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Before a campus goes virtual, there are real issues to consider.

Virtual desktop technology allows students and staff to access sophisticated software on a laptop or mobile device. It also can strengthen network security and lower expenses by reducing the need for actual computers and lab space on campus.

In regard to desktop virtualization, what aspects of implementation do higher ed institutions tend to overlook?

“It’s easy to overlook security when implementing new technologies, and a good example of this is desktop virtualization. It’s an efficient way to deploy the same functionality across multiple machines, however, you’ll most likely need to adjust security practices to fit the new virtual environment.”

—Slawek Ligier, vice president of Security Engineering, Barracuda

The University of Central Florida, a campus of 60,000, decided to virtualize applications rather than entire desktops.

UCF Apps lets users access the specific software needed for coursework. After downloading and installing a Citrix receiver client, students can log in and get the apps that have been provisioned to their account based on their area of study.

Say cheese: Most University of Alabama students avoid waiting in line at the Action Card office for an ID by submitting their application online. For anyone unable to access that system or who needs a replacement card, the office is ready to assist.

Regardless of the size of the staff or office, efficient campus card programs share several best practices: A focus on customer service, cutting-edge technology and collaboration with the campus community and beyond.

What aspects of customer service do campus card offices seem to do best with—and in what areas do they struggle the most? 

Effective card offices focus on bottom-line growth. “Two of the benefits we bring to our campus are cost reduction and revenue growth,” says John Beckwith, director of campus business services at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

For instance, before its single-card program launched in 1997, the campus had seven different cards for students to use, with separate ones for ID, library, transportation, event tickets, food services, laundry and room entry.

Here are some reasons to switch to a passive optical network. (Click to enlarge graphic)

Unlike wine or cheese, networks don’t tend to improve with age. That’s why some higher ed institutions are looking toward passive optical LAN—unlike copper cabling that’s been in place for decades, a fiber-based passive optical network offers faster, cheaper and more secure networks.

Thanks to a new VoIP-based phone system, Eastern Oregon University no longer needs outside consultants to work on system infrastructure.

Have you ever made a call with a soft phone? You have if you’ve ever Skyped or used FaceTime. It also means you’re on the cutting-edge of phone communications.

Artificial intelligence has come out of research labs and onto college and university campuses to aid students and faculty. It remains in the very early stages of making education more effective, accessible and affordable—but it’s beginning to transform learning environments and campus services.

Students at California’s Santa Clara University are tapping their campus cards for various on-campus services instead of swiping, with the use of NFC technology. With convenience and efficiency as key drivers, the university plans to transition its NFC offerings to include mobile devices within the next couple of years.

Campus cards accomplish many tasks—from purchasing meals and vending machine snacks to unlocking dorm rooms and other campus facilities. A growing number of colleges and universities now offer even greater convenience, having replaced less-secure swipe cards with “contactless” cards and mobile devices that perform the same functions.

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