Your eight-step guide to building a smart campus

The building of a smart campus is a long-term project that educational institutions are undergoing to provide a better experience to their students, staff, and faculty. By combining a combination of the latest technologies, your institution is able to create an optimised environment that’s innovative, personalised, and sustainable.

Follow our eight-step guide to discover the most important factors you need to consider when building and developing your smart campus.

1. Identify your key areas for improvement

For you to get the most out of your smart campus, you must begin by identifying your key areas for improvement. This is an important step in building and maintaining your campus, as it allows you to focus on the most critical areas first and provide you with the greatest impact.

Once you’ve identified your areas for improvement, you can plan how you’re going to implement them.

2. A robust and reliable network infrastructure

Behind every smart campus should be a robust and reliable network infrastructure. For your technology to seamlessly communicate and connect with one another, you must have a high-speed wireless network that can support a large number of devices and the increased traffic that comes with it.

Not only is this important for your technology, but it’s also an important asset for your students. Due to the modern student being digital natives, having access to secure and fast Wi-Fi across the whole campus is important for their experience.

3. Implement IoT devices and sensors

IoT devices and sensors include technology, such as smart lighting and temperature and occupancy sensors. These enable your institution to collect data from your buildings and how your students, staff, and faculty use them on a day-to-day basis. By collecting this data, your institution is able to optimise its building’s operations, improve energy efficiency, and provide a better experience for everyone.

These devices are also used to improve the safety and security of the campus. Real-time monitoring of parking lots, walkways, and building entrances helps you to identify potential security threats and improve response times.

The role of technology in creating a sustainable smart campus. Get your free guide now.

4. Invest in your data analytics

As a smart campus, you’ll be generating large amounts of data that can be used to optimise your institution. But without the correct software and technology to manage, process, and visualise this data, you won’t be maximising its true value.

Analytical software will gather all of the data generated from your IoT devices and present it in a digestible format. From this, you can easily identify your areas for improvement and whether you’re meeting business objectives. Through a data analytics system, you’ll have the ability to:

  • Improve operational efficiency
  • Predict building maintenance
  • Enhance security
  • Make better-informed decisions
  • Improve your environmental sustainability

5. Secure and robust data management system

A data management system empowers you to collect, store, and analyse data from various sources. As you’ll be generating large amounts of data from your IoT devices, sensors, and AI and machine learning, you’ll require a system that’s suitable for dealing with these.

Ensuring your data management system is secure and robust is a must. As an educational institution, you’ll be collecting lots of sensitive data that must be protected from breaches and unauthorised access. These systems also include data backup and disaster recovery capabilities in case of a system failure or disaster.

By integrating a cloud-based management system, you’ll also have the flexibility to scale your system as your smart campus grows. This will also be beneficial as students and staff are adopting a more hybrid work and learning approach.

6. Artificial intelligence and machine learning

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) bring a host of benefits previously unknown to the education sector. Some of them include:

  • Predictive maintenance: reduce downtime and increase efficiency by predicting when equipment is likely to fail and triggering maintenance requests
  • Improved security: identify and action potential security threats and anomalies in real-time
  • Personalisation: create personalised experiences and recommendations for students and staff through smart devices and mobile app
  • Automation: automate tasks such as monitoring, control and decision-making, allowing the smart campus to operate more efficiently
  • Forecasting: plan for future needs, such as space and resource allocation by forecasting future demand forecast

By leveraging AI and ML, you’re able to make real-time decisions based on the data you’re collecting and free up your limited resources.

The importance of cyber security for your smart campus. Get your free guide now.

7. User-friendly interface and mobile app

Allow your users to access important information and services quickly and conveniently from their mobile devices, using a mobile app. Provide real-time information like class schedules, campus events, and building hours, as well as providing location-based services like wayfinding and parking information. These features are especially helpful for visitors and new students who aren’t familiar with your campus.

A mobile app also helps you add personalisation to your smart campus. As users log in, you can track their preferences and provide recommendations for classes, on-campus events, and travelling.

Push notifications also enable you to send high-importance and impromptu alerts to students and staff around classes, events, and emergencies. This will help to keep your community informed and improve your safety.

8. On-going maintenance and support

An essential component of your smart campus is its on-going maintenance and support. Without it, the technology and infrastructure that makes up your campus may not function as intended and may become obsolete over time.

Ensure your campus runs smoothly by staying on top of regular software updates, monitoring for security threats, and maintaining the devices and technology that make up the smart campus. All of this will help prevent downtime and ensure it’s available to all users, all the time.

Many institutions that try to manage their maintenance in-house will struggle due to the lack of resources available. Our managed services for educational institutions support you with your IT and cloud management, data backup, IT security, and more. This alleviates some of the pressures your IT workforce are under and frees up time for them to focus on other valuable projects.

How to build your smart campus with Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Azure provides the foundation of your entire smart campus. By utilising its flexible and scalable cloud platform, you’re able to support a wide range of services and technologies required for a smart campus.

Through Azure, you have the ability to:

  • Manage your data and analytics: store and process large amounts of data from your IoT devices, sensors, and AI and machine learning
  • Provide a platform for security and compliance: implement security features like encryption and multi-factor authentication
  • Support the implementation of AI and machine learning: Azure provides a wide range of AI and machine learning services for developing and deploying AI models
  • Support the integration of your systems: connect and manage a wide range of devices and simplify collecting the data generated from them

Get started building your smart campus today

Book a quick chat with our education IT specialists now to discuss the challenges your institution is currently facing and how we’re able to assist you in building and developing your smart campus.

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Debbie Dean
Debbie Dean

Debbie has over 25 years experience in the IT industry and is passionate about supporting the education sector and is 100% focused on delivering solutions to maximise the use of technology and transform organisations.

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