As a top 30 modern university investing heavily in first-class facilities and providing innovative courses, the University of Derby, wanted to ensure the experience of staff, students and visitors entering the campus matched this.
Universities are bustling places, especially during high term times. As well as creating the best experience, student, staff and safety requirements were paramount.
“Campus buildings are often out-of-date and require new technology which can integrate or update existing legacy systems without huge ramifications or disruption to the day to day routine of the campus,” says Paul Speariett, Yardi, regional director.
The University of Derby with over 34,000 students had several reasons for exploring how to improve visitors’ journey to the campus. The government’s Counter-Terrorism strategy, Contest, released in June 2018 spurred the timeline for the project and gave it momentum to move forward.
The University, typical of most campuses, had several open spaces and wanted to manage people better on and off-site better through a central point. The existing visitor experience of a signing-in book was poor, time-consuming, and data was difficult to extract and combine with other systems that monitored people and vehicles’ movement across the campus.
The University of Derby team also wanted to ensure staff, students and visitors could enter and exit the building without increasing reception headcount. They also wanted the reception team to offer a great experience with understanding and insight into who was expected to visit on a day to day basis and manage large groups of visitors for events and meetings efficiently.
Working in partnership
“Working closely with us, the Forge team explored the opportunities and constraints of the current systems and came up with a solution which was integrated and would solve the current challenges.” Vlad Ispas, Project Officer, ITS, University of Derby
The primary solution was Yardi Bluepoint the smart cloud-based visitor management solution with access control. The design and build of free-standing self-check-in kiosks to help alleviate the pressure of busy times for the reception teams was also proposed.
There were a number of companies involved in the delivery of the new visitor management solution:
- Automatic Systems supplied the 5-speed lanes and the electronic access control systems integrator.
- TDSI provide access control and integrates with Bluepoint.
- Frocester Engineering designed and built the full height free-standing self-check-in kiosks which are now used at all campuses.
- Star Micronics EMEA provide the printers for the kiosk which sync with Bluepoint in the cloud to produce visitor passes.
“We integrated Bluepoint with the university’s Microsoft Office 365 so hosts would be automatically added or updated. This provides a single sign-on process, full GDPR compliance and easy onboarding of new staff in the system.” Paul Speariett, Yardi, regional director.
Enjoying the benefits
“As a whole, the visitor management system Forge Bluepoint is an excellent – straightforward, user-friendly interface with lots of functionalities and features. It is a pleasure working with the people at Forge – they’re very supportive, knowledgeable of their products as well as access control systems which is helpful.” Vlad Ispas, Project Officer, University of Derby.
Vlad explains how the University is enjoying the benefits of the Forge’s visitor management solution:
- We have a more detailed overview of the amount and type of visitors expected and who is present on site.
- We provide badges to unknown people to the University. Therefore it’s easier for Security (and staff) to identify the visitors from staff and students.
- Hosts can add their visitors to the system, and if they need to book any of them again, their details are already stored, so they don’t need to add them back.
- Receptionists don’t have to notify hosts of their visitors’ arrival as they get an automatic notification (email and SMS) as soon as their visitor has checked in and printed their pass.
- Self-standing kiosks have taken on receptionists’ workload as visitors can now self-check-in and get their visitor badge.
- Bluepoint allows for more than one host to be added to an appointment, which means that meeting organisers can delegate tasks to their colleagues if they need to while still having an overview of the appointment.
Due to the success of Forge’s visitor management solution at the Derby campus, it has now been rolled out across the three other campus sites, Buxton, Chesterfield and Leek.