US1017 set out to explore student expectations of being able to use a phone to access the main library building and to incorporate this learning into a proof of concept
The project investigated the feasibility of enabling door entry/exit by authenticating the user via smartphone. The focus was on facilitating Main Library door access.
The project had two strands. Firstly, to test the mechanism by which a student with a mobile phone exhibiting a validated one - time QR code can quickly gain access to the Main Library without their University card, similar to transport operators.
• Proof of concept would utilise two optical QR barcode scanners, one placed either side of the glass door in the library at main reception.
• Students recruited to the project would install a specific Android app onto their phone to generate a short term one-time QR code that can be scanned and checked at the reception desk in the Main Library.
• Receptionist seeing a positive scan response as authenticating the student, permits access. This would have application for students who have forgotten to bring their card.
Secondly, to test the mechanism by which a student with a mobile phone exhibiting a Bluetooth Low Energy can open a speedlane in the Main Library without their University card.
Analysis of Resource Usage:
Staff Usage Estimate: 10 days
Staff Usage Actual: 10 days
Other Resource Estimate: £9076
Other Resource Actual: £1066
Other Resource Variance: 88%
The first strand of the project looking at using QR codes as means of access was able to make the following progress:
- Configured a back end central processing system for handing out QR codes to validated clients
- Developed an app to run on Android that displays an animated and time varying sequence of QR codes to create a secure non-copiable token system for transactions, such as the specific use case for this project gaining entry to the main library.
- Successfully tested integration of the scanning system with the constituent parts of the door entry system that reflect what is deployed in the main library.
- A server for the back end central processing system for handing out QR codes to validated clients was configured.
- The project was not able to implement this on the glass door entrance to the main library in time.
The second strand of the project looking at Bluetooth Low Energy was not able to progress as the terms and conditions required by the supplier, HiD, were ones which raised a number of concerns with the project team which were shared by our Information Security team.
Explanation for variance
After establishing that we could not proceed with Bluetooth Low Energy, there was no further requirement for purchase of additional RPK40 readers and licences. In addition, as the project ran out of time, no spend was made on paying students to work as testers of the solutions.
Key Learning Points
Bringing the project commencement forward would give greater opportunity for project completion ahead of end of July. Although proof of concept for QR codes was investigating whether a door could be unlocked by QR code using a unique code that students could generate, a workable product would likely need to work on opening the Main Library speedlanes rather than the glass door at Reception.
Given that we currently have ruled out Bluetooth Low Energy as a workable solution at the moment, any short term future development would need to focus on QR codes as a means to allow access. In order to progress towards a workable product, the following would be required:
- Investigation into installing QR code readers into the speedlanes in the Main Library to be carried out and estimate any costs
- Further development of the Android app and development of an iOS app that displays an animated and time varying sequence of QR codes to create a secure non-copiable token system for transactions.
- Establish of any oncosts for back end server maintenance.