The independent news organization of Duke University

Apple launches new feature Tuesday that puts your DukeCard on your iPhone

Duke students woke up Tuesday morning as one of three schools that can use their iPhone or Apple Watch like their student identification cards. 

Aside from giving students an extra layer of protection from being locked out of their rooms, Tuesday also marks a point in Apple’s goal to replace the physical wallet with their app. 

“We are super excited about this, because we think for students at these schools, we’re truly bringing [about] our vision of replacing the wallet—including the different types of cards and credentials,” Jennifer Bailey, Apple’s vice president of internet services, said. 

By using Apple’s Wallet feature like a DukeCard, students will be able to pay with food points at campus vendors, open dormitory doors and pay for laundry. 

The program—which combines the payment and access features of college identification cards into the Wallet app—is debuting this week with students at Duke, University of Oklahoma and University of Alabama. By the end of the school year, it will expand to three other schools—Temple University, Johns Hopkins University and Santa Clara University.

“We love Student ID’s as an opportunity because you do it so many times in a day,” Bailey said. “We estimated from some of the schools that students tap their cards an average of 22 times per day.”

Bailey said that there has been a large amount of interest by other schools since Tim Cook, Fuqua ’88 and CEO of Apple, announced the program in June. Apple is working with other schools to help them gain the technological infrastructure to implement the program.

Junior Juan Bermudez, employee at the Office of Information Technology and sports photography editor for The Chronicle, has gotten up to speed on the mechanics of the program to help with its implementation. 

Students can access the feature by downloading two apps—eAccounts and Duo Mobile–on their phones, then adding the card to the Wallet through the eAccounts app. Bermudez said that students leave their cards around or lose them, but that they keep their phones with them more often.

A lot of Duke students will be able to put the program to use, the vice president of internet services noted, as 80 to 90 percent of students at the schools Apple is starting the program at use iOS.

“This gives you even more ways to use the technology that you already use and carry with you,” Bailey said.

The change has the potential to go beyond its effects on college students. 

“It’s the first time we’ve done a public implementation of access,” Bailey said. 

Apple uses the access feature internally, as workers at Apple Park are able to use a pass on their phone to gain access to buildings. 

“But this is the first time that we’ve implemented an access-use case outside of Apple’s campus, to be able to use a pass in your Apple wallet to be able to tap into your dorm or the library, or wherever you have access control in the University setting,” Bailey explained.

This advance could lead to a wide variety of new access uses—such as the feature being used as a hotel key, a car key or to access other corporate buildings.

“Think about every key you’ve ever had to have. Could we, over the long run of time, add that capability to do that on our devices?” Bailey said. “We’d love to do that, but this is really the first service that we’re delivering that kind of capability.”

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