Occupancy Insights Graphic

The College Space Sharing Programme

The Occupancy Insights Project is part of the College Space Sharing Programme, which aims to ensure the College maximises its use of space to help support the best possible teaching and learning experience.

For more information, please contact Michael Maloney

The College Space Sharing Programme is looking at a range of ways to use our campus space more efficiently and appropriately, whilst supporting the best possible teaching and learning experience for students and staff. Part of this work is to build a picture of the extent to which our shared spaces are currently used.  

From October 2018, we are collecting real-time anonymised space occupancy data for our teaching and other shared spaces in 15 buildings on the South Kensington campus.

How will be the data be collected?

The data will be collected using the existing wireless infrastructure to gather anonymised signals from personal electronic devices.  All of the data collected and presented is anonymous by default, meaning no individuals can be identified.

What are the buildings involved?

The following buildings will initially be providing information:

Why are you doing this?

Once the system is in place, collecting this data will have many uses for the College such as:

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Library study spaces

Space availability

Providing real-time information to help students find free spaces to study

The ACE Extension

Space utilisation

Helping timetablers understand the utilisation of spaces for teaching

Teaching in a lecture theatre

Room usage

Providing insights for academics as they evolve pedagogy

Longer term, it should help us make best use of our current spaces and enable us to identify opportunities for re-planning so that we can use our shared spaces more effectively and support planned growth in our student numbers. 

There are also broader benefits of having real-time occupancy data which include better climate and lighting management, better maintenance planning and improved security.  

How long will it be before you have useful data?

For the first buildings,the data will be available from early December, with the final building data going live circa May 2019.

Does this happen in other places?

Yes - collecting data of this kind is now routine in many public institutions including museums, airports, train stations and large corporations, as a way to manage space and flows of people. Real-time access to this sort of data can enable individuals to make choices about when to visit. 

You may well already be familiar with the way similar data is used - for example Google’s information on how busy a restaurant is when you search for them online.  

What will I actually see happening? 

An initial calibration exercise will be carried out across the 15 buildings on the South Kensington Campus, starting in mid-October. This will involve a representative of the supplier and a member of the ICT team, Michael Maloney, making visual checks to corroborate technical data. The schedule of calibration for each building will be discussed with the Building Managers and local representatives. Interruptions will be kept to a minimum. 

Have you done anything like this before?

This work builds on the “automatic people counter” data gathered in a small number of our teaching spaces over the last couple of years, but uses existing sensing technologies already available across campus. The next phase will allow us to collect data much more widely across our shared spaces, initially on the South Kensington Campus. 

How can I get involved?

We’d like your help to make sure we get the data generated to the people who could use it most, so we will be setting up a Space Data Insights Group to analyse the data from this and other data sources, and we are looking for volunteers for both academic and support services to get involved. If you’re interested please contact Leigh Sims l.sims@imperial.ac.uk 

Where can I get further information?

Please contact Michael Maloney m.maloney@imperial.co.uk