The Student ID Card – Past, Present and Future

Room B - Thu 14:45


The UCC ID card has developed enormously over the last 15 years. It has been transformed from a laminated piece of paper with basic student details with a photograph, simply used to verify student status, to its current incarnation as a truly smartcard, with Mifare technology embedded.

It’s now also the key to services, such as access - to doors, buildings and car parks - and payment - for printing, copying, library fines, food in vending machines and cafeterias - and laptop borrowing. Using Mifare technology, we continue to add ID card services as required, providing greater functionality for the student.

At the same time, technological advances are indicating a move from use of the ID card itself as the sole platform for delivery of services, and more towards the mobile device for that purpose. Bank cards compete with mobile payment apps, with rising use of contactless payments. Development in the mobile technologies sphere is fast-paced and there is a rise in the use of mobile devices for the delivery of services we currently provide on our ID card.

So what does all this mean for the humble ID card? Is it becoming defunct and moving towards retirement? Or do we need to preserve the ‘ID’ part of the ID card? What is the future role of the ID card in the ever-changing sphere of ‘identity’?

The future in UCC is bi-directional – we will continue to develop our current physical ID card, adding services as required, and investigating the use of different, more functionally rich card technologies. We are also working on digitalising our ID card, embedding it within our UCC Connect App, with a view to providing access to our ID card services on this platform also. We foresee that both the physical and digital ID card will live in tandem, at least in the short to medium term.

In addition, UCC is Ireland’s pilot University for the European Student Card project. This is an EU Commission funded project, whose mission is to establish a European student card, allowing automatic recognition of student status throughout Europe. Campus services accessible via ID card can be granted to non-native card holders from other participating HEI's. This will also be incorporated into development of the digitalised ID card.

With all this development and all this flux, basic data protection requirements, particularly in light of pending new legislation coming into force in May 2018, must be a firm part of any future solution we implement. We must offer the same data protection as a minimum - particularly as data may move from the card to the cloud, and from the physical ID card to a virtual, digitalised one.

This presentation will take you through the history of the UCC ID card, where we see it positioned in in the future, and how we see the ID card and its services fitting in to a more mobile environment – mobile device and mobile student – as that becomes ever more popular.