MIT Card Office

The mission of the MIT ID Card and the MIT Card Office is to actively contribute to the safety, convenience, and quality of life of all members of the MIT community. With a focus on customer service, the MIT ID Card serves as the Institute's universal passport to the widest possible array of campus services, facilities, and activities. The MIT ID Card is aggressively marketed, widely accepted, and offers excellent, convenient, and secure customer service.


In the past year, the MIT Card Office has made great strides towards meeting the objectives and goals set out for it a year ago. As part of Enterprise Services, the MIT Card Office continued to enhance and expand upon its core services through close collaboration with other departments both within and outside of Enterprise Services.

The MIT Card Office expanded upon its relationship with the TechCash Office by closely integrating both organizations' customer service functions. A cornerstone of this collaboration was the addition of an Athena Quick Station computer in the MIT Card Office customer service area which allows walk-in customers the ability to open or manage their TechCash Multi-Plan financial accounts through an innovative, self-service account management web site. Together the MIT Card Office, the TechCash Office, and the Parking and Transportation Office continue to develop crossplatform customer service policies and procedures in order to fully realize the concept of a combined, one-stop Card Services entity to better serve the entire MIT community.

Perhaps the single most impressive achievement of the MIT Card Office in the past year was the tremendously successful upgrade of the campus-wide electronic access system and the infrastructure which supports it. This upgrade allows the MIT Card to fully implement planned improvements to the Institute's electronic building access system.

As a result, the MIT Card Office now has the ability to securely communicate card access information from a central database to remote locations via the network as opposed to dedicated leased telephone circuits. The MIT Card Office, with the approval of the Information Technology Architecture Group, installed a Virtual Private Network system to protect the building-to-building transmission of card data. This enhancement greatly increases the security, speed, robustness, flexibility, and scalability of the entire electronic access infrastructure.

The migration of the MIT card access system to a network-based infrastructure has allowed the MIT Card Office to realize another of the goals set out for it a year ago. The MIT Card Office now has the ability to decentralize the administration of building security out to its client departments. By utilizing security client stations located across campus, individual departments can now manage their own building security, deciding who should have access to their own secure spaces or when their doors should be unlocked. There are currently more than a dozen such client stations deployed at the Institute with another two dozen planned for installation in the near future.

One of the major accomplishments of this office that was not set out as a goal for it has been the involvement of the MIT Card Office in the evolution of the campus-wide alarm system at MIT. Thanks mainly to the successful upgrade of the electronic card access infrastructure, the MIT Card Office is positioned to take on a greater role in the security of the entire Institute. In partnership with the MIT Police Department and the IS Department, the MIT Card Office is developing a technological model of the intrusion and life-safety alarm system that will be adopted by MIT in the coming year. This new alarm system will make use of the enhanced card access infrastructure. Leveraging cutting edge security technology, the new alarm system will afford greater responsiveness and reliability for the MIT Police Department as they strive to meet the security and safety needs of the MIT community.

In the past year, the MIT Card Office has also set the stage for what will be the single greatest improvement to the MIT ID Card since its inception at MIT. Beginning in the summer of 2003, the MIT Card Office will roll out a dual-technology ID card. In addition to the traditional magnetic swipe functionality, the new ID card will also be enabled for proximity, or hands-free access technology. Along with providing greater ease-of-use for cardholders, the new proximity technology in use at MIT today will provide greater personal data security, will dramatically decrease overall system maintenance costs, and will greatly increase card life cycles.

As the on- and off-campus use of the MIT ID Card has grown by leaps and bounds, the MIT Card Office has adapted its internal policies and procedures in order to better respond to the increased significance of the ID card at the Institute. Since the MIT ID Card policies now have a greater day-to-day impact on a larger portion of the MIT community, the MIT Card Office decided that it could no longer make certain policy decisions in a vacuum. As a result, the MIT Card Office convened a special committee comprised of representatives from across the spectrum of the Institute to help the office determine and develop appropriate policies and procedures. The MIT Card Advisory Council meets monthly during the academic year to discuss MIT Card Office policies to ensure that these policies best reflect and serve the needs of the entire MIT community.

The pride that the entire MIT Card Office staff takes in providing the very best customer service possible to the MIT community is evidenced by the fact that the office won its third consecutive Infinite Mile award for excellence in customer service. In the coming year, the MIT Card Office plans to build upon the tremendous success that it has achieved in order to continue to streamline the delivery of its services, to expand the number and types of services that it offers, and to continue to provide the very best customer service possible.

Daniel L. Michaud


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