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Case Study – Lincoln University

Overview

Lincoln University’s Te Waihora campus is spread over 58 beautiful hectares in the Canterbury region of New Zealand. The campus offers everything from modern teaching facilities to dining, banking and travel services.

Operating and monitoring such a large facility requires significant coordination and expenditure, so it is imperative to Lincoln University that they can do so in an efficient manner.

Lincoln University’s current process of obtaining facility utilisation data was costly and time-consuming, whilst only providing low accuracy and untimely data.

In order to obtain accurate and timely facility utilisation data, Lincoln University engaged Aware Group to deploy a solution. Aware Group implemented a Machine Learning model which utilised computer vision and edge compute to identify the occupancy of a room to a high level of accuracy, then to present that information to Lincoln University in a digestible, reportable and timely manner.

This information allows Lincoln University to make facilities decisions that can impact expenditure, health and safety and ultimately, the business’ bottom line.

Customer Challenges

Lincoln University’s Te Waihora campus is based in Lincoln, a small town located 20km outside of the city of Christchurch New Zealand. The campus which sprawls over 58 hectares includes over 80 buildings, with plans in place to develop more.

In order to effectively and sustainably run the campus and associated facilities, as well as meet their compliance requirements Lincoln University is required to report on facilities cost and performance data.

The existing process that Lincoln University followed to monitor their building utilisation was expensive, time-consuming and often inaccurate due to its manual nature. This process involved paying an individual to count the number of people in various rooms a couple of times each year. This occupancy count was then extrapolated to provide approximate data around building utilisation; which did not account for seasonal and semester-based fluctuations.

Lincoln sought to automate and improve accuracy on this reporting process and to gain access to more information that could help them optimise the existing facilities and space usage.

Aware Solution

Aware Group worked with Lincoln University to deploy the Aware Cognitive Platform product with the People Counting module which brings together computer vision, edge compute and machine learning to identify the occupancy (count of people) in a room/video feed.

This solution gathers occupancy information with at least 90% accuracy at 5-minute intervals, year-round. This information is then presented to Lincoln University through Aware Cognitive Platform, providing clear, digestible and up to date utilisation information. The final report shows the room utilisation over time and is tailored to compare this figure to planned utilisation in order to effectively identify areas where utilisation can be optimised.

The solution was initially deployed to three Lecture Rooms to prove that it would meet Lincoln University’s needs. Following success in this proof of concept trial, the solution is currently being rolled out across a total of 30 rooms at the Te Waihora campus.

Aware Group also worked with Lincoln University to ensure that their obligations under the Privacy Act continued to be met throughout the process.

Customer Outcomes

Through the full rollout of Aware Cognitive Platform – People Counting module, Lincoln University gains access to more accurate, up-to-date facilities utilisation information that is provided in a more cost-efficient manner than the previous process.  

With the information provided, Lincoln University can easily and accurately meet their reporting requirements as well as make fact-based decisions to reduce current facilities operating costs.

In addition to this, the solution Aware Group provided provides information that can provide additional benefits such as improved health and safety through notification if a room exceeds maximum occupancy and ensuring current spaces are fully utilised before expenditure on developing new buildings is signed off.

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