Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies and the CBORD Group are in the midst of an access control trial at Villanova University in Pennsylvania involving NFC and smart phones.

Since November 2011, Villanova’s students and staff have been using the aptiQmobile Web-based service from Ingersoll Rand along with smart phones as their credential to access dormitories, academic buildings and administration offices. The NFC credential integrates with the school’s CS Gold campus card system from CBORD.

There are 42 participants involved in the trial–30 students and 12 faculty. Each were supplied an NFC-equipped sleeve that fits over their iPhone, said Jeremy Earles, Ingersoll Rand’s product marketing manager for readers and credentials.

To enter buildings, students simply open the aptiQmobile app and tap their phone to the access control reader on the wall in the same way that they would present their Wildcard campus ID badge.

“Today’s students are so technologically advanced that it is second nature for them to put everything on their phones,” said Kathy Gallagher, Villanova’s director of card services. “It’s easier for students to use an app on their phone versus digging for their card.”

Using smart phones instead of badges means that instead of the school having to print ID badges for each student at enrollment time, a mobile key can be issued online by the administrator directly to the student’s phone. That saves the university administrative costs and the expense of printers, ink, card inventory and other supplies.

“Using smart phones as badges saves time that can be better spent on other issues,” said John Bonass, Villanova systems manager. “Assigning the credential to the students’ phones takes less work than printing and delivering a badge, and since students are very protective of their phones, this should lead to a greatly reduced replacement rate.”

If a phone is lost or broken, a new ID can be reissued to a new phone without the students having to come to the card office.

The pilot is scheduled to wrap up in April.