Slide background
  • 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).

  • 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


  • 'Smart Savings with a Smarter Campus'

    The Old Ship Hotel, Kings Rd, Brighton BN1 1NR


    Also supported by:


    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 17th & 18th March 2020.

    HESCA20 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.  This year the event is being kindly supported by the University of Brighton.

    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 HESCA20.



    The following main themes and topics are planned:

    •  On-campus payments: how to improve efficiencies and save money
      •  Can cash be eradicated?
      •  Closed loop vs. open loop (cEMV)
      • Smart cards and/or smartphones
    •  Effective student retention strategies: how an automated attendance recording/monitoring system can pay for itself within three years
    • The new access control topography: balancing need with minimising CapEx and OpEx
      • Upgrading your ACS
      • Implementing a new ACS
    •  Developing a common HEI smartphone app suite: a generic HEI framework could yield huge savings
      •  Replacing functions currently supported by smart campus cards
      •  Adding new functions not possible with smart campus cards
    •  The impact of upgrading smart campus tokens: can upgrading be inexpensive?
      • From Mifare Classic to Mifare DESFire
      • From smart cards to smartphones
    •  Addressing the Apple iPhone problem: HESCA can help HEIs to convince Apple to free up NFC
    • Identity considerations: authentication and authorisationcan you afford not to tackle digital ID?
      • Biometrics on smartphones
      • Biometrics on smart cards
      • Biometric readers on doors
      • PINs

    As always, leading suppliers 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 17th March 

    Our traditional cocktail reception will be held in the early evening of 17th March in the HESCA20 venue, to provide further opportunities for delegates, speakers and exhibitors to meet and share experiences and requirements.

    Evening dinner on 17th March 

    The popular event dinner is taking place at a local restaurant, at 7.00pm on the evening of 17th March.  Delegates, speakers and exhibitors may reserve places with us for this dinner at their own cost (approx. £50 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 17th March 

    Overnight accommodation

    We will provide attendees with the preferential rate being negotiated for HESCA20 attendees at the event venue, The Old Ship Hotel.

    How to book to attend HESCA20 

    To book your place at HESCA20, please complete the online booking form or contact me at or on 01440 712610.

    Do of course let me know if you have any questions on the above, and we very much hope to welcome you at HESCA20 in Brighton.

  • 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 +44(0)1440 712610, 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 23rd October 2020

    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.

    Digital identity: new UK scheme risks running a repeat of ID card controversy
    Coventry University Blog Network
    Estonia has a mandatory scheme that includes an ID card but can also be used as definitive proof of identity online. It's used for travelling, national ...
    (Amazing what lack of clarity exists regarding UKDID, as reported here. Ed.)

    Digital identity: new UK scheme risks running a repeat of ID card controversy
    Coventry University Blog Network
    Estonia has a mandatory scheme that includes an ID card but can also be used as definitive proof of identity online. It's used for travelling, national ...
    (Amazing what lack of clarity exists regarding UKDID, as reported here. Ed.)

    Developing algorithms to detect earliest signs of COVID-19 from biometric smartwatch data  [USA]
    Purdue University researchers have begun a study that would help determine if continuously collected biometric smartwatch data could be used to ...

    Wondering how to tell the world you've been hacked?
    The Register
    Infosec boffins at the University of Kent have developed a "comprehensive playbook" for companies who, having suffered a computer security breach, want to know how to shrug off the public consequences and pretend everything's fine.

    Victims of Blackbaud ransomware attack to take legal action
    IT Governance
    Students and staff at the University of Cumbria who were affected by the ransomware attack on Blackbaud are preparing to take legal action against the software provider.

    Collect your student ID card
    Bournemouth University
    Your student ID card contains key information about you and allows you to access a number of different systems around BU, including: printers, car ...
    (Are the old ways the best ways? Ed.)

    US: Marshall University goes mobile credential only for student IDs
    Marshall University has taken the decision to move exclusively to mobile credential on its campus, making the Marshall Mobile ID the only form campus credential being issued to students, faculty and staff. Marshall is a Transact Mobile Credential campus, and began provisioning the Marshall Mobile ID last summer.

    Project gives more power to young people to shape the way Sheffield feels and looks
    The Star
    This week AR’ City will be exhibiting its playful tech in the Moor as a part of Festival Of The Mind. The project is run by the social enterprise AALFY in partnership with the University of Sheffield and tech organisations in Sheffield to use smart technology to improve the city. The need for smart cities was identified in a government report as early as 2013. The move towards smart cities provides “cities with greater autonomy to achieve the outcomes which meet their own particular needs” and helps “develop a vision for city regeneration.”

    Intelligent Campus Data Protection Impact Assessment Toolkit.
    Intelligent Campuses use existing data and new sensors to deliver better places to study, work, live and socialise. But there’s a risk with any use of data or sensors that even the best-intentioned ideas will be misused or misunderstood: as inappropriate, intrusive or even surveillance.

    Use student ID cards in Wallet on iPhone
    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 ...
    (Interesting: Ed.  What’s a ‘supported campus’?)

    Student ID CARDS
    Oxford Brookes University
    Once you have completed online enrolment and are fully enrolled your Student ID card will be posted to you. If you enrolled before the 7 September ...
    (Ed. would have failed this one at the first hurdle…)

    Voice recognition technology doesn't work for kids - and it's hurting them in the classroom
    World Economic Forum
    Popular voice assistants such as Alexa, Siri and Google use speech recognition software to answer your questions, but kids' language is highly ...

    NEW REPORT: Universities' Digital Onboarding Orientation
    In the latest Digital Consumer Onboarding Tracker®, PYMNTS takes a closer look at how the pandemic has affected universities’ onboarding of and interactions with new students as well as how they can provide resources to these individuals once that process has been finalized

    Vanderbilt University adds mobile credential to Apple Wallet
    Vanderbilt University is now enabling students, faculty and staff to add their Commodore Card, the Vanderbilt student ID, to Apple Wallet for use via their iPhone and Apple Watch. Vanderbilt, a CBORD campus client, is leveraging CBORD’s GET app to add student credentials to Apple Wallet, as well as reader hardware from HID Global to support the full range of transactions across the Nashville campus.

    Newcastle Uni 'completely crippled' by pandemic and cyber attack
    Romek Security
    Staff at Newcastle University are warning the institution is "completely crippled" and said they have "no idea how we are going to welcome students in three weeks' time" due to the double impact of the coronavirus pandemic and a cyber attack.

    Buckinghamshire New University supports launch of The Security Consortium
    Security Matters
    BUCKINGHAMSHIRE NEW University, Frontier Risks Group, the Silverback Security Academy and the SGW Consulting Group have joined forces to launch The Security Consortium with a stated mission of inspiring and developing excellence in security, risk and resilience through innovative, current and collaborative learning opportunities, accredited qualifications and general support for the global interconnected security profession.

    Paxton COVID-secure tutorials and resources
    Security News Desk
    Paxton is pleased to announce that their free COVID-secure live webinars are now available on demand – they can be watched anywhere, anytime at your convenience.

    Newcastle University cyber attack 'to take weeks to fix'
    Romek Security News
    Newcastle University has been hit by a cyber attack which is expected to take "a number of weeks" to sort out. It comes after a recent hack on Northumbria University, which affected exams and its clearing hotline. The issue has been reported to the Information Commissioner's Office and police after the IT problem came to light a week ago.

    Zyter Introduces Smart Universities™
    ... health and IoT-enablement platform, announced today the availability of Zyter Smart Universities™, an Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity platform ...

    University of York student lands funding for new payment app
    …KodyPay is a mobile payment platform that allows users to pay for goods in-stores via their mobile phone without needing to queue, making it a quick and easy process. The app, launched by management school undergraduate student, Yoyo Chang in October 2019, was initially trialled at selected Nisa supermarkets on campus. Now, thanks to a £1.8 million investment from a consortium of high-profile private investors, the platform is currently being prepared to be rolled out across stores located on campus.

    school travel with Southeastern the Key smartcard
    ... ahead of the 'Back to School' rush by encouraging students to register for The Key travel card, an ITSO enabled smartcard from Southeastern rail.

    Hofstra needs to explore digital student cards
    The Hofstra Chronicle
    ... the average Hofstra student constantly handles their student ID card. ... begin to slowly phase out physical cards in favor of contactless options, ...

    Host of colleges adopt facial recognition, temperature scanning biometric system [USA]
    The combination biometric system is called PopEntry+ and a few institutions see potential for it to help ensure a safer return to campus life amid the ...

    Back to School travel with Southeastern thanks to The Key contactless card
    Students are being urged to register for a contactless travel card with Southeastern. The Key cards are able to be loaded with a range of tickets, from ...

    With Help From HUB Parking Technology LNER Contactless Car Parking Is Just The Ticket
    Parking Network
    London North Eastern Railway (LNER) is introducing a new contactless parking system across the East Coast route, enabling a completely ...

    Here are some top tips for pupils wearing masks on school transport
    Glasgow Times
    …School pupils must allow passengers exiting the bus to get off before they get on, wear a face covering before boarding and must not remove the covering until they have got off the bus. They must sit at the back of the bus alongside other pupils, ring the bell so passengers don’t have to queue to disembark, observe social distancing at all times, pay by smartcard or contactless
    (Um, just eight rules then: Ed.)

    Mass Biometric Scanning Of Students Is COVID-19's Latest Dystopian Twist
    COVID-19 has disrupted almost everything. Most schools in the United States wrapped up the 2019-2020 school year with zero students in their ...
    (The USA continues to struggle with the concept of biometric recognition systems: Ed.)



    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 01440 712610.


    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 01440 712610.

  • Smart moves for your smarter campus
    Conference: Exhibition: Workshop
    19th & 20th March 2019

    Marriott Royal Hotel, College Green, Bristol: 19th & 20th March 2019


    What they said about this event:

    "It was a great conference...  We made some good contacts and had some very useful chats with the right people".

    "I found the event very informative, it is always good to know what other Universities are using and their journey of how they got where they are"

    "Thanks for all your support over the 2 days.  We've certainly learned a  lot and are looking forward to attending the next event".

    "Many thanks for organizing such a great conference: I thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of the two days".

    "Many thanks for all your help and support over the 2 days in HESCA.  Really enjoyed my first HESCA and look forward to the next one".

    "Great event and thanks as always for doing a great job at looking after us".

    "Very interesting presentation from Lawrence regarding the usage of cards on university campuses (applications, security, implementation and backward compatibility)".

    "...we shall certainly be there in 2020.  Overall another very good event.  Thanks for all your work/help and support".

    "The overwhelming message this year was the drive to move to all things mobile, everyone without exception agreed that although it’s not an overnight change, the Student ID card would eventually be replaced by something equivalent on mobile". 

    “VMC enjoyed another brilliant HESCA event this year, superbly hosted by Smartex. It was wonderful to catch up with many of our HEI customers and to make some new contacts in the industry. We’re looking forward to the next HESCA event already!”

    "As expected, an excellent event".

    "...really appreciated and such a great event you guys put on!"