July 2, 2019

Weekly Focus: University of Derby

The University of Derby is a place where over 17,000 students practise their studies. Since gaining university status in 1992, the university estate has expanded to what it is today – consisting of 3 Campuses across Derby, Chesterfield and Buxton.

Like many universities across the UK, Derby were fearful that the amount of physical space they had was drastically under-utilised. They wanted a solution that told them which areas, and when, had the most potential for efficiency gains and cost savings.


In cooperation with the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia, Axiomatic have developed an automated system that gives a university unrivalled information on space use. Thermal people counters are mounted above the entrance way to a room/space. These devices anonymously track people as they enter and exit, recording the footfall and occupancy of zones. This data is fed back to a central server, on which Axiomatic’s software is installed. This software processes the data, compares it with the university timetable, then presents it to the end user in a meaningful format via our reporting suite.


Initially the University of Derby opted for a proof of concept trial system, covering 14 spaces at their then recently acquired 1 Friar Gate Square building (pictured). Following the success of this, they gave the green light to begin expanding the coverage of the system to other areas of their estate.

To date, the system in place monitors the use of over 120 spaces across the university – and is expanding continuously. Areas monitored include a variety of academic timetabled lecture theatres and seminar rooms.

The automated system Derby now have in place has enabled them to vastly improve the levels of information available to core stakeholders. These include everyone from the Timetabling and Space Planning teams, to senior members of the estates and planning departments. This in turn allows decisions for be based on accurate real-world data, meaning more informed and effective strategic planning.

Secondly, the university has been able to use this information to supplement and reinforce data gathered from their manual space audits. From the university’s perspective, having 2 forms of data gathering ensures maximum data accuracy.

Finally, Derby are motivated to make the most of the data our Space Audit system provides. So much so, that they created a temporary analyst post to analyse the miss-use of space highlighted by our solution.

The amount of areas monitored by the system is gradually expanding. Derby are taking advantage of scheduled refurbishments and building works to installing the people counting technology at each location, in order to minimise the amount of disruption caused.

We look forward to continuing and building our relationship with the University of Derby.