Cisco UK & Ireland Blog

Harnessing data to create more space-efficient campuses

May 3, 2018

In his second guest blog, Youri Wildeman of Lone Rooftop explains how higher education providers can create more intelligent campuses and make the most of their existing space.

In my previous blog, I talked about how many universities have more space and other resources available to them than they think, and how improving and monitoring the real-time utilisation of space can improve experiences for staff and students.

I also mentioned how I covered these issues at two recent events in London and Manchester. Talking to staff with job roles as diverse as Estates Director, Head of Space Strategy and Timetabling Manager, we found that they all had a desire to make better use of both their space and all their existing resources, from lecture rooms to IT resources to estates to timetabling.

They also realised that managing their existing space more effectively leads to other benefits, from providing better student experiences to optimising facility services as well as reducing their carbon footprint and saving money by eliminating unnecessary heating and lighting costs.

Perfect match – Cisco CMX + PIE

During the two events, we demonstrated several of our real-time space utilisation solutions that run on top of our platform PIE – Position Intelligence Engine. PIE is a 24/7 occupancy platform that can be integrated with all kinds of other apps and systems. Integrating timetabling solutions such as Syllabus Plus for instance, instantly provides continuous insights into vital information on:

  • Actual vs planned use of space
  • No-show rates across courses and locations
  • Structurally under-utilised courses and locations
  • Empty hours metrics whilst rooms are reserved
  • Detailed reports per course, location, week, term or faculty

As the square meterage across most university campuses is tremendous, being able to retrieve these insights in a scalable and cost-efficient way is imperative. A fully-fledged sensor solution for instance, would require purchasing, installing and supporting thousands and thousands of sensors, which is simply too costly and complex to manage.

Our philosophy to leverage existing data sources already available across your buildings therefore really sticks – and that existing data source is your Cisco wireless infrastructure. PIE connects to Cisco CMX, which provides raw analytical information on the number of devices and their location. The intelligent algorithms that define PIE will then translate this into the number of people in the building and their respective location, regardless if they are connected to the network or not.

Security and privacy

Another topic that – rightfully so –is discussed at every presentation or customer meeting I have is privacy. This is something we do not take lightly at Lone Rooftop, which means we always ensure to anonymise the data to fully comply with data privacy regulations and the upcoming GDPR.

Next to optimising the utilisation of space, a growing number of Intelligent Campus apps and use cases that are developed on top of PIE are:

  • SPOT – a mobile app that ensures students can always find an available study space – as easy as checking the weather
  • Integrations with BMS – making Lighting and Climate systems adaptive to utilisation metrics
  • Smart Cleaning – cleaning based on the actual usage of space, saving costs whilst improving satisfaction.
  • Security – improving security and emergency evacuation procedures
  • Indoor Maps & Wayfinding – ensures students – and staff – never get lost and are on time for their next class through wayfinding, delivered with our solution partner MazeMap
  • Catering – leveraging real-time and predictive data to ensure waste rates drop significantly.


Start your Intelligent Campus journey today!

The above apps and use cases are not an exhaustive list by any means.

We continually deliver new apps, features and functionality, often in conjunction with technology partners such as Cisco and other carefully selected solution partners that are experts in their domains. Our roadmap is largely defined by recurring customer requests and market input, so we strongly encourage users to share their feedback, input and ideas.

The key takeaway though –  and my call to action from these guest blogs – would be don’t linger; start your journey now and focus on the most pressing low-hanging fruit use cases. You already have the infrastructure to make your campus intelligent today, so why wait?

For information on how to start, why not check out our website, contact us, or get in touch with the Cisco Higher Education team for more information.

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