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Campus Cards Go Contactless With Blackboard

New Card Technology Brings Enhanced Security, Convenience and Speed
WASHINGTON, March 5, 2010 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Blackboard Inc. (Nasdaq: BBBB) today announced the general availability of Release 3.6 of Blackboard Transact(TM), and with it the introduction of a unique contactless campus ecosystem that aims to make the student experience significantly more convenient and secure.

Developed specifically for higher education institutions in the United States, the fully integrated technology platform transforms the way students navigate life on and off campus. Using smart cards with built-in chips that enable payment or entry with a wave or a tap, students can get into secure buildings and facilities, pay for books, meals and laundry and even access campus events - all at significantly faster speeds than with traditional identification technologies.

Already used by hundreds of institutions to support campus commerce and security, Blackboard Transact is the first platform to fully support the industry leading, standards based Near Field Communication (NFC) contactless technology. And while there are more than 400 million cards and mobile phones worldwide that carry Sony's FeliCa contactless technology, Blackboard's platform is the first to bring FeliCa to U.S. colleges and universities to enable a faster, safer, more convenient system that integrates better with many technologies already on campus.

"We saw Blackboard's contactless solution as a way for us to keep pace with rapidly changing technology by adopting a solution based on industry standards," said Nirmal Palliyaguru, Director of ACCESS and Conference Services at Santa Clara University. "We knew that Blackboard Transact would help us solve the challenge of increasing data security and establish a base from which we could expand the platform in years to come. Ultimately we see this technology allowing us to replace campus ID cards with mobile phones and devices as the ID."

"To continually improve the student experience it is critical to methodically innovate and introduce new technologies that meet the increasing demands of today's students and deliver real return on every dollar invested," said David Marr, President and Chief Operating Officer of Blackboard Transact. "Smart contactless technology meets these criteria by letting institutions support and monitor all commerce and security activity from one place while students enjoy the on demand college experience they've come to expect."

With Sony's FeliCa technology, the Blackboard Transact contactless solution offers a secure file system and data communications structure that enables communication between the software, the card reader and the FeliCa card via mutual authentication and encrypted data transfer.

Along with the release of Blackboard Transact 3.6, the company also introduced a new contactless card reader specifically designed for contactless transactions. The flagship model, the VR4100 Contactless Vending Reader, supports Bluetooth and full video playback, allowing for a rich video experience for advertising, alerts and notifications and other special messages on a full color touch screen.

By introducing contactless, the Blackboard Transact platform brings an innovative solution to a wide array of institutional needs and helps institutions more fully leverage their investments in technology. The platform includes capabilities within two integrated modules that are complemented by a host of strategic consulting and support services:

  • Commerce Management: facilitates campus ID card issuance, on-campus, off-campus, and online commerce; cashless payment processing for dining, bookstore, vending, laundry, copy, print and parking services; financial reporting; and self-service account management.
  • Security Management: monitors all campus activity using integrated door access control, video surveillance and mass notification capabilities.

For more information about Blackboard Transact contactless solutions, please visit http://www.blackboard.com/contactless.

About Blackboard Inc.

Blackboard Inc. (Nasdaq: BBBB) is a global leader in enterprise technology and innovative solutions that improve the experience of millions of students and learners around the world every day. Blackboard's solutions allow thousands of higher education, K-12, professional, corporate, and government organizations to extend teaching and learning online, facilitate campus commerce and security, and communicate more effectively with their communities. Founded in 1997, Blackboard is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with offices in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.

Any statements in this press release about future expectations, plans and prospects for Blackboard and other statements containing the words "believes," "anticipates," "plans," "expects," "will," and similar expressions, constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results may differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements as a result of various important factors, including the factors discussed in the "Risk Factors" section of our Form 10-K filed on February 17, 2010 with the SEC. In addition, the forward-looking statements included in this press release represent the Company's views as of March 5, 2010. The Company anticipates that subsequent events and developments will cause the Company's views to change. However, while the Company may elect to update these forward-looking statements at some point in the future, the Company specifically disclaims any obligation to do so. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing the Company's views as of any date subsequent to March 5, 2010.

SOURCE Blackboard Inc.