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A Stride Towards A Future-ready Smart Campus

by Ferry Chung, Vice President, Smart and Safe City Centre of Excellence of NCS December-2018

Singapore has gone through rapid industrialisation and modernisation to become a thriving metropolis with a vibrant knowledge economy over the past five decades. Indeed, IT has played a significant role in these developments, from a full-scale computerisation of its civil service since 1981, to the strong foundation laid over the past 10 years under the direction of the Intelligent Nation 2015 Masterplan. And it’s certainly not resting on its laurels anytime soon - in November 2014, Singapore has unveiled further plans to become the world’s first Smart Nation, and now stands at the cusp of yet another exciting transformation.

Transforming future-ready cities is not just about building high-tech infrastructures and adopting emerging technologies. It takes a collective, ‘ground-up’ participation on the part of organisations to examine their own technological advancements from within, and map out their transformation journeys in tandem with the Smart Nation vision and transformation towards a more efficient and sustainable future.

The Way Forward: Smart Campus as a Smart City

More often than not, organisations would have key different functionalities, be it building management or administration, managed by disparate systems. This could be further compounded when new solutions are layered on existing ones to address changing needs and requirements, at times resulting in data dissonance. It then takes an agile system to integrate and make sense of different sets of data mined, insofar as it aids the user to draw a meaningful relationship between them to achieve greater situational awareness and operational efficiency. Over time, we believe that this would enable organisations themselves to achieve real performance gains with insights based on the interconnectivity of their data.

So what makes up a Smart Campus?

While a “smart campus” might conjure to mind that of a school, college or university, our vision of a smart campus is extendable to any grounds that resemble a campus, such as hospital grounds, an estate, a shopping mall and a corporate landscape etc. Here, it is one that adds an interwoven intelligence layer over a cluster of physical infrastructure to create a safer, interconnected and more efficient space for both working and living.

The core functionalities of a smart campus could be better characterised by five key pillars, namely: facilities, security, administration, utility and analytics.

We see the intelligence level of a smart campus to be an incremental, progressive one. It thus takes a transformational journey which includes the integration and streamlining of sensors and devices as well as the wealth of actionable insights harnessed from the various data sets into one agile, unified system. And we would like to believe NCS’ core expertise and experience of an ICT system integrator would help organisations manage their development over time and realise the vision towards an integrated Smart Campus.

Designing and enabling a ‘Smart Campus’ with NCS’ IntelliSURF

Designed by NCS, IntelliSURF is a scalable, interoperable command and control platform that facilitates the implementation and realisation of a smart campus. Complementary with this platform is a suite of modules of various functionalities designed along the 5 key pillars of a smart campus – facilities, administration, utility, security and analytics. It would be useful to think of the modules as these different applications, coupled with their respective sensors and devices (if there are). The insights harnessed and analysed from these disparate data points are then integrated and centralised upon this single IntelliSURF platform.

More so, it is interesting to know that when select modules ‘interact’ with each other, the outcome would be improved situational awareness, operational responsiveness and future-back scenario planning for more informed decision-making. Here are a few case scenarios at play:

1) If there is a water reading detected at an unusual hour (unexpected to have any water usage, such as 3-4am), video surveillance data and analytics could be employed to ascertain the possibility of human intervention at play (e.g. water theft). If not, this could suggest the possibility of a water leakage instead.

Modules of IntelliSURF employed: Water Meter Data Management, Video Analytics for Security

Accompanying sensors/hardware required: smart water meters, video cameras

2) Crowd detection systems to monitor crowd density within a building, especially in the case of unplanned scenarios. This could signal a need to divert traffic or enforce crowd management control on a timely manner. Complementary to this, social media analytics (e.g. trending topics on the incident) and video analytics could be employed further to get a stronger sensing of the situation on the ground in real-time.

Modules of IntelliSURF employed: Crowd Detection (VCA)/Crowd Detection (WiFi), Social Media Analytics, Video Analytics for Security

Accompanying sensors/hardware required: video cameras/WiFi infrastructure (routers, switches and access points)

In all, while it is certain that organisations could harness the value from the wealth of insights wrought by Big Data, it is imperative to improve the interconnectivity of the information mined by various sensors and devices onto a single dashboard of IntelliSURF in a greater bid towards a truly agile, flexible smart campus of the future.