The UT campus is a place where you can work, live and participate in leisure activities. All these functions were taken into account when it was designed. However, it is difficult to determine how the campus is actually being used. To this end, a measuring system that maps out the actual use and movements around the campus is required.
Typical questions would be, for example: How are the lecture halls being used? This does not only regard occupancy, but also which parts of the halls are in use, which access ways are frequented the most and what share of the visitor flows consists of students. Answering these questions could result in more efficient use of the campus. If a lecture hall is only at 50% of its capacity, it is more energy-efficient to move the lecture to a smaller hall. The use of lighting can also be reduced at times when there are no people present in or around a building.
The technology to be used for this is Wi-Fi tracking, which entails using the Wi-Fi signals of mobile telephones to analyse visitor behaviour. To this end, we will work together with BlueMark Innovations, which is a UT spin-off company. The technology we have opted for will provide us with a lot of information as well as with challenges, such as incomplete data, disruptive signals, privacy issues, etc. Moreover, due to its extensive nature, it is difficult to contain it in a two-year project.
The telecommunication issues are especially relevant to the EEMCS-TE chair. A possible approach would be mapping out visitor flows in the Carré building, for instance, and then dividing these up into visitor types: guests, students, employees, employees from other buildings. Alternatively, a (predictive) model could also be created.
Another possibility would be looking into a smart lamppost that contains multiple sensors for, among other things, Wi-Fi tracking, air quality, etc. The focus will then be more on the technology itself: How can information be transferred efficiently? Which sensors are relevant to include? Can information also be processed locally in order to save on communication bandwidth? How to deal with congestion in the communications network, e.g. in case of a festival?