University of Applied Sciences Utrecht starts rollout of intelligent ‘lending wall’ at all locations

Caplocker installed by HU Netherlands

For the past year, resources such as laptops and cameras have been made available by University of Applied Sciences Utrecht (HU) in a unique way at the Heidelberglaan location. Where the service desk employee previously lent out about sixty items every day, students and employees now simply pick up the resources they need from the wall. They can reserve an item online and use the unique QR code they receive to open the locker. With the implementation of this lending wall at all six locations, University of Applied Sciences Utrecht will save tens of thousands of operations per year. “These operations do not add value from a hospitality point of view,” says Allard Schelhaas, Chief of Hospitality at HU. The solution from CaptureTech ran as a pilot project for half a year, and the experiences are given here.

90% positive about new equipment management solution

The new way equipment – in this case cameras, laptops, projectors, etc. – is lent out at HU was very well received by both students and employees. 90% were positive and evaluated the new solution as very good or excellent. The students themselves have also paid positive attention to the lending wall in their own magazine Trajectum. Schelhaas: “We are very happy with these results. Our goal with this solution has always been to provide more service. The high evaluation shows that this has been successful. According to the survey, the most important advantages are the convenience of 24/7 reservation, self-service, no more waiting in line, never finding anything out of stock, and longer opening hours.”

On one hand, the employee at the service desk can devote more time and attention to people who really need help and, on the other, hand students can now also borrow equipment outside the regular business hours of eight in the morning to five in the evening. Students find this last point to be particularly valuable because they often work until late into the evening. They can now make better use of the school’s opening hours.

Rollout at other HU locations

Stimulated by the positive responses, University of Applied Sciences Utrecht is also having intelligent lending walls installed at its other five locations. Schelhaas: “Due to the combination of more service and lower costs, we also want to roll out this solution at our other locations. It saves costs by making our flexible shell superfluous. We do not cut from the permanent staff. What robotization does is free them up, which means that they have more time to give people personal attention.”

When arranging the lending walls, we look at what equipment has been lent out in the past year. That influences the dimensions of the lending wall and the number of large and small lockers at each location. On average, the lending walls have space for about sixty items. The second wall (the first of the new series) was installed at the Uithof location at the end of April and will officially be put into use in May. Installation takes two weeks including the software.

Looking at Schiphol for service concept

Students work with apps and QR codes every day, so they quickly understand how to use the lending wall. Even so, there is always a hostess or host nearby to help with any questions or problems. That concept was copied from Schiphol, as Schelhaas explains: “People are increasingly able to arrange things themselves, which is intended to result in a higher service level. This is also how things are done at Schiphol, where you can check in your own luggage, for example. If you get stuck, or something doesn’t work, there is always someone nearby who you can go to for help. We also use that concept.”

About the lending wall (CapLocker)

The intelligent lending wall is a solution from CaptureTech and a combination of two proprietary innovations: the KeyConductor and CapLocker. The KeyConductor is an electronic key box that automatically issues and receives keys (for example for shared bicycles). The CapLocker is an electronic locker with various compartments that make it possible to lend out equipment.

Whenever students need something for a project, for example a camera or a laptop, they can reserve it directly on a web portal – at any time and from any location. After reservation, they receive confirmation and a QR code by email. Scanning this QR code at the lending wall opens the locker and the reserved device can then be taken out of the wall. In this way, students can be sure they will not find an item out of stock. Moreover, the university of applied science can always answer the questions of who, what, where and when.