Gallaudet University is the world’s only university offering exemplary educational programs to deaf and hard of hearing students at all learning levels. Their programs span from serving infants and their parents and continue through middle and high school. Bachelor degrees are offered and undergraduate students also have the option of designing their own majors through a self-directed study program. Additionally, graduate programs and doctoral degrees are offered in a variety of ?elds involving professional service provision to deaf and hard of hearing people. The school was founded in 1864 by an Act of Congress and its charter was signed by President Abraham Lincoln.
Even though Gallaudet was founded over one hundred and forty years ago, it maintains a strong commitment for using technology in its academic programs and services. More than 70 percent of students each semester take one or more courses enhanced by Gallaudet’s online learning system. Each new student attends a technology orientation during their ?rst year where they learn how to use Gallaudet’s online learning system and other technology offerings. Because of Gallaudet’s commitment to implement innovative technology that makes the student’s life easier, they were pleased to learn that their existing student access control HID proximity cards could be used to support various new applications within the university through deployment of a cashless payment system from ViVOtech. As new students enroll, they continue to be issued HID proximity cards as part of the enrollment process. This card has now become a multi-purpose card that simpli?es the life of the students while providing security and value-added applications. Each semester, a prepaid amount of money is logged into a database that is matched with the student’s card. The funds are deducted each time purchases are made at ViVOtech readers utilizing HID’s embedded proximity reader technology installed at various point-of-sale (POS) systems throughout the campus.
By enabling cashless payment as well as access control, the ViVOtech-HID solution transforms the proximity cards into multi-purpose cards. These multi-purpose cards can be utilized during the student’s yearly registration avoiding a previously cumbersome registration process and to purchase books in the bookstore eliminating the need to carry cash or credit cards. The card is also used to gain secure access to their dorm room, for purchases through ViVOtech readers at special events for quick ticket and food items, and at the cafeteria where line throughput at peak meal hours is greatly increased with fast proximity payments. This program also helps to safely manage many of the student’s unique dietary requirements by storing meal plan data as part of their student record.
One of the challenges encountered during the project was gaining high-level acceptance from the various, separate food service and facility groups. These groups were resistant to the idea of replacing their existing magnetic stripe POS systems with terminals that could accept proximity payments. Once these groups learned how simply ViVOtech readers could be installed in just minutes at any existing POS system to enable proximity payments, there was a unanimous nod for the application with special regard for what the solution provided to their most valuable asset – their students.
In addition to providing security and ease-of-use to its students, Gallaudet was able to reduce spending data processing resources because of the seamless integration of sharing student and faculty data across platforms. “Using VIVOtech’s contactless readers and HID’s proximity cards have saved the University a tremendous amount of time and labor through eliminating the need to individually program each student’s ID with a magnetic stripe,” said Gary Aller, Gallaudet’s executive director, Business and Support Services.
“We were able to use the University’s Simplex remote door opening system and a simple download of student names from that system to provide the database for our food service computer. The system was also easily expanded to include faculty and staff at a later date. I have been very pleased with the ef?ciency and reliability of ViVOtech readers and HID cards.”