making an impact here, at both ends of the market: for service providers — agents and homeowners — and for travellers. A smart door lock is a convenient way for a landlord or agency to offer round-the-clock check-in and check-out, without creating extra work or staff costs. Both Intersoft, in Croatia, and Hoomvip in Spain have built holiday rentals management systems around an app and the ENTR® smart door lock. Agents issue, revoke, track and manage virtual keys for all their guests, saving everyone time and hassle. Travellers use their phones and an app to unlock their apartment. For these visitors the smartphone is already an essential travel accessory. It is a boarding pass, a credit card, a travel guide, and a postcard home... why not a door key, too? And if this key is backed by a trusted home security brand — and a company with vast experience in the mature market for commercial “smart” security — better still.

Bosch startup SAST addresses need for evolved solutions in security industry
Bosch startup SAST addresses need for evolved solutions in security industry

Security and Safety Things GmbH (SAST) is a new company that has announced its vision for an Internet of Things (IoT) platform for the next generation of security cameras. The Bosch startup plans to build a global ecosystem for the development of innovative security camera applications. Based on the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), SAST provides libraries, an API framework, and codecs for developers to work with. The SAST App Store will allow developers to build and market new applications, similar to today’s app stores for smartphone applications. We presented some questions to Nikolas Mangold-Takao, VP Product Management and Marketing, about the new venture, and here are his responses: Q: Why a new company now? What technology innovations have made this a good time to launch this company? The time is right to bring market needs and technological innovations together on one platform"Mangold-Takao: From a technical perspective we see two main drivers: increasing computing power at the edge and increasing internet connectivity, which will enable devices to directly communicate with each other and bring new technologies such as artificial intelligence also to the security and safety industry. At the same time, we see that this industry and its users are hungry for more innovative solutions – addressing new security needs while at the same leveraging the possibility to improve business operations for specific verticals, e.g. retail and transportation. The time is right to bring market needs and technological innovations together on one platform for this industry. Q: Why does SAST need to be a separate entity from Bosch? Mangold-Takao: SAST is setup as a wholly owned subsidiary of the Bosch Group. We wanted to make sure that SAST is able to underline its role as an industry standard platform across multiple players. SAST is open to get additional investors and is being setup as a startup in its own offices in Munich to foster the environment where speed and innovation can more easily take place. Having said that, several entities of the Bosch Group are very interesting partners for SAST. The SAST App Store will allow developers to build and market new applications, similar to today’s app stores for smartphone applications Q: Please explain your "value proposition" to the industry. Mangold-Takao: We will bring new innovations and possibilities to the security and safety industry by providing an open, secure and standardised Operating System for video security cameras, to also address pressing issues such as cyber security and data privacy concerns. Devices that run then with the SAST operating system will work with an application marketplace provided and operated by SAST. Integrators and users can then use these apps from this marketplace to deploy additional functionality on these devices. With our platform we will be able to build up a community of app developers, including the ones not yet developing for this industry who have expertise in computer vision and artificial intelligence. Q: It seems what you are doing has parallels with the Apple and Android "app" stores. How is your approach the same (and how is it different) than those approaches? We are setting up SAST as a user-centric company and involve selected users very early on in the process"Mangold-Takao: The approach is similar in the way that we plan to generate revenue by operating the application marketplace and thus participate in the app revenue. The difference is that there is much more needed than apps and cameras to create a complete working solution addressing a user problem in this industry – we need to make sure that our own platform as well as the new applications being created will work as a part of an end-to-end solution. Q: "Critical mass" and wide industry participation seem to be requirements for your success. How will you achieve those goals? Will you involve integrators, consultants, or other parties in addition to manufacturers (to drive awareness)? How? Mangold-Takao: SAST is in close exchange with device manufacturers, integrators and consultants, as well as application developers and large end-users at the moment to ensure that we are building the right platform and ecosystem for this industry. We are setting up SAST as a user-centric company and involve selected users very early on in the process. We will run dedicated programs and hackathons to attract app developers, already active and new to our industry. We will also run selected pilots with end-users throughout 2019 to ensure we have all partners involved early on. SAST sees the industry is hungry for more innovative solutions – with the retail vertical market a target for these solutions Q: What timeline do you foresee in terms of implementing these initiatives? Mangold-Takao: While we start with first app development programs and plan our first pilots already for this year, we are planning our commercial launch for end of 2019. Q: How does your new company relate to the new Open Security & Safety Alliance (OSSA)? Mangold-Takao: The Open Security and Safety Alliance has been working very closely with SAST over the past year, defining some important concepts and elements required. One of the most important elements is an open and standardised Operating System, specific to this industry, which will then bring forward new innovative technologies and solutions. SAST is actively working on this Operating System, based on Android Open Source Project (ASOP), but is evolved and hardened with industry-specific features. Q: What's the biggest thing you want the security industry to understand about SAST? What is your "message" to the industry? Mangold-Takao: Our message is simple: let’s build better security and safety systems – together! But for real, innovating an industry is a joint effort, we can only bring new innovation to this industry with partners who share our vision and are excited about new technology. At the same time, we strongly believe that our platform allows every partner to bring forward what they do best but also invite new partners to our industry.

What is the value of remotely monitoring a system's health and operation?
What is the value of remotely monitoring a system's health and operation?

When is it too late to learn that a video camera isn’t working properly? As any security professional will tell you, it’s too late when you find that the system has failed to capture critical video. And yet, for many years, system administrators “didn’t know what they didn’t know.” And when they found out, it was too late, and the system failed to perform as intended. Fortunately, in today’s technology-driven networked environment, monitoring a system’s health is much easier, and a variety of systems can be deployed to ensure the integrity of a system’s operation. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: How can remote monitoring of a security system’s health and operation impact integrators and end users?