Campus cards at home and abroad: What’s coming in campus card services?

Simplicity. Ubiquity. Efficiency. One and done. Tap or click—and go. That’s what we want from many of the services we use every day, right? Big technology enables today’s customers to hit submit and move on.


Simplicity. Ubiquity. Efficiency.

One and done. Tap or click—and go. That’s what we want from many of the services we use every day, right? Big technology enables today’s customers to hit submit and move on. Think Amazon Prime, Uber, Google and, now, Apple Pay. Cloud applications make doing everyday things easier than it used to be. The enabling technology may be mind-bogglingly complex, but cloud-based services are incredibly simple for customers to operate and use.

Cloud services are already here in the campus card market—and more of them are coming soon. An example is CardSmith’s transaction solution, which radically simplifies the formerly complicated business of campus card program management. The transaction “application” is already operational in the cloud, managed and monitored 24/7/365, regularly enhanced, and upgraded. All the customer has to do is provide the business requirements to deliver fully customized meal plans, discretionary spending accounts, off-campus merchant acceptance, eCommerce applications, and more for a campus. Along with these benefits come fully cloud-enabled account access and value-transfer solutions for students, parents, and other stakeholders. Then it’s one login/one click to access and manage—and none of the enabling technology requires on-site systems, management, or administration.

Virtually all major dining point of sale systems and access control systems now offer cloud or “SaaS” delivery methods. In each case, rather than being administered on-campus, the application is managed in the cloud by the service provider. Taken together, cloud applications can dramatically simplify (and reduce the cost of) the business of campus card management. Colleges and universities can refocus precious resources on their core mission rather than on system and application management or system administration. Cloud or SaaS is not to be confused with merely “hosted.” The former describes a managed application and service that delivers a solution; the latter a far more limited data center service where the application is still client-managed and client resource intensive.

Next will be cloud-based extensions of CardSmith, and possibly other campus card systems. CardSmith is already working to make card printing and production a cloud application seamless with its transaction system and bringing the Android and iOS enabled mobile verification solution into the same service suite. CardSmith’s new owner, Blackboard, is working hard to integrate the web-enabled S2 access control system to operate as part of the Transact system. Soon, the company will connect S2 with CardSmith too, and make it possible to deliver the entirety of campus transaction and security applications with nothing more than a PC or mobile device on your campus.
So get ready for more cloud-based service and less system (for you to manage) in the campus card business. Learn about and embrace this powerful trend to bring your students and campus card community state-of-the-art technology and services more simply and efficiently than ever before.


Jay Summerall
Jay Summerall is founder, CardSmith, VP Blackboard Transact.

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