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Revolutionising Education: The Future of Sustainable and Data-Driven University Campuses

Updated: Sep 6, 2023

Envisioning a Campus of the Future Picture this: a university where the sun is shining, the air is clean, carbon usage is at all-time low, and both students and faculty members are excited about the prospect of learning/teaching in inclusive and highly personalised spaces.

In the world where data is king:

  • Flexibility is the norm, and work only happens at the best time in the best locations.

  • Data is the bedrock to all decisions, and real-time data and analytics puts sustainability into the heart of everything. From AI-driven facilities management, and monitoring local renewable energy grids, to data-driven usage insights for space reusage and rationalization.

In this world of smart campuses, operating costs and carbon consumption numbers get slashed, and the experience of students and faculty just keep rising.


But what makes a smart campus valuable? University campuses can be quite different from each other, yet ICONICS and Fujitsu believe there are four common ‘value pillars’ that justify digitally transforming spaces in Higher Education:

  1. Student Experience In order for students to flourish they should feel safe, happy, and healthy on campus. Whether it’s making group collaboration easier through space booking and colleague-finding, getting to lectures faster through a personal mobile app and real-time digital signage, or tailoring your physical environment to suit how you like to work – smart building technology has a critical role to play in ensuring campus life is fun, efficient, and accessible for everyone.

  2. Green and Healthier Spaces Everyone has the right to breathe clean, pollutant-free, air – especially when learning. Facility teams shouldn’t be constantly distracted by temperature spike complaints and rising humidity levels, but rather focusing on delivering healthy data-driven buildings where people – especially their own resolution teams - can do their best work. Given buildings equate to 40% of global greenhouse emissions, managing energy and carbon levels without negatively impacting comfort and wellbeing can be complicated. Automation, data workflows, and analytics makes this end-to-end process much easier, for everyone.

  3. Campus Management An IoT-enabled campus that tracks and monitors occupancy rates and utilization levels can help a) reduce energy costs - so gone are the days of heating and cooling empty spaces, and b) minimize unnecessary developments – especially the expensive ones. Repurposing or redesigning existing campus space is far more economic and eco-friendly than erecting new builds.

  4. Facilities Management Data-driven Facilities Management (FM) is a game-changer when it comes to improving comfort levels, energy performance, and the overall safety and security of a campus. By leveraging the right data, FM professionals can optimize Soft FM cleaning tasks and proactively address mechanical equipment issues before they lead to equipment failure, downtime, or energy loss. Things like HVAC systems, chillers and boilers no longer need to run sub-optimally or ‘in fault’. To achieve this, faster networks such as Private 5G and SD-WAN, operational analytics, and software platforms that create virtual campuses with data feeds from BMS systems, environmental sensors, and occupant feedback, are key.


Strong Digital Foundations All of this is only possible when Universities build on strong and scalable digital foundations - – for us this is Microsoft Azure. The north star for Smart Campuses is to appropriately integrate disparate data sources (like BMS, IoT sensors, smart lighting, access control etc.) in a way that future-proofs the wants and needs of students / faculty, facility management and IT teams, and the sustainability goals of the University themselves. Without considering “how” systems talk and scale, IT teams will forever be applying sticky-plaster-fixes to a broken product-centric marketplace.

This is why ICONICS and Fujitsu adopt:

  • A state-of-the-art-middleware approach to edge-to-cloud interoperability

  • High-speed networks such as Private 5G, SD-WAN, Wi-Fi 6 and LTE

  • A Microsoft Azure-based data platform for a SaaS managed service

  • World-class technical and user support

Interested in learning more?

Don’t be a stranger get in touch with our higher education team, or come visit ICONICS and Fujitsu and Digital Universities UK and see first-hand how we are revolutionizing education.


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