Section: News

In lieu of K-Cards, new app will unlock doors

For students who always forget their K-Cards in their dorms, Kenyon’s Library and Information Services (LBIS) is preparing a solution: a smartphone app that would allow students to open doors around campus without their K-Card.

Mobile ID was developed by CBord, the same company that installed the card-access door security systems around campus and manages the K-Card system. The app is currently being tested by LBIS employees. LBIS is also establishing a feedback system to provide future app users with tech support. The app will be ready for student beta-testing by Spring Break, according to Vice President of LBIS Ron Griggs, and will not cost the school anything, it is already included in the cost of maintaining the K-Card system.

“Sometimes people lose or forget their cards — and, in fact, Campus Safety spends a lot of time on the phone or helping students who are locked out,” Griggs said. “Mobile ID gives a student an alternative to calling Campus Safety, or calling a friend, or calling whomever to unlock the door.”

To enter a building, the app will prompt students to enter codes that correspond to specific doors around campus; entering a code and digitally “swiping in” will only be effective if the user is close to the door and is a registered student. Stickers placed on door card readers will indicate which code to use. LBIS employees have spent the past year determining the GPS coordinates of doors around campus to create geo-locations that are then logged into the app’s database. So far, the app recognizes every door on campus, with the exception of the newly constructed Black Box Theater and the Wright Center in Mount Vernon. The door access permissions of students’ K-card will be the same as the access permissions of their Mobile ID.

Other K-Card functions, like paying to use laundry machines, will not be included in the initial version of the app.

“The app will not work for vending machines around campus or laundry — although it could,” Griggs said. “That’s a future idea.”

Despite the upcoming launch of Mobile ID, K-Cards won’t disappear any time soon. “This isn’t going to replace the card,” Associate Director of Enterprise Systems Steve Martin said. “The card is still very useful.”

“In fact, the card is much faster,” Griggs added.

Mobile ID is available at no cost on the Android and Apple app stores, but the codes necessary to open doors will not be available until LBIS posts them on card readers around campus.

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