The SEAM Series: Tending Loving Hardware

Oyster cards and contactless payments have helped tapping become part of the fabric of our daily life. For our pilot students this will now extend to tapping in to their timetable activities using our brand new card readers.

Last week we touched upon the What, When, Why and Who? For SEAM. Today we look at the how, delving into the new hardware being installed across City.

A-ha! That’s what that is…

35 rooms are part of the pilot with card readers being installed in College, Tait, Drysdale, University and Centenary. Students will be provided with a unique card that allows them to tap in as they enter their timetable activity. We have assessed all pilot rooms, and for the larger rooms we have installed multiple devices to help manage the through flow of students into these teaching spaces to ensure ease of access that will not impact teaching time.

Louise Wessen, Work Stream Lead for Procurement, and myself had some friday fun boomeranging the newly installed card readers and making sure they are ready for students!


Tender loving care

In April 2018 two hardware tenders were put out for bids from external providers; one for card readers and another for beacon technology.  The tender for card readers was awarded in May 2018 to SEAtS, the company also providing the software for attendance monitoring. The beacon tender is still in discussion.

Brecon Beacons – What’s geography got to do with this?

Beacons are small devices that will be stuck on the ceilings of lecture theatres that will allow students to use the Bluetooth on their mobile phones. It will be super easy – the student signs into a mobile application, the Bluetooth on their phone will ping the beacon and it will record their attendance. The tender for beacons is ongoing in order to ensure the external provider can meet the requirements needed to be successful.

Beacons could also have the potential for wider applications across City and is currently a driver to future proof the organisation for new exciting developments in technology.

So will pilot students have one student card?

For now, students will have two cards; their student card and the attendance monitoring card. The University are looking at replacing swipe cards in the future but this will not be in place for SEAM’s first pilot. To make it as easy as possible for pilot students they will receive one lanyard that can fit cards on both sides just like Cass students who use our Aldersgate campus.

What if a student taps in for someone else?

This remains a risk in both the manual and technological solution with no solution able to eliminate this completely. In the future the SEAM series we will look at what communications our pilot students will receive and ensuring we sell the student benefits of attendance monitoring.

Next up…

We look at the work of the Personalised Timetables project and what it has been up to since its launch.

Samuel Adams


  1. If only all our students entered lecture rooms as enthusiastically as you do, Sam!

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