Award-Winning App

University of Strathclyde’s students use their award-winning mobile app to book library study rooms.

The app links to Telepen’s Juno room booking system.

The Strathclyde App – Winner of The Herald Higher Education Institution of the year 2018 and the Guardian University Awards 2018

The University’s Mobile App

The University of Strathclyde provides a wide range of services via its own mobile app which was developed at the University.

Library loans and book renewals were already available on the app and students were asking to book study rooms on their mobile phones as well – the answer was to add room bookings to the app.

The Library uses Telepen’s Juno room booking system to manage its study rooms, and the mobile app links to the room booking system via an API from Telepen. This is a software interface that allows the two systems to work seamlessly together. Judith Smart, who manages the University’s library system, explains:

“If the API had not been available, we would have needed to write quite a lot of software ourselves – effectively duplicating the Telepen booking system.”

The API makes the entire room booking system available in the app – all of the functionality is available for mobile bookings.

The University built the system this way because they wanted the room booking service in the app to be exactly the same in look and feel as their other mobile services.

The app has become very high profile! Its development team has won an award for innovative use of technology from the Glasgow Herald.

Take-up of the app speaks for itself. Students started using it immediately and it is their preferred way to book and cancel rooms.

Managing study rooms with Juno Access Control

The library at the University of Strathclyde sits within the education quarter of the busy city centre, with several other HE/FE institutions nearby. It is therefore important to control who can enter the Library, so they are using the Telepen Sentry Juno Access Control to ensure that only authorized university students and staff can enter the building.

Earlier, when the library started to offer group study rooms for collaborative working, they had invested in the Juno Room Booking System to manage the bookings. The system ensures that all students have an equal chance to book the rooms.

Judith explains how this works:

“Originally we only had four or five rooms and the librarians needed to hand out keys and call them back, and watch out for students who might sit in the room all day! Now the room booking system takes care of this. The maximum booking is two hours; students can only book once a day; students cannot book more than seven times per week, and they cannot book more than 30 times per month.”

Telepen’s room booking links to the Juno access control system in the building – the Library didn’t want a separate solution with a separate database!

Now the library has added more study rooms and the rules have been altered so that students with special support needs can book further in advance and for longer periods. This would have been very difficult to manage without the software system.

“Telepen have a very good track record of support for the hardware and software,” says Judith, “so we were comfortable to work with them on another project.”

The App has made a difference

With over 20,000 students and 24/7 library opening hours, the app has made a great difference to the previous key-holders, as room booking and access control are both now “self-service”.

The app is available to everyone, which means the library can offer fair access to a limited number of study spaces.

The app also makes it very easy to cancel a room. This is important because it frees unwanted rooms for others to use.

Another interesting outcome is that the library’s services have become more visible because they are available on mobile phones.

The app has made a huge difference to students with additional needs.

A sample report (below) shows a breakdown of room bookings. It shows that from a total of 30,901 bookings, 15,037 transactions were made via the mobile app.

Judith concludes: “It took a reasonable amount of development time to create the app, but in this case, it was definitely worthwhile.”

Alan Elkes, Sales and Marketing Director at Telepen adds, “We are pleased that we could support the University on this innovative project and we will be happy to work with other institutions that want to build new applications with the Telepen products.”

Judith’s figures for the use of room booking from the start of term to August 2018 are shown below. The ‘source’ column indicates where the booking was made or cancelled. Note that cancellations are not included in the ‘bookings’ count so the full count of bookings made and cancelled is 30,901.

Source Bookings (not cancelled) Cancellations Total
Door 8161 147 8308
Mobile 10633 4404 15037
Web 6001 1555 7556
Total 24795 6106 30901

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