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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).

  • 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 7th August 2020

    The Role Of Payments In Higher Ed’s Great Digital Shift
    Universities around the world are working 24/7 to devise reopening plans for the 2020-21 school year amid the pandemic, Sharon Butler, Flywire's executive vice president of global education, tells Karen Webster. From deciding whether to hold classes in person or online to getting students to pay up and on time, the challenges are enormous — with payments now playing an even more important role. Here’s how.

    University of Essex and Cloudfm join forces to combat Covid-19
    Essex researchers will help Cloudfm develop intelligent Internet of Things (IoT) platforms to deliver fast, efficient and automated disinfection systems ...

    Blackbaud Hack: Universities lose data to ransomware attack
    [Surely Blackboard? Ed.]
    BBC News
    At least 10 universities in the UK, US and Canada have had data stolen about students and/or alumni after hackers attacked a cloud computing provider.
    The institutions the BBC has confirmed have been affected are University of York, Oxford Brookes University, Loughborough University, University of Leeds, University of London, University of Reading, University College, Oxford, Ambrose University in Alberta, Canada, Human Rights Watch, Young Minds, Rhode Island School of Design in the US and University of Exeter

    UK's University of Manchester has its head in all the clouds
    The Register
    University of Manchester has dished out a contract worth up to £50m to a handful of integrators to provision cloud services from the big three providers and build a tool for "consolidated and managed billing". In a framework agreement, the uni - based in the north west of England - said it aims to ease the procurement of AWS, Azure and Google Cloud Platform and (whisper it quietly) save money.

    Cheating prevention tools: helping to promote honesty and integrity in education
    Education Technology
    How can cheating prevention tools help institutions to ensure that their assessments are conducted in a secure and honest way? Keri Beckingham finds out.
    (A good summary of a very important issue with the rise in distance learning: Ed.)

    ColorID offering mobile ID starter kit for universities
    With many universities keen to implement a mobile ID solution, ColorID is offering a way for campuses to dip their toe into the mobile waters. The identification solutions provider is offering a “mobile ID starter kit” that enables universities to first trial a mobile ID solution without buying a campus-wide package.

    ACT’s smart technology is just the ticket for students
    ACT, a Fujitsu company PR
    ACT, a Fujitsu company, has developed a solution that enables educational settings to offer students easy access to subsidised transport. Providing students with access to subsidised travel is a key way to ensure students maintain the attendance they need to get the best possible education. By making this easy, through ACT’s Smart Enable platform, more students can benefit from affordable travel.

    Russia to Install Facial Recognition Tech in Every School
    More than 43,000 Russian schools will be equipped with facial recognition cameras ominously named “Orwell,” according to a news report by The Moscow Times. The Orwell platform is described as a image-recognition monitoring system that uses computer vision algorithms, and will be integrated with face recognition, as well, says the report.
    (Accept the cookies to get in. Too many taps on this interesting but scary item and you’ll have to register. Ed.)

    CR80News Chats: Mobile ID, card issuance solutions for a post-coronavirus campus
    CR80News Chats: Mobile ID, card issuance solutions for a post-coronavirus campus. A chat with HID Global's Tim Nyblom about challenges ...

    UKWA teams up with elite university group to develop integrated platform for warehouses
    Materials Handling World Magazine
    ... integration of IoT (Internet of Things) with operational platforms aimed at capturing efficiencies and driving productivity in logistics and warehousing.

    Imperial College London signs £5m campus sponsorship, 5G deal with Chinese comms bogeyman Huawei
    The Register
    Imperial College London, currently in the headlines for its modelling of the spread of COVID-19 across the UK, has signed a five-year collaboration deal with controversial Chinese tech outfit Huawei. The tie-up, reportedly worth £5m, will see Huawei's indoor 5G network equipment and "AI cloud platform" installed at the college's West London tech campus, as well sponsorship by the Chinese firm of Imperial's Venture Catalyst entrepreneurship competition.
    (Imp’s PR department will be doing overtime burying yet another daft plan. Can’t forecast and can’t do sensible deals. Ed.)

    Safer campus security with touchless access control, contactless credentials
    Not only is this less secure than newer smart technology options, magnetic stripe isn't contactless. Students touch their cards, swipe them through ...

    Transact Mobile Credential for Google Pay Now Available
    PR Web
    Meeting the needs of mobile-savvy students, Transact Campus Inc. today launched the availability of Transact Mobile Credential for Google Pay. First announced in early 2020, students, faculty, and staff can now use their Android mobile phones to easily access facilities and make contactless payments on and around campus.

    Creating secure IDs with cloud-based card issuance
    Universities are making a shift to cloud-based card-issuance solutions to enable a remote card issuance experience, and redefine the economics of card issuance by ushering in new service-based models. HID Global’s Robin Tandon explains all the ins and outs of cloud-based card issuance.

    Education gets smart: how the IoT is changing our schools
    New and exciting Internet of Things (IoT) applications are making our world more efficient and connected than ever. We are seeing new and ...

    Interview with Nick Earle, CEO of Eseye: “Using IoT to Deliver Greater Connectivity Across the Globe”
    We work with global brands and empower them to utilise IoT (Internet of Things) to save company resources, money, and critically, time. We are a ...

    IoT news of the week for April 17, 2019
    Stacey on IoT
    The internet of things doesn't have to solve every problem: We've been hearing a lot about contact tracing using cell phones, or companies putting up ...



    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!"