Duke's iPhone users will be able to use their phone to as their student ID to access their dorm and pay for food, among other things, but not Android users.
Along with five other colleges, Duke is collaborating with Apple to integrate student ID cards to the Apple Wallet application in an attempt to streamline student accessibility on campus. The Apple Wallet will be linked to Apple Pay, so students will be able to access campus facilities by waving their iPhones or Apple Watches near compatible reading devices, which will use the near-field communication technology.
When contacted by the Chronicle, Duke OIT did not expand on details, but did confirm that the technology was currently being tested and was to be released at some point this fall. Since not all students have access to iPhones or Apple Watches, the technology is meant to supplement rather than replace the existing system.
“I think it will make Duke students’ lives so much more convenient," first-year Dan Hepworth, an Apple user, said.
When asked if he felt excluded, Oliver Gibson, a first-year and Google Pixel user said he hopes to access the technology soon.
“If Duke can help half or even three-fourths of the student body, that's good for them, but I really hope they can expand the technology to Android," Gibson said.
The digital DukeCard will let students access their dorms. First-year Samia Zaman, a Samsung user, noted the effects this may have on lockouts.
“If I am locked out of my room, it is very likely that I did not take my phone with me either," Zaman said. "I’m just glad to have my card and key; I can do without the app.”
“It doesn’t really affect me personally, as I always have my Duke card on my phone in the stick-on wallet case,” said Parmida Jamshidi, a first-year and Samsung user, “the digital card is not enough for me to want to switch my phone.”
Junior Axel Herrera Ramos shed light upon how Duke has always tried to improve accessibility on campus. He spoke of how wristbands Duke debuted during his freshman year significantly reduced the number of student lockouts.
The wristbands provided access to buildings on campus but were later discontinued for security reasons.
With respect to the digital Duke card, Ramos said that since people still would need to carry their phone, "a card shouldn’t be that hard to carry around either.”
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With testing in progress and an expected launch this fall, both iOS and Android users in the Duke community are excited to witness the implementation of the digital Duke card on campus.
“It’s the price you pay for having a better operating system,” said Nima Babajani-Feremi, a first-year and Samsung user.