The objective of corporate real estate management is to optimally attune corporate accommodation to organisational performance. At universities, the dynamic process to match supply and demand is often hindered by difficulties in the allocation and use of space. This is a challenge for the Dutch universities and perhaps also European universities, which own large and ageing real estate portfolio’s in need of (re)investment: how can universities invest their resources as effectively as possible and not in space that will be poorly used? The purpose of this paper is to explore the use of smart campus tools to improve space use on campus.
First, a survey at 13 Dutch universities is conducted, consisting of a questionnaire and semi-structured interviews with Dutch campus managers. Then, semi-structured interviews are held with a number of parties in other industries to explore the use of smart tools in other contexts.
The universities’ demand for smart tools is mainly directed at the automatic and continuous collection of real-time space use data for education spaces and giving students insight into the availability of study places on campus. The tools at the Dutch universities focus largely on effectiveness: helping their users in their search to find a space that supports their activities. In other industry sectors, the results suggest that the use of smart tools is more directed towards efficiency: maximizing the use of existing space or optimising the operations of the organisation.
Although the use of smart tools in practice has gained significant momentum in the past few years, research on the subject is still sparse. By providing a framework for smart tools, as well as exploring the work done in theory and in practice, the authors hope to increase discussion and research on the subject from the perspective of corporate real estate.
The authors would like to thank the directors of the real estate and facilities departments of the 13 Dutch universities for their participation in this research. The authors would also like to thank all the interviewees of both the universities and the companies for their direct or indirect contribution to this paper.
Valks, B., Arkesteijn, M.H., Den Heijer, A.C. and Vande Putte, H.J.M. (2018), "Smart campus tools – adding value to the university campus by measuring space use real-time", Journal of Corporate Real Estate, Vol. 20 No. 2, pp. 103-116. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCRE-03-2017-0006
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