KIT and Nexus enable common card management across universities

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) uses Nexus Smart ID to set up a state-wide card management solution for universities in the state of Baden-Württemberg. The multifunctional cards can be used to open doors, pay for food in the cafeteria, and borrow books in city and state libraries. The solution is also a pilot for the European Student Card (ESC) for increased student mobility.

Since 2009, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) has been using Nexus’ systems for identity and access management to manage layout and encoding of multifunctional smart cards for students and staff. The system has gradually expanded to additional institutions in Karlsruhe.

Expanding long-term partnership

During 2019, even more universities and colleges in the state of Baden-Württemberg started using a common, so called bwCard for their students, faculty, and staff, including Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Duale Hochschule, University of Applied Sciences, Pädagogische Hochschule, University of Music, University of Arts and Design, University of Freiburg, and University of Konstanz. When all institutions are aboard, more than 120,000 cards will be active within the card federation.

The bwCard solution, which is managed by KIT, is one of the pilots for the European Student Card (ESC). The ESC project aims to align identification and access in universities across Europe to increase student mobility.

The bwCard includes RFID and PKI technologies for physical and digital access, visual identification with a photo, and a hologram, which is required for European Student Cards (ESC). Existing cards are also replaced to upgrade from MIFARE Classic to more secure MIFARE DESFire RFID technology. The use cases are many.

“The cards can be used to open doors, pay for food in the cafeteria, borrow books in city and state libraries, and for employees to handle time management. And the validity of the card can be checked at all locations, no matter which university the student comes from,” says Ulrich Weiss, Department Head in the Steinbuch Centre for Computing at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT).

One central installation makes administration easier

The layout and encoding of the cards are managed by Nexus Smart ID . The provisioned credentials are exported into distributed databases that can be accessed from all connected universities. The card management solution is managed centrally from KIT, with separate tenants for the different universities.

“Having the core software in one location makes it easy to maintain a controlled and highly secured IT environment. And with the built-in processes in Nexus Smart ID, basic printing tasks can easily be assigned to non-IT persons locally. It also integrates well with the heterogeneous IT environment of the different universities,” says Ulrich Weiß.


About Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)

The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology is a public research university and one of the largest research and educational institutions in Germany. With more than 9,000 employees and an annual budget of about EUR 785 million, KIT is one of the biggest research and education institutions worldwide and has the potential of reaching a top position in selected research areas on an international level. The objective is to turn KIT into an institution of top research, excellent scientific education, and a prominent location of academic life, life-long learning, comprehensive advanced training, unrestricted exchange of know-how, and sustainable innovation culture.

To learn more about the bwCard project, click here.


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