Building a long-standing customer relationship with the University of Portsmouth

At Telepen, delivering a great customer experience is about balancing personal service with the right technology. The open communication we enjoy with all our customers means that we have a clear understanding of their objectives, allowing us to help them meet their end user requirements exactly.

We know that this personal level of service is something our customers appreciate about working with us, and the fact that many of our customers remain with us over a number of years is testament to this. As a Telepen customer of more than fifteen years, The University of Portsmouth was one of the earliest adopters of our Juno room booking system, and we have continued to provide them with additional solutions in line with their evolving needs.

With a vision to be the top modern university in the UK and one of the top 100 young universities in the world by 2030, The University of Portsmouth has ambitious targets and the strategy in place to reach them. With over 10,000 students a year through physical and digital presence, the university features in the top 30 universities for student satisfaction and is a desirable destination.

Continually investing in the facilities at the university improves the experience they can deliver for their students, which include a BREEAM UK certified indoor sports centre, and a library that supports students with the space and resource for all types of study and research.

Through regular assessment of student needs, and working closely with us, the university has identified ways in which the students’ library experience can be enhanced. The Juno room booking system, put in place in 2011, enables students to book specific rooms within the library to support their learning. Initially in place for six rooms, the university subsequently increased the number of rooms on the system and added a self-service room booking kiosk for students.

In addition, in 2015, we installed a temporary card kiosk for the library to use with their access control. A self-service unit, the standalone kiosk sits outside the barriers for students to use with their university log in and password if they have forgotten their library card, or to authorise external visitors. The system authenticates the user and issues a ticket to use at the turnstile to gain access the library, freeing up staff time.

Managing and monitoring occupancy within academic libraries is always important for library staff, but never more so than during 2020. Lisa Jeffery, Team Leader (User Services) at the library explains, “With a normal capacity of around 2,500 students a day, when the Covid-19 pandemic struck in early 2020, we had to consider how we could reopen safely, with reduced opening hours and lower occupancy. Our risk assessment showed that we might have to limit the number of students using the library to around 500-600 a day. We didn’t want to be in a position where we were turning students away, and knew we needed to reduce the potential contact areas for track and trace, as well as minimise the likelihood of queues.”

Having attended a webinar and forum that we ran in early 2020 looking at safer library reopening, Lisa and her team were aware of the ways we were helping to support our customers with restricted opening. “Kevin Sontag and the Telepen team were very proactive and suggested that we adapted our existing group study room system and integrate it with the access control, so that rather than just book a room, students could book a visit to library.

“We created zones within the library, grouped by specific resource types, so that students could see when they were making a booking whether there were PCs available, the size of the zone and so on.” Lisa explains.

By pre-booking a visit, the library has control over the maximum occupancy number, and the system integrates with the turnstiles at the library entrance to determine whether the student has pre-booked and therefore allowed entry.

“Initially we offered students 4 hour booking slots, with a maximum of two per day,” comments Lisa, “Then as we understood more about how students were using the system, we were able to add two hour, and one hour ‘short stay’ slots, for those who just wanted to print or quickly use a library resource. The system can be easily customised to accommodate specific requirements and we found the software easy to use.”

The system meant that the library could avoid the potential bottleneck of students as they queued to get into the library and has given Lisa and her team peace of mind over the safe re-opening and occupancy of the library.

The university has also begun using our Juno Vantage solution, a way of showing the occupancy of the building in real time via a web page, to improve student experience and help manage occupancy, with the Juno StudyTime, Juno Buddy and Juno Infinity solutions in the process of being rolled out.

Commenting on the recent developments and long-standing partnership, Lisa says,” We enjoy a good working relationship with Telepen. Kevin is always on hand, suggesting different ways of configuring the system and supplying information. The solution that Telepen helped us put in place at the library is so versatile, and potentially something that could be used across the wider university campus.”

To talk to us about the solutions we would recommend for your specific requirements, please get in touch by calling +44 (0)1582 769991 or emailing