Samantha Callender, For The Miami Student

When Miami University students and hourly employees return to campus in the fall, they will be greeted with a new way to clock in to their campus jobs and enter their residence halls.

Over the summer, 960 telephones were installed and updated with Cisco and Kronos 6.1 software. The new time clocks affect all of those who are hourly employees and use Kronos on Miami’s main and regional campuses. Though time clocks (ID Badge Readers) will remain in heavily populated areas (i.e dining halls and King Library) other time clocks will be replaced with Cisco phones in common areas and in offices, according to Anne Wheeler, manager of Payroll Services.

The simple difference in the new time clocks compared to the previous ones is a software upgrade. Another noticeable difference is that employees can easily see that they have successfully punched in and out or transferred time on the new Cisco phones that have the Cisco/Kronos software installed. The older system only displayed the user’s ID number when the employee would clock in. Wheeler said that will also allow managers to more quickly view a list of employees with missed punches or other exceptions, making it easier to spot and resolve timecard issues.

Wheeler said the decision to switch from the previous clock Kronos timekeeping systems to the new combination telephone/clock system was due largely in part to outdated software and the inability for the old clocks to be upgraded again.

Replacing the existing clock system with a combination clock/telephone system was the most fiscally feasible option.

According to Wheeler, “Replacing the old system would have cost approximately $200,000. Purchasing new and upgraded clocks costs $50,000.”

The addition of the timekeeping software to existing phones allows reduced costs while expanding service. Wheeler said Funds for the new system were drawn from the IT Service budget which were allotted for the old system. 

However, some students are having trouble getting used to the new system.

“The whole phone/clock system is a little confusing,” junior student employee Eric Wynn said. “I kind of just like the old swipe system better.”

Employees using the new system are encouraged (but not required) to attend a hands-on training session to become acquainted with the Kronos/Cisco software and phone time clock.

In addition to new time clocks, Miami University students will also be greeted with new student ID cards. The new cards will have an image of MacCracken Hall surrounded by autumn foliage along with the student’s ID photo, according to Larry Fink, assistant vice president for Housing and Auxiliaries Finance.

The new ID cards, called “Smart Cards” work with the new door access system the university has installed. The cards are classified as “duel technology” and include a smart chip embedded in the card as well as a magnetic strip, Fink said.

Compared to the previous “swipe” ID cards, the new ID system will allow students to simply touch the card reader to enter the residence hall, as well as entering the room. The touch technology operates with a wireless signal, so if a student reports their ID stolen that ID card is disabled, automatically stopping unauthorized use of a student’s ID card to gain entry to a residence hall, room or other uses of the ID card.

“I like the new ID cards, they’re pretty,” said junior Carmen Taylor, a resident assistant in Dodds Hall.

Taylor said she likes the new design of the cards and the touch screen technology.

At this time, only students living on campus will be required to obtain a new ID card.  Students will receive a new card when they move into their residence hall and upper class students living in the residence halls will be required to turn in their old Miami ID to receive a new one, according to Fink.

Students living off campus will not be required to exchange their IDs immediately as the old swipe cards will still work at dining halls, libraries, vending machines and other locations on campus.  Eventually, the campus will be converted to the Smart Card Technology and the student body will have to be re-carded, Fink said.