Weekly Focus: University of Technology Sydney
Well known for their innovative approach to development and problem solving, The University of Technology Sydney (UTS) were a key contributor in the development of Axiomatic’s SpaceAudit® solution.
Traditionally, audits of physical university space were conducted manually. Data, once gathered, would be recorded onto a database from which reports could be produced on how well space was being used. This process sounds all well and good, but has some key drawbacks:
• The reports are static. Once they are printed, you cannot change the grouping or how they are displayed.
• Producing them is very labour-intensive.
• They only cover one week of the year.
• They didn’t correlate with the timetable, so no context could be applied.
• It was disruptive to the occupants of the room.
To overcome these problems, in partnership with Axiomatic Technology Ltd, a fully automated space auditing solution was proposed and implemented for UTS.
The idea was to use ceiling-mounted thermal imaging automatic people-counters to count people in and out of rooms, from small meeting rooms through to vast multi-entrance lecture theatres. Software would then monitor the number of people present in each room, then compare that with the university timetable, to record what was suppose to happen vs what actually happened.
To begin, a proof of concept trial system was installed in 12 areas, with the data presented in an Excel spreadsheet. However, as the system grew this was found to be hard to manage, and inflexible. Users wanted to be able to run ad-hoc queries, with dynamic filters to choose which rooms were to be included in the report and which parameters to be displayed. This led to Axiomatic crating a specialised reporting suite, to retrieve and display data in a much more intuitive way.
The partnership worked well, with Axiomatic leading the development, and UTS reviewing the reports, troubleshooting, and providing vital end-user feedback. Axiomatic and UTS held weekly discussions on how the system was used, and what features would be useful. The collaboration allowed Axiomatic to develop the system with real world data, allowing us to create a solution which would be most useful to UTS and other higher education institutions.
The Return on Investment
UTS have been able to:
• Gather real time data giving meaningful and accurate Space Utilisation Reports.
• Highlight no shows, early finishes, utilisation.
• Inform future space requirements in campus redevelopments, avoiding investing in unnecessary buildings.
• Monitor wasted bookings, helping to minimise the overall time wasted.
• Track attendance in spaces that enable new learning delivery methods.
• Save costs by cancelling the construction of a brand new lecture theatre.
Axiomatic and UTS maintain a strong working relationship. UTS have continued to expand the amount of teaching spaces covered by the system, to the point where it encompasses over 500 zones in 2019.
To read about this process in more detail, and see an example of major financial gains the system produced for UTS, take a look at the full length case study.