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Shippensburg University tests NFC in school cafeterias

March 20, 2012

The NFC kiosks at Shippensburg University

Shippensburg University is letting students order meals via an NFC-enabled sticker at two cafeterias in the school.

The university is using the NFC program through the spring semester with the goal of extending it to a longer. Shippensburg University is working with Gold Mobile on this initiative.

“NFC is a new thing for a lot of people and students do not always understand how it works, so I think there is a bit of a learning curve, but a college audience is a good market,” said William Connor, Shippensburg, PA-based  assistant director of retail operations at Chartwells.

“We are trying to be on the forefront of interacting with students as they become more tech-savvy,” he said.

Chartwells is a division of Compass Group North America that works with more than 200 colleges and universities in the United States to provide dining services.

Mobile student
Shippensburg University has rolled out two NFC-enabled kiosks in the university’s student center and campus-operated Starbucks location.

Since beginning in January, the university has enrolled 400 students in the program.

The program is seeing an ROI of $1.50 for every dollar spent.

Additionally, the average amount for an NFC transaction is $5.15.

In order to sign up, consumers can register with a university employee at the kiosk. Users can also sign up for the service online.

The NFC-enabled kiosk

Each account syncs with a user’s phone number, which is how they are billed.

Once an account is registered, users are given an NFC-enabled sticker that they can use to tap to pay for things via the kiosk. Students can also choose to opt-in to an SMS program that the university can use to let them know about future promotions.

To show students how the system works, they can watch an informational video on the kiosk that walks them through the process of paying via their NFC chip.

Once users buy something through the kiosk, users are sent an SMS confirming their order. A copy of the receipt is also sent to a wireless printer inside the café where diners can pick up their meals.

The kiosks also let users download videos and wallpapers for their mobile devices and let users answer weekly trivia questions. To participate in trivia, users can choose to have questions sent to them via SMS and reply back to them with their answer to win prizes including free food.

Fast food
Shippensburg University is aiming to get 1,000 students registered by the end of the year with the goal of extending the program in the future.

College students are tied to their mobile devices, making the program a good way to educate consumers on how NFC technology works.

The kiosks at the university change weekly with new specials that students can only order using the NFC chip, which is a smart way to give users an incentive for using the technology.

Out of the 400 registered users, Mr.  Connor claims that 30-35 students are using the technology on a daily basis.

Approximately the same number of students are using the NFC chips to redeem mobile coupons, showing how users are willing to use their devices to buy things if there is a strong enough offer to persuade them to use it.

“The ideal setting of this is in a college campus because a student’s lifeline is their mobile device,” said Bob Gold, CEO of Gold Mobile, Iselin, NJ.

“It is very convenient and easy to use a device that they are so familiar with,” he said.

“NFC provides a full engagement that is fun, entertaining and money-saving for the students.”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York 

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One Response to “Shippensburg University tests NFC in school cafeterias”

  1. Cheryl Lucia Says:

    Use of NFC in colleges is a great idea. I can see a number of potential uses: Ubiquitous information, Networking, Smart Mobility, Entertainment, and of course the Food Service and eMoney already mentioned. Imagine new students using NFC technology to access ubiquitous information like a virtual guided tour of the college consisting of physical tags near places such as libraries, science labs, gyms, food halls, student lounges, etc. Students could tap their NFC-enabled mobile device on the tag to get more information about the place, the next location on the tour, and other nearby places of interest.

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