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  • Higher Education Smart Campus Association

    HESCA's aim is to provide Higher Education establishments with a platform for debate on smart card technology issues relevant to their business objectives.

    HESCA endeavours to provide an opportunity to explore the technology in detail; the standards, software, hardware, applications and integration, aiming to develop a mechanism by which a series of cost-effective solutions is available to its members.

    HESCA meetings, each of a full day's duration, take place quarterly. They include a number of presentations from British and international specialists, and provide valuable opportunities for members to explore the smart card marketplace in a non-sales environment.

    Themed full-day quarterly Forum meetings have several specialist-led sessions, with ample breaks for networking.  In the background, voluntary working groups are being established to consider topical issues, and to submit written recommendations to the members of HESCA.

    What a member says:

    “HESCA meetings have offered an invaluable opportunity to obtain insight into the world of smart card technology and the variety of potential applications.  As the group is attended by colleagues from other HEIs, there is also an opportunity for networking and to share issues and solutions.”

    David Manfield, University of Wales Institute, Cardiff

    Hesca Supplier Directory - for the latest HESCA service for HEI's seeking suppliers for their smart campus card projects (under construction).

  • HESCA (the Higher Education Smart Campus Association) has pleasure in inviting you and/or a colleague to attend its annual conference and exhibition taking place on 9th & 10th November 2021 at the Old Ship Hotel in Brighton.

    HESCA21 is the latest in a series of similar successful events that Smartex has run over the past 9 years in Southampton, Nottingham, Great Missenden, Brighton, Warwick, Glasgow, Cardiff, Cambridge and Bristol. 

    We recognize that HEIs and FEIs are feeling the financial pinch, and that any investments in smart campus technology must be offset by cost savings or increases in revenue.  Accordingly, we have built this into the fabric of our planned topics for HESCA21.


    The following main themes and topics are planned:

    • The impact of Covid on the future of the smart campus
    • On-campus paymentshow to improve efficiencies and save money
      • Can cash be eradicated?
      • Closed loop vs. open loop cEMV: white-label EMV?
    • Effective student retention strategieshow an automated attendance recording/monitoring system can pay for itself within three years: resurrecting the AR/AM service provider community
    • The new access control topographybalancing need with minimising CapEx and OpEx
      • Upgrading your ACS
      • Implementing a new ACS
    • Migrating from smart campus cards to smartphonesa generic HEI app suite could yield dramatic savings
      • Replacing functions currently supported by smart campus cards
      • Adding new functions not possible with smart campus cards
      • Cutting out a costly migration to DESfire cards
    • Addressing the Apple iPhone problemHESCA can help HEIs to convince Apple to enable student ID, access control, etc. on their iPhones
    • Introducing new applicationscan upgrading be inexpensive?
      • Order/Pay: BNPL: Biometric validation: Examinee validation: Modernising  PoS/MPoS 
    • Identity considerations: authentication and authorisationcan you afford not to tackle digital ID?
      • Biometrics in smartphones
      • Biometrics in smart cards
      • Biometric readers on doors
      • PINs
    • Modernising student enrolment/registration: cutting the queues and the costs

    As always, leading suppliers, so far including Uniware Systems (Lead Sponsor), The Databac Group, Digital ID, EMOS Information Systems, Kappture, MCR Systems, SALTO Systems, SYSTOPIA, The Hub Company, VMC (UK) and WRS Systems, will be on hand throughout the event to demonstrate their new systems offerings, and you will have ample opportunities to talk to other HEI/FEIs about their experiences of developing a smart campus. 

    Cocktail reception on 9th November 

    Our traditional cocktail reception will be held in the late afternoon of 9th November in the HESCA21 venue, to provide further opportunities for delegates, speakers and exhibitors to meet and share experiences and requirements.

    Evening dinner on 9th November 

    The popular event dinner is taking place at a local restaurant, at 7.00pm on the evening of 9th November.  Delegates, speakers and exhibitors may reserve places with us for this dinner at their own cost (approx. £45 per head incl. VAT and Service).

    What's included in the deal? 

    Included within these arrangements will be: 

    • Participation at all sessions on both days 
    • Access to all available presentation material 
    • Refreshments on arrival and throughout both days, including two buffet luncheons and the drinks reception on the evening of 9th November 

    Overnight accommodation

    We will provide attendees with the preferential rate being negotiated for HESCA21 attendees at the event venue, The Old Ship Hotel.

    How to book to attend HESCA21 

    To book your place at HESCA21, please complete the online booking form or contact me at or on 07785 254405.

    Do of course let me know if you have any questions on the above, and we very much hope to welcome you at HESCA21 in Brighton.

  • 2019 Meetings


    This Forum meets quarterly.  Amongst the topics and activities that we shall be addressing are:

    • Developing an effective attendance monitoring system to support a student engagement and retention strategy
    • Smart campus schemes as part of an ID Assurance programme
    • New techniques for enrolment, card issuance processes and procedures
    • Coping with GDPR
    • Is the Cloud relevant to smart campuses and how?
    • Use of new smart technologies such as AI and IoT
    • The potential impact of smartphones on smart campus card schemes
    • The use of biometrics in HEI/FEIs: products, software, standards and choices
    • Towards the cashless campus: products and challenges: do bank cards have a role?
    • Presentations by e-payment system providers: open or closed-loop?
    • The business and financial cases and plans for introducing cashless campus routines
    • The emerging new generation of physical access control system architectures
    • Using smart campus schemes for logical and system access control
    • Supporting innovative new functions with existing smart campus schemes
    • Case studies from UK and overseas smart campus card schemes
    • Successful strategies for card migration to a higher security form factor
    • Development of statements of best practice for HEI/FEIs
    • Development and progress of the HESCA Starter Pack for integrated supplier products
    • Smart card vending in a smart campus. What are the benefits?
    • Migration of existing legacy systems to a smart environment: the challenges
    • Strategies for room utilisation systems for a smart campus
    • Smart Card online store services: what are the benefits?
    • A dedicated university app: Integration with smart card services: strategies: one app to rule them all?
    • Smart car parking in a smart campus: what are the benefits?
    • Smart card production: in-house or bureau? Pros and cons.
    • HESCA19: Bristol is the location for our annual two-day regional conference & exhibition


    Meeting Dates and Agendas


  • How to join

    Smartex Forums are membership-based with an in-advance membership fee structure designed to suit the entire range of interests in smart technology, biometrics, smart payments, prepaid, RFID tags, M2M and NFC, and to accommodate differing time and budgetary resources.

    Comprehensive information about member services and benefits, and about Forum subjects and plans for the next year are provided in the 11 sub-sections listed below. These include details of how to join, and a membership application form.

    If you have any questions or comments about membership, please don't hesitate to contact the Smartex office on 07973 963015, or at, and we will do our best to help you.

  • Members' Pages

    Members have access to restricted content.

    To access presentations from past meetings of our forums, click on the links below:



    Smart Payments Forum

    Mobile & Identity Forum

    Internet of Things Association

    International Biometrics Forum - coming soon

    Delegates' Area

    Delegates have access to presentations from the latest Smartex meeting.

    Delegate Presentations

  • HESCA News

    Updated on 5th August 2021

    Student IDs on iPhone and Apple Watch expand to Canada and more US universities
    Apple Newsroom
    “Going contactless over the last year was an easy transition for us because of it. Using their UA ACT Card in Wallet has saved students...
    (More progress with the migration to mobile on campuses: Ed.)

    UK universities awarded funding for research into IoT, smart home security
    The Daily Swig
    Academics say that smart technology is a 'balancing act', and that consumers need to be aware of the risks. A number of British universities have been ...

    Up to £80m on the table in University of Nottingham's search for service provider to lace together IT support Institution
    The Register
    The University of Nottingham has begun a hunt for an IT services vendor, wafting between £50m and £80m to tempt them to the table.

    UK: Tunbridge Wells: Skinners' Kent schools closed after data breach
    Romek Security
    Two schools have closed after hackers broke into their servers, stole data and encrypted pupil information.

    Mobile credentials for a contactless campus experience
    …Deploy remotely. Mobile student IDs offer the same contactless and security benefits as smart cards, plus they can be remotely deployed to avoid in-person contact. Wave goodbye to the long lines at the card office.

    US: Long Island University launches MyLIU mobile card on iPhone, Apple Watch, Android phones
    Long Island University has launched its MyLIU Mobile Card that will allow students, faculty and staff to get around campus with just a tap of their iPhone, Apple Watch or Android phone at campus readers. Long Island University partnered with Transact, a leading campus credential solution provider offering NFC-enabled digital IDs, to support the implementation.

    Use student ID cards in Wallet on iPhone - Apple Support
    Apple Support
    On supported campuses, you can add your contactless student ID card to the Wallet app, and then use your iPhone to access locations where your student ID card is accepted, such as your dorm, the library, and campus events. You can even pay for laundry, snacks, and meals around campus.
    (The clue is in the words “On supported campuses": and this item was released in the USA: Ed.)

    Students Sue Online Exam Proctoring Service ProctorU for Biometrics Violations Following Data ... [USA]
    Law Street Media
    The plaintiffs claimed that ProctorU engaged in illegal actions by “collecting, storing and using” the plaintiffs' and putative class's biometric identifiers ...

    People with special needs not dissuaded by biometrics for educational access, report says
    Biometric Update
    Last year, CourseKey released a biometric facial and fingerprint scanning solution to keep track of ... At the start of the outbreak, TypingDNA offered free biometric authentication for ... Acuant is a leading global provider of identity verification, regulatory compliance (AML/KYC) and digital identity solutions.

    Multi-factor authentication — University Information Services
    University Information Services - University of Cambridge
    UIS is rolling out multi-factor authentication (MFA) for Microsoft products to University institutions by no later than 31 December 2021.

    Ed’s. rant of the day:
    Would whoever invented the daft expression ‘Fingerprint dive’ – meaning ‘have a quick thumb through this fascinating document’ – please apologise to Ed. for messing up his Google Alerts system, finely honed over these 18 years!! E.g:
    the space-frame in Bacon – Fingerprint — University of Huddersfield Research Portal
    University of Huddersfield Research Portal
    Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Frames of meaning: the space-frame in Bacon'. Together they form a unique fingerprint. · Arts & Humanities.

    Multi-factor authentication for University Microsoft accounts — IT Help and Support
    IT Help and Support - University of Cambridge
    This might be entering a code sent to your mobile phone or passing a biometric scan, such as face ID or a fingerprint. It's sometimes called two-factor ...

    Yoti pitches biometric age estimation to regulate social media access for 7 to 11-year-olds
    Biometric Update
    Tombs suggests that the combination of biometric liveness checks with AI age estimation will prevent almost anyone between seven and ten years old ...

    Ericsson teams up with T-Systems to flog campus network solutions
    Swedish kit vendor Ericsson is partnering with the IT services arm of Deutsche Telekom to offer bespoke B2B connectivity services worldwide.

    Report alleges bias in ExamSoft facial recognition feature, proposes improvements
    Biometric Update
    A report has pointed out bugs with the face biometrics-based feature of examination proctoring software ExamSoft, and has proposed methods for bypassing the problems.

    Post-Brexit changes for EU students who study in Britain from 2021
    Study International News
    Europeans entering Britain can use a national ID card until October, after which only passports will be accepted, for stays of up to six months.

    USA University news, views and forecasts
    The next wave of campus security and access: Trends shaping 2021 and beyond

    Seos: A rundown on HID Global’s software-based credential technology
    The Seos platform from HID Global is one of the premier credential technology options available to universities. It combines advanced encryption, high reliability and fast operation, and as a software-based credential technology, Seos is independent of underlying hardware. This offers form-factor flexibility, supporting use on mobile devices, smart cards, wearables, tags and more.

    44,000 FirstGroup School Buses Use "FirstACTS" To Secretly Identify And Track The Behavior of 5 Million Students  [USA]
    Romek Security
    …What makes First Students' school bus surveillance so "advanced, comfortable and reliable"? Is their ability to record and track an individual student's behavior in real-time. All of First Student's 44,000 school buses come equipped with their proprietary "Active Conduct Tracking System" or FirstACTS.

    Transact Campus Inc. to open international headquarters in Limerick, Ireland
    Transact Campus Inc., the leading integrated payment and credential software solution company for campus environments, has today announced it will create 110 new jobs in Limerick City Centre.

    Capita still wants to offload education software unit
    The Register
    Capita is still hopeful of finding a buyer for its education software biz despite financial offers reportedly coming in below the expected range of £500m to £700m in mid-October - which at the time was higher than the entire group's market cap.

    Apply for a Student SmartCard
    West Berkshire Council
    Please complete the following form to obtain a SmartCard. You will need to upload an electronic copy of a photograph in JPG format. You will not be ...

    Mobile credentials for the masses: Key considerations for implementation and student adoption
    I love Apple Pay. It's so convenient to tap my phone—which I always have in my pocket—and go. When I first began using Apple Pay, that convenience ...

    6 areas of campus to make contactless [USA]
    University Business
    6 areas of campus to make contactless. Options for helping students, staff and visitors avoid touching shared surfaces and interacting face-to-face during ...

    CR80 Chats: How ColorID is helping campuses to navigate contact tracing
    In this episode of CR80News Chats, we catch up with ColorID’s David Stallsmith to talk about how ColorID has been helping universities tackle contact tracing and other COVID-19 related challenges. Contact tracing, in particular, is an emerging conversation for universities of all sizes, so we talk through some of the options available to campuses as they try to implement a contact tracing system that best suits their needs.

    Digital accessibility in education and employment during COVID-19
    This blog forms part of a blog series to be published over the coming weeks as we investigate how the digital and social exclusion of persons with ...

    Co-op opens first franchise store in Scotland
    Retail Times
    Students who are Young Scot cardholders can pocket a 10% discount off groceries and contactless card payment limits up to £45 will be accepted, ...

    How Do Colleges Check for Plagiarism in Essays?
    Bdaily National
    The modern age of information has meant that colleges and universities must adopt new strategies to combat plagiarism, which is when a student passes off somebody else’s work as their own. Professors have access to specialized software programs that can check papers, reports and essays by evaluating suspect words and phrases. In some cases, other methods such as reviewing writing styles or references are used.

    Yoti wins biometric selfie-based student ID contract with Scottish college
    Biometric Update
    High-quality fingerprint enrollment still underpins government identity ... Yoti wins biometric selfie-based student ID contract with Scottish college ... Yoti has introduced digital identity cards for students of one of Scotland's ... of the tenant's photo on their ID using an authentication service, the report states.

    Leeds Uni offers isolating freshers contactless laundry service at £25 a pop
    The Tab
    The Uni is offering a contactless laundry service to freshers forced into self-isolation, for a mere £25 a pop. That's right, 25 whole English pounds…for ...
    (£25? How many beers is that? Ed.)

    Maryville University introduces NFC digital IDs
    NFC World
    Uploading their digital Saints ID card to Apple Pay or Google Pay enables users to scan their iPhone, Apple Watch or Android phone instead of their ...

    Zoom adds extra layer of security for classrooms with an external authentication feature
    Video meet platform Zoom has released an external authentication feature in a bid to keep classrooms secure amid the pandemic. The Single Sign-On ...

    Biometric digital identity can preserve remote exam integrity for South Africa’s universities
    Biometric Update
    The pandemic continues to open several opportunities for digital identity in many sectors, as it continues to change the way we do things, and one sector that has been heavily affected in South Africa is the higher education sector.




    A Smartex Group company


    There are a number of reasons why you may be considering the introduction or expansion of a smart campus card scheme, or migration towards the replacement of smart cards with smartphones as the portable token for students and staff.  These could include:

    • Reduction in the numbers of cards and tokens requiring to be held
    • The need to avoid reputational damage from the use of MIFARE Classic-chipped cards
    • The necessity to meet student demand for the use of smartphones as the token of choice
    • Reduction and streamlining of manual/administrative functions for staff
    • Creation of a modern image for your institution
    • Enhancement of security surrounding physical and system access control
    • Support for an identity assurance programme
    • Reduction or elimination of the use of cash on campus
    • Improvement of the general student experience



    The introduction of any new pervasive, fast-changing technology can be challenging, and we have seen schemes set out with good intentions but ultimately fail due to one or more of the following:

    • Lack of clarity of the business case, and no strong perceived imperative to proceed
    • Unclear project ownership and poor branding for the scheme
    • Difficulty in adapting existing functional systems to operate with smart cards
    • Failure to get faculties, schools and administrative departments to work together
    • Not getting the best from suppliers or becoming ‘locked in’ to one
    • Introduction of new staff working practices meets resistance
    • Students and staff have no good reason to always carry their smart campus cards
    • Reputational damage due to poor planning and resulting delayed or unsuccessful launch
    • Uncertainty about the potential impact of Near Field Communication-based smartphones
    • Difficulty in handling cards for occasional visitors to campus
    • Difficulty in eliminating the use of cash at campus points of payment

    With our help, each of these may risks may be avoided or minimised, saving a great deal of time, money and pain!


    HESCA Limited has operated the Higher Education Smart Card Association since 2002.  This is a membership-based, educative forum for HEIs, FEIs and other sector stakeholders, that addresses all technical and operational aspects relating to the introduction, deployment and use of smart campus cards.  The group also considers new/disruptive technologies and form factors, currently majoring on smartphones and biometrics.  There are currently nearly 30 HEI and FEI members of HESCA, and the majority of suppliers to HE/FE smart campus schemes.

    We established this consulting service for three reasons:

      1. Many HEIs and FEIs introduce a scheme and appreciate the benefits it can bring but fear the apparent complexity of introducing smart campus cards, or of supporting multiple functions with a single card. Our collective experience has helped many institutions to overcome these fears and successfully launch and run smart schemes.


      1. Demand for completely independent, specialist advice and guidance continues to grow. Selection of appropriate suppliers, and contractual arrangements are complex and high-risk decisions.  We can help you navigate these processes successfully.


    1. Institutions often lack the internal resources to design, develop and manage the processes required for successful implementation of a smart campus scheme, and can become locked into long-term supplier products and services.  We can provide short-term, specialised cost-effective resources to supplement existing capacity and skill ranges and enable longer term self-sufficiency.



    HESCA Consulting Services offers support with smart campus schemes, from conception to delivery:

    • Orientation workshops to explain how smart campus card schemes work
    • Conduct of early-stage feasibility studies
    • Development of business cases, and business and financial plans and models
    • Provision of road-maps for the later addition of new functions using the smart campus cards
    • Assistance with the introduction of smartphones to replace smart cards, and with the management of parallel operation
    • Provision of specialised consultancy within all of the supported functional areas
    • Assistance with the design and operation of card bureaux, personalisation and issuance systems
    • Conduct of surveys, staff interviews and analysis of existing services and systems
    • Provision of lists of potential suppliers of required products and services
    • Assistance in development of ITTs, handling issuance and responses, and supplier selection
    • Assistance with card naming and general scheme branding strategy and marketing
    • Design of appropriate security and encryption processes
    • Development of value-add functions such as bursary distribution, meal plans, healthy eating programmes and loyalty schemes
    • Provision of project management services
    • Analysis of current network topography and technology required at each point of card service
    • Assistance with development of business and operational rules for card-related processes
    • Downstream assistance with testing, pilot, launch and rollout operations
    • Post-launch reviews and optimisation to ensure maximum benefits realisation

    If you think we can help and would like an initial exploratory meeting to clarify the needs and aspirations for your scheme, free of charge and without obligation, then please email or call 07973 963015.


    Smartex also provides a range of specialised services for local authorities and public transport operators that are considering or planning schemes using smart technology. Operating completely independently of any supplier, Smartex offers unbiased and objective assistance through its network of specialists, covering the following areas of expertise:

    • In-house orientation workshops
    • Feasibility studies
    • Business case development for new ventures
    • Project design and planning
    • Conduct of site surveys
    • Generation of Invitations to Tender
    • Assistance with supplier selection
    • Supplier contract drafting and negotiation
    • Systems integration
    • Card chip selection, and assistance with chip mapping
    • Card and system security architecture design
    • Database topography and design
    • Project management
    • Quality assurance
    • Business process re-engineering
    • Data capture systems
    • Bureau-based card personalisation
    • Data cleansing services
    • Education and training services

    Smartex has unrivalled connections, based on its operation since 1993 of the world’s largest network of professional associations dedicated to smart technology.  Its associates have many years of experience in the practical aspects of introducing complex schemes.  

    For further information, or to arrange a no-obligation meeting to discuss your requirements, please contact Richard Poynder on or 07973 963015.