Smart tools for an interconnected campus

News - 24 May 2018 - Communication BK

The just released book ‘Smart campus tools 2.0- an international comparison’ illustrates the wide array of functionalities of smart campus tools. Bart Valks, Monique Arkesteijn, and Alexandra den Heijer (MBE) show how smart campus tools can help improve both user experience and real estate management. 

Imagine this: You are looking for a meeting room or a study place, but all rooms seem to be booked. However, when you walk by, the rooms are empty. This typical campus problem demands a solution. Smart tools can help provide this solution, while simultaneously helping to make better decisions about future campus developments.

In our interconnected world, we are capable of monitoring almost everything. As sensors become more affordable and the technology is becoming more accurate, it is becoming easier to collect data and translate it into accessible information for people to understand. With this information, smart campus tools can aid users in finding suitable working locations, tell study groups which lecture hall suits their purpose best, or adjust temperature and lighting to their preferences. Real estate managers can use smart campus tools to find out if spaces are used effectively. By monitoring activity, they can better accommodate the user’s needs, optimising the use of available space, and reducing costs.

Bart Valks tells more about the background of the research: “The past two years we have been researching smart campus tools. We started with the definition, investigating the accompanying goals and application possibilities. Smart campus tools can be defined as services or products which collect real-time information on space use to improve space use and support decision making. The new book is an expansion of the project, in which we explored the use of smart campus tools on an international scale. We collected data from a wide variety of users, including international universities, governments, public institutions, and large private companies.” 

The challenge in successfully applying smart campus tools is in matching the organisation’s demands to the available solutions. Within a university, there are many stakeholders with different and sometimes competing demands. At the same time, the range of available smart campus tools is developing quickly. Valks: “The next step in our research is to connect the information on solutions to the demands at a university. By assessing the requirements of a university in-depth (Programme Requirements), we can design a decision-making model to give tailor-made solutions.”

This is also necessary at the TU Delft. Valks: “There are many ongoing initiatives at the university, both from research and from practice. We are looking at smart campus tools as a means to support our students, but also as means of saving energy and to help use our buildings more effectively and efficiently. At the TU Delft, some tools are already in use, such as Mapiq in the Library. We hope this new book can support the university in making decisions on this topic.”