Study: College Students Want to Use Cell Phones as Credentials

CARMEL, Ind. — Two-thirds of American college students are interested in using their cell phones in place of an ID card, according to new research by Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies (IR).

In a study titled “Effective Management of Safe & Secure Openings & Identities,” IR reports that nearly half of the 140 students surveyed identified cell phones as their favorite personal electronic device. Additionally, almost half of all respondents reported using cell phone apps to manage classwork, check grades, communicate with professors and receive notifications and alerts.

Similar to the introduction of smartcards and biometrics at universities, many early adopters in the college population are already comfortable with the idea of using a cell phone as a credential, says IR Vice President of Education Markets Beverly Vigue.

“This ties in nicely with the budding discussion on NFC [near field communication], which will inevitably end up on cell phones,” she says. “No Visa card; no MasterCard card — only your cell phone will be needed for cashless payments or to show your identity.”

Currently, there are few phones with the NFC capability. However, the availability of the phones and their infrastructures should increase dramatically within the next couple of years as the population grows, Vigue says.

“It is important to understand that the solution is still in the testing phase. It’s not yet ready for mass commercialization. Plus, it’s hard to determine what the phone providers will charge for having this attribute,” Vigue says. “Nonetheless, as with the use of smart cards and biometrics, the early adaptors will be on college campuses, ready to bring the technology to the commercial market along with themselves and their degrees upon graduation.”

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