Background

Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance is the UK’s only conservatoire of music and contemporary dance.

In 2005, Trinity College of Music and Laban, leading centres of study for music and contemporary dance, came together to form Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.

The main sites are located at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, and at a RIBA award winning building; a 15-minute walk away in Deptford. 

Business Situation

Trinity Laban has around 1,000 students from the UK and overseas. Both music and dance disciplines have a requirement, albeit in different ways, to deliver the curriculum by way of a dynamic and highly flexible timetable.

In addition to academic events, the Faculty of Music allow their students to book practice rooms located at the Old Royal Naval College site. Demand is high as each student requires between 3-6 hours per day of practice. Therefore, the faculty has allocated 80 rooms for this purpose that are bookable 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day.

Historically, students requested a room by approaching the room booking office located on site. Although the service offered to students was highly personable and friendly, the process resulted in lengthy queues and bottlenecks at peak times. Furthermore, because the system was paper-based it was difficult to aggregate any useful utilisation statistics.

Solution

Clearly, a computerised room booking system would help relieve bottlenecks allowing students to book in advance. However, the faculty retained the face-to-face service for same day bookings.

Additionally, Trinity Laban required access control to practice rooms to ensure security and prevent unrecorded use. The institution appointed SALTO Systems to supply their access control system and wireless locks to practice room doors - due to cabling restrictions at the Old Royal Naval College, a World Heritage site. Furthermore, they appointed Integrated Payment Solutions (IPS) to supply and configure the middleware needed to integrate the multiple systems involved in the solution. IPS also supplied the system for producing radio-frequency identification (RFID) cards. The appointed supplier of the room booking system needed to integrate with these third parties.

As the supplier of the timetabling system at Trinity Laban, CELCAT already offered an integrated web browser-based room booking application, CELCAT Room Booker. This allowed for a rapid installation within a test environment since Room Booker is a component application of the Timetabler suite.

CELCAT user accounts for students were created from the LDAP server and granted a requester role. This role allows users to specify search criteria and find suitable and available rooms. Alternatively, users can simply select a room and an available time slot from the Usage Chart timetable grid which displays all bookable space.

Once the booking request is received by the room booking department users, it is fulfilled and a confirmation is emailed to the requester. Instantly, an event is created on the room timetable and the student is also assigned to the same event. For same day bookings made in person directly with the room booking department, events are created directly on the room timetable grid via the Usage Chart, bypassing the room booking system. CELCAT integrated with the SALTO access control system using the CELCAT Systems Integration Manager (SIM) supplied through CELCAT consultancy services.  

Scope of Integration: Phase One

Because the access control system communicates with the wireless door locks via the RFID card, the card has to be uploaded with the current access rights. All student RFID cards are loaded with basic permissions to permit entry to the site but additional access rights based on their room bookings then need to be uploaded in real time. The combination of basic and room booking permissions form the current access rights.

To upload the current access rights to their card, a student presents their card at any of the wired online RFID readers located at the main entry points to practice room zones. Students then present their cards to the wireless door locks and gain access for the duration of the booking.

Using SIM and Room Booker, CELCAT calculates, generates and exports the current access rights in near real-time to the SALTO access control system which in turn updates the online card readers.

How it works:

Scope of Integration: Phase Two

 A further requirement was identified by Trinity Laban. Some students book rooms but then decide not to use them. This can be a source of frustration to other students who could use the room instead.

In order to identify ‘no-shows’, CELCAT developed SIM to modify the access rights of a student: Restricting them from gaining access to the room originally booked should they fail to present their card to one of the online readers within ten minutes either side of the booked start time. Administrators can temporarily disable the ‘no show functionality or protect events in CELCAT to prevent them from being modified by the ‘no-show’ process, e.g. if the student is running late.

Moreover, SIM modifies the timetabled event and flags it as a ‘no-show’ event, changing the event category and associated colour to make it obvious to room booking staff that there is an unclaimed room. The room booking department can then decide to release this room to other students that approach the department in person on the day.

How it works:

Move to Self-Service System

Whilst the above solution has improved the room booking process, Trinity Laban identified some drawbacks to a moderated system.

Rooming administrators were spending considerable time fulfilling requests received through Room Booker as well as dealing with ‘walk-up’ students approaching the room bookings office desk for same day bookings.

Trinity Laban have a fair usage policy too in the form of a weekly rolling quota which couldn’t be implemented in Room Booker. This meant that rooming administrators were also having to manage quotas manually often relying on their good memory and talent for mental arithmetic.

What could CELCAT offer to reduce the workload (not to mention risk of error) for rooming administrators and ensure the best possible user experience for students?

CELCAT commenced development of a web application that would allow students to self-serve rooms bypassing the need for moderation by rooming administrators. Importantly, it needed to be:

  • mobile responsive
  • simple and intuitive – no user guide required
  • respect rules, e.g. specify bookable rooms, times, maximum hours per rolling week

It was also vital that rooms reserved for specific disciplinesdisciplines, e.g. rooms with drum kits were only available to students of that instrument category.

In 2016, Trinity Laban were among the early adopters of CELCAT Self-Service Room Portal.  

Benefits

CELCAT Room Booker and integration with SALTO Systems has revolutionised the way that Trinity Laban manage high-demand space. Trinity Laban are able to run room utilisation statistics that breakdown usage, thus reporting the number of hours by activity each practice room was used for. This helps the Estates team identify issues around demand.

Students are able to access a personal timetable from their own smartphone or tablet by virtue of CELCAT iCalender Feed service that ensures that it is always up-to-date. An additional online timetable can be accessed via the virtual learning environment using CELCAT Calendar. Both services include not only academic events but also the student’s own room bookings.

Finally, Trinity Laban has all but eliminated the frustration, not to mention inefficiencies, related to ‘no-shows’ and is able to rapidly divert available space to where it is needed most.

The benefits of CELCAT Self-Service Room Portal were immediate, with positive feedback from all pilot subjects. Such was the success of the pilot that the system was rapidly extended and the moderated room booking system withdrawn for all but walk-up bookings.

Self-Service Room Portal also displays the user’s schedule for the day facilitating another channel for accessing their timetable.

Because Self-Service Room Portal is a component of Room Booker the related processes processes i.e. access control and automated handling of ‘no-shows’ are maintained.