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Social Innovation

Hitachi-powered smart campus helps Curtin University plan for the future

To plan for the future you need to understand the present. For West Australia’s Curtin University understanding the present means knowing in detail how the 60,000 students and 4000 staff make use of its Bentley campus in Perth and its 300,000 square metres of floor space: lecture theatres, laboratories, libraries offices, as well as car parks, cafes, shops and all the other facilities that together comprise a modern university.

Curtin University has taken a highly innovative approach to forming its planning processes. It is using a range of technologies from Hitachi that enable to gather data, at an unprecedented level of granularity, on how staff and students use its facilities, and then to analyse that data for insights to support its planning.

With help from Hitachi the University is turning Bentley into a smart campus, collecting and analysing data on staff and student movements in combination with data from the physical environment such as lighting and heating.

A key component of the system is a network of cameras and Hitachi’s facial recognition and face matching technology that is able to identify individuals within crowds and locate them to specific rooms in real time.

smart campus helps Curtin University plan

Curtin University is using this information and analysis to generate contextual information about the life cycle of the student, the activities of groups of students, the day-to-day reality for a staff member, the activity pattern of a lecture theatre, and the dynamics and environmental health of a library. By understanding such activity patterns it is able to optimise building usage and amenities.

To gain these insights Curtin has integrated Hitachi Visualization Suite, Hitachi Video Analytics, Pentaho, Live Face Matching and Pentaho, Hitachi's business analytics software that provides data integration, online analytical processing (OLAP) services, reporting, information dashboards, data mining and extract, transform, load (ETL) capabilities.

These systems are supported on Hitachi Vantara’s infrastructure and all these resources come together in a single analytics dashboard that provides the real-time knowledge the university needs to make informed decisions about its classes, operations and future requirements.

Curtin and Hitachi plan to develop and extend this smart campus technology to inform Curtin’s infrastructure planning, student timetabling, space activation, marketing, and student services. Beyond that, the Bentley smart campus is becoming a research resource in its own right.

Curtin University’s chief operating officer, Ian Callahan, says the smart campus is a living laboratory and he’s invited Curtin’s own researchers and scientists from other universities “to use our campus to discover and innovate with data-driven research.”

Hitachi, he says “demonstrated not only technology leadership but approached us with a very open mind, to participate in that living environment and collaborate with others.”

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