Problem of inefficient room utilisation tackled at Dutch university with intelligent building technology

Scientia, a provider of academic planning, scheduling, and resource management solutions for the Higher Education sector, is partnering with Netherlands-based Lone Rooftop, provider of cloud software applications designed to optimise the utilisation of university buildings.

As increasing numbers of institutions are reaching the limits of their teaching capacity, they are looking to technology to help them optimise existing real estate. By using location data anonymously sourced from existing Wi-Fi networks, the Lone Rooftop Position Intelligence Engine (PIE) is able to calculate the specific location of people in all parts of buildings, quickly providing timetabling teams and estate managers with insightful and actionable intelligence.

Scientia is using this technology to support its global customer base with clearer insights into room occupancy rates for university buildings, helping to address the challenge of under-utilised buildings and excess capacity across university estates.

Dashboard for the web application, showing how many students are present in each classroom

The ability for universities to gain accurate usage data for buildings, rooms and teaching spaces will drive more efficient scheduling of rooms and resources, significantly reducing costs – including the building of unnecessary, additional teaching space.

This technology is already being used at Wageningen University & Research in the Netherlands. The university was approaching the limits of capacity and needed to find a smarter way to manage rooms and schedules.

Visualisation showing room occupancy in one of Wageningen’s buildings.

By using occupancy measurements, scheduling has become more efficient for each semester and cases where alternative smaller rooms were more appropriate have been identified. This helps the timetabling team to accommodate more students within the university’s existing capacity.

“With the single push of a button, my team gains insight into lectures that are consistently underutilised and how many ‘no-shows’ have taken place in a period, or for specific lectures” says Fred Jonker, Information Services policy officer at Wageningen University & Research.

Jonathan Armstrong, partner manager at Scientia, commented: “This is a strong partnership that brings a best-of-breed approach to the market. Our timetabling and room booking products are complemented with real-time data that displays how space is actually being used, versus the planned classes.

This is used to realise significant cost and space savings, by addressing smaller-than-planned and shorter-than-planned classes, or complete no-shows. The technology will enable our customers to schedule more lectures and increase student numbers, all within their existing building capacity.”

Marcel Lamers, CEO at Lone Rooftop, added: “We believe that Intelligent Buildings – those that can identify the real-time location of people and fully adapt to that – can encourage process changes that will ultimately lead to the optimisation of space, time and energy, and a reduction of waste.

The value of our technology can be extended to drive improvements in facilities and real estate management, security, climate, lighting and energy management, among other possibilities. This partnership has great potential for Scientia’s customers when it comes to efficient use of building space.”

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