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For many people around the world, September is back-to-school month. This year, amongst curriculum changes and new classroom furniture, your children might find something else that’s different. Many post-secondary institutions are now using location-based technology. Location-based services (LBS) have a variety of uses including sending emergency updates, obtaining student locations and offering interactive campus tours. Here are five of the many ways universities can use location services to help keep everyone on campus safe, informed and connected.
The first week of school can be stressful. Students face a lot of new challenges including trying to find classrooms for the first time. But don’t worry, universities are making it easier for your less-than punctual son to make it to class on time. If your child’s university is using an advanced mapping service, like HERE’s Venues, finding that that obscure sounding room number will be much simpler. And when you attend a lecture, conference or your child’s extracurricular events, you’ll have access to a detailed map of all of the buildings on campus, the rooms, the facilities and the walkways that connect them. Offering turn-by-turn instructions, wayfinding maps in schools can help everyone locate the library, accessibility pathways or even the washrooms.
Location-based mapping gives you an overview of the school while guiding you turn-by-turn to your destination
Imagine the first day of school. When a student enters the front door, the mobile app they downloaded (as a part of the school’s welcome package) will be signaled by a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) Beacon. This interaction notifies the school that the student has arrived. After cross-referencing their course schedule, the student will then be guided to the location of their classroom.
With interactive campus tours you and your family can learn the history of the campus
And that’s not all, venue mapping is also interactive. It’s equipped to offer location-based information and insights that could be of interest to you as a visiting family member. Providing little known facts such as information about campus traditions and tips about local services/facilities, you can look forward to an impressive campus tour. With future functions to include parking availability and transit info, you might never utter the words, “I got lost” again.
If a natural disaster or security threat occurs on campus authorities will need technology that offers accurate information quickly. Location services can provide this service. LBS gives emergency response teams a birds-eye-view of faculty and students based upon their movements and the accumulation of crowds. If an emergency happens in the library, for example, only those within the area of the nearby BLE Beacons will be notified. This prevents unnecessary alarm to the rest of the school. The technology also provides IT personnel and authorities with tens of thousands of active bystanders who could provide important information to emergency response teams. What does all of this add up to? Schools using location-based technology and BLE Beacons will be able to provide aid much faster during an emergency.
Location services can also play a role in the protection of equipment. This is an increasingly valuable service as schools adopt a variety of learning methods that require computers and various kinds of digital tools. Through the use of LBS and BLE Beacons universities can track the location of valuable items including laptops, tablets, or AV equipment. If an object has been moved or is taken close to an exit, faculty and staff are notified. That being said, remind your son to return his borrowed AV kit on time; IT will know where to find him if you don’t.
This BLE Beacon is tracking attendance, equipment and more
Instead of being disciplined for having phones ‘out in class’, students can look forward to using smartphones to enhance their learning experience. Attending class at a school with LBS means that a smartphone can be used to hand in assignments, check in for attendance or even for note taking. BLE Beacons and LBS create a ‘geofence’, which allows the instructor to deliver targeted course materials like slide and lecture notes directly to the students’ phones as they walk into the classroom. ‘Geofencing’ also works great for things like overdue book notifications as student’s slip past the library on the way to lunch.
LBS can be fun too. When you attend a football game, alumni event, alma mater party, or a concert at a university – LBS can enhance your experience. Location technology can provide you with specific event information like how to find your seats or how to get to the refreshment stand. It can also offer you targeted event promotions that boost your engagement with the university or your winning home team. With LBS, you can look forward to event-related perks like restaurant offers, loyalty reward programs or discounted tickets for future events.
Connecting to WIFI and LBS at school events has its benefits
Without having to change their entire wireless infrastructure, universities can implement location-based technologies to optimize learning and teaching methods, smooth daily operations, increase security and gain efficiency. Location-based technology can also help you connect with your kids and their university education. Not only that, check out how LBS can help universities engage with you off-campus. From schools with satellite campuses sharing neighborhood tips to encouraging students to shop at local businesses, LBS is really changing the way we go back to school.