Operating the smart campus

This is the second of a 3-part blog series about the evolution of the smart campus and the benefits of using a campus management system in the operation of a smart campus.

By Geert van Offeren, Strategic Product Marketeer at Planon

The first blog of this series was about the evolution of the smart campus and the technologies and concepts that are propelling us towards an intelligent campus. If delivering a ‘smart campus’ is part of your university’s mission and goals, then it should also be a priority and requirement for your university to implement integrated campus management technologies that will allow your teams to manage the growing physical and digital scope of the ‘smart campus.’

In my last blog, we explored the topic of space optimisation, and how understanding how your space is utilised can reveal several challenges from a technology perspective. For instance, what technology is required to generate, collect, and store real-time data? How are alerts and holds managed for space planning and spaces booked in advance, and when there are changes to them? And if all your space seems to always be booked, do you have a system in place to help you analyse why? Can your systems interpret real-time data and make changes based on space planning, historical space usage, weather data, traffic data and real-time and historical student behaviour?

Getting the basics in place for space

Firstly, to tackle this space utilisation example, the technology tools to collect the required data must be available and implemented. This means that a university needs a standardised approach to its internal data such as a standard process for collecting basic data about available spaces, space planning, and historical data about space usage. In addition, universities will need a way to collect and incorporate external data such as weather data, traffic data, and data on historical and actual student behaviour.

Secondly, university teams need access to standardised tools and functionality that support the processes around space planning, and then additional room booking must be in place. Thirdly, integrations between internal and external data sources must be established in order to aggregate all required data. And finally, all aggregated data must be available in one platform, so that it is possible to analyse the data in real time and to make immediate predictions using established algorithms and machine learning.

When all required data sources and tools are in place, real-time predictions can be made for space planning and usage. This creates numerous benefits for campus productivity, cost efficiency, and student and staff satisfaction and contributes to the ‘smart campus’ experience.

This all starts with getting the basics in place. Basic space data and processes around space planning, space usage, and room booking can be expertly supported by an Integrated Campus Management System.

The role of campus management systems

Implementing and running an integrated campus management system is essential in operating the smart campus effectively. An Integrated Campus Management System can help standardise and manage all the necessary data to create smoother operations. These systems help universities create integrated, uniform processes that incorporate real estate, space, maintenance, and workplace management data.

They can also provide cost recovery functionality, student housing solutions, event management, or specific configurations based on higher education market standards, legislation, as well as established best practices specific to higher education processes.

Integrated campus management systems integrate with and support evolving technologies and innovations, such as the Internet of Things, analytics, 5G, BIM, CAD, and artificial intelligence. In fact, this is a key area in which an integrated campus management system plays a pivotal role in the evolution of the smart campus. Because it already holds the university’s data in a standardised way and can easily interact/integrate with other data sources, it is the ideal platform to utilise to collect and analyse data streams from new technology initiatives.

A proactive approach

The need for a reliable integrated campus management system increases as the complicated web of new technologies spreads on campus to enable students and staff to be more effective and efficient in daily practice and live, work, and play on an intelligent campus. However, instead of implementing smart campus solutions as a reaction to new technologies, a campus of the future will utilise smart campus technology to drive its digital transformation to create better communication, connections, and campus experiences for its students, staff, faculty, and visitors.

In the final blog of this series I will discuss different starting points for universities looking to get started with an Integrated Campus Management System.

To find out more about operating a Smart Campus, click here.

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