The global adoption of smart lockers in education has served as a learning experience for colleges and universities.
As North American campuses are just getting started with contactless lockers, they can take lessons from the K-12 institutions, colleges and universities around the globe that have been benefiting from contactless lockers for years.
These adoptions have helped pinpoint ways to improve on the technology, as well as to identify potential use cases and functions, says Gerhard Pichler, business development manager for Gantner Technologies, which provides contactless locker systems.
Making locks smart – incorporating them into a networked computer system with a powerful locker management software – unlocks a host of other benefits including real-time occupancy monitoring, networked alarms and remote locker control
Most of Gantner’s educational deployments of the technology have been in Europe, Australia and Asia Pacific. “We have a high penetration of smart lockers on campus in Central Europe and frequently deploy networked locker solutions for libraries and other facilities where students need to store their backpacks,” explains Pichler.
On its own, contactless locking provides security and ease of use as its primary benefits. But by making these locks smart – incorporating them into a networked computer system with a powerful locker management software – universities can unlock, so to speak, a host of other benefits. These include real-time occupancy monitoring, networked alarms and remote locker control.
“I always recommend that customers make use of an online locker management system to really make ongoing operations frictionless and get rid of locker management headaches,” Pichler says.
Western Sydney University is one example of how integration can automate the process of managing smart lockers in education environments. Gantner provides a single point of control for 875 lockers across five levels of a building at the Australian university.
The names of all students who are permitted to use a locker are first added into a system database. Because the lockers are part of a fully integrated system, whenever new students are added, the student management software generates a unique student number with an “until date.”