ITS plays key role in transition to all-in-one ID cards

ITS plays key role in transition to all-in-one ID cards

ITS is playing an important role in the transition to new university identification cards that will also serve as electronic door access cards for buildings or rooms on campus.

These electronic door access cards offer higher security than keys because when they are lost or when a cardholder leaves the university, the card can be deactivated remotely. The cards are used for meal plans and checking out library materials. They can also be used for financial transactions like charging purchases to a U-bill, or as an ATM/debit card when tied to a Hills Bank checking account.

The Directory and Authentication Services (DNA) team is heavily involved in the Iowa One Card project, working in partnership with UI Police, Facilities Management, and the Treasury Office.

Planning for Iowa One

The new Iowa One Cards converge electronic identity (HawkID) and physical identity (ID card and electronic door-access card). DNA Team leader Chris Pruess co-leads the identity convergence project and participated in planning the re-carding project. She was also instrumental in the redesign of the card and in reviewing the request for proposals for the banking relationship aspect of the card.

In 2011, ITS accepted technical support responsibilities for UI ID cards. DNA upgraded the Iowa One Card management system to contemporary technologies and performed Social Security Number remediation. Since then, the DNA team has been steadily adding needed features and functionality.

Work behind the scenes

Several significant projects took place behind the scenes to fully utilize the door-access function of the new Iowa One cards, including upgrades to the ID Card system, electronic access control systems, and identity-management tools and processes.

In 2013, ITS and Facilities Management staff upgraded the underlying infrastructure of the UI’s door access systems, AMAG and Millennium, to current supportable levels of hardware and software. This included relocating servers to ITS data center space. Technology advancements associated with the software upgrade provided full compatibility with the Iowa One Card door-access capabilities. 

Automations and process improvements were deployed for loading and managing cards in the door-access systems. ITS staff has been working closely with Facilities and local departments to coordinate the timing of Iowa One Card-AMAG migrations.

Simplifying off-hours access to buildings

In August 2013, three engineering facilities became the first buildings on the Millennium system to use the Iowa One Card, simplifying off-hours access by eliminating the need for a separate door-access card. Going forward, efforts will continue on re-engineering access control data management processes, Iowa One Card conversions, and support enhancements.

This project accommodates the growth in use of electronic access control and is important to the security of our campus,” says ITS-AIS Senior Director Mike Noel. “The change should also add convenience for UI students and employees, who will now have one less card to carry.”