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Blackboard Integrates Chip Tech into Campus Cards

Blackboard has integrated microchip technology from Sony into the latest release of its campus ID card system. Release 3.6 of Blackboard Transact works with Sony's Felicity Card (FeliCa), a radio frequency chip on a card popular in Japan that promises greater security and faster performance for card-reading transactions.

Developed specifically for higher education institutions in the United States, the Transact ID card platform is used for both security management and commerce. It allows students to get into secure buildings and facilities; pay for books, meals and laundry; and access campus events.

Blackboard Transact is the successor to Blackboard Commerce Suite. Version 3.6 provides for "hybrid" operations; cards will work with both contactless and magnetic stripe readers. The new release also includes enhanced reporting and reconciliation for administrators; a data removal and logging tool; and support for Windows Server 2008, which is the only supported operating system for Transaction System 3.6 components.

The company also introduced a new contactless card reader specifically designed for contactless transactions, but which also handles magnetic stripe cards. The VR4100 Contactless Vending Reader supports Bluetooth and can offer video playback of advertising, alerts, notifications, and other messages on a color touch screen.

"We saw Blackboard's contactless solution as a way for us to keep pace with rapidly changing technology by adopting a solution based on industry standards," said Nirmal Palliyaguru, director of ACCESS and Conference Services at Santa Clara University in California. "We knew that Blackboard Transact would help us solve the challenge of increasing data security and establish a base from which we could expand the platform in years to come. Ultimately we see this technology allowing us to replace campus ID cards with mobile phones and devices as the ID."

"To continually improve the student experience it is critical to methodically innovate and introduce new technologies that meet the increasing demands of today's students and deliver real return on every dollar invested," said David Marr, president and COO of Blackboard Transact. "Smart contactless technology meets these criteria by letting institutions support and monitor all commerce and security activity from one place while students enjoy the on-demand college experience they've come to expect."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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