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Using Your Phone (or Watch) as Your Student ID

Apple partners with Blackboard to offer digital wallet integration with NFC access

June 5, 2018
 
 

Get ready to open your dorm room with your iPhone, pay for a meal using an Apple Watch, and use NFC-enabled Apple devices to conduct numerous transactions on campus.

At its recent Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), Apple announced that they were working with a select number of institutions to integrate student IDs with Apple's (Digital) Wallet.

According to Apple, this will allow students to use their NFC-ready iPhones or Apple Watches to “gain access to places including the library, dorms and events, and pay for snacks, laundry and dinners around campus simply by adding their ID cards to Wallet...”

The program launches with Duke, the University of Alabama and the University of Oklahoma this fall. Johns Hopkins University, Santa Clara University and Temple University will bring the capability by the end of the year.”

 

 

Perhaps the biggest news that came out of the student ID / digital wallet announcement by Apple was their new partnership with Blackboard by way of Blackboard Transact. According to CR80News, all of the universities announced by Apple as being campus partners for the Apple Student ID initiative are Blackboard Transact campuses.

Also of note was the fact that Blackboard seems to have been seeding their Transact campuses with NFC technology. Perhaps waiting for Apple to come into the space in a major way, as they did this week, so that they could then offer a wide array of functionality to both Android and Apple users.

 

 

Perhaps due to the fact that they have to play nice with Google Android, Blackboard has been a bit quiet about this monumental announcement. On Twitter, they retweeted CR80News' tweet and appear to not have a press release about this new partnership with Apple.

Now I use Apple Pay via Apple Wallet all of the time. It's super convenient and speedy to pay for things using my phone. Authenticating with a finger print seems like a nice benefit too. And, if I forget my traditional wallet, there's a good chance that I'll have my phone with me.

For staff, students, and everyone else who has an ID at the selected campuses, this will be a wonderful benefit. However, it is important to recognize that not everyone has an NFC-enabled phone and physical ID cards won't be going away anytime in the near future.

If NFC takes off at colleges and universities, that's probably a good thing for most people...at least from a convenience perspective. Although, there's something slightly off-putting about the fact that Google and Apple continue their slog into all facets of life.

One last thought about this week's announcement, this is a huge win for Blackboard and their Transact offering. In fact, I look forward to reading Joshua Kim's upcoming post on why Apple should/will purchase Blackboard. Okay, Josh might not actually write it, but he's probably thought about it.

 

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