FM’s Involvement in the 49er Mobile ID Program

July 21, 2022

You may have heard the announcement that Auxiliary Services is transitioning the physical 49er ID cards to mobile IDs that are accessible via phone, Apple Watch or other Android devices. Throughout the phased implementation, FM’s Lock Shop has been integral in installing, testing and troubleshooting these systems. Andrew Pemberton, lead locksmith, provided details of how he, his supervisor Leslie Aaron and colleagues Keith Dixon, John Hurley, Austin Mitchum and Derrick Robles played integral roles in this upgrade. Pemberton also notes Facilities Information Systems’ (FIS) involvement and partnership alongside Auxiliary Services.

“This has been a fairly labor-intensive process over the past two years, as our team has converted all magnetic swipe-based card readers (nearly 1,650 readers) to contactless readers,” said Pemberton. “That also included installing about 200 new locks to replace those that were incompatible with the new technology.”

Hardware aside, the team also had to test the systems for compatibility with Apple and Android devices, update the firmware on campus locks and develop various formats for these readers to function across different devices, such as key boxes and time clocks.

The mobile ID program will be implemented in phases, starting with incoming first-year students this fall. Over the next few years, the hope is to have the system fully functional for all students, faculty and staff to use instead of a physical ID, and even at vending machines, parking gates, dining locations, etc.

“This project has shown that there are a lot of unknowns for Lock Shop’s future duties,” said Pemberton. “In many cases, we’re still working with physical keys and ID cards, but the future of locks and entry solutions, like mobile IDs, are more technological. This is why projects like this take a while to implement and troubleshoot and shift our past ways of managing campus safety.”