Anonymous resident tracking with Wi-Fi in a world of social distancing



As governments across Europe begin to talk about lifting the lockdown, one thing’s for certain - there are going to be a lot of changes in the ways in which we live our lives. One of the key differences that will be in operation is social distancing. But how will this impact student accommodation?

Student accommodation residents frequently comment on the high quality of their living quarters - the range of amenities available, the high-speed, reliable broadband and the elevated standard of living they enjoy. However, in a world with social distancing, they will need to be able to enjoy these amenities safely - which is where location based services come in.

Glide’s location based services run over existing Wi-Fi networks and use anonymous MAC addresses to understand how visitors move around a student property.

With a whole range of features such as proximity reporting, resident and staff tracking and amenity traffic reporting, our location based services will play an essential role in the maintenance and enjoyment of a safe living environment. Residents will be able to use laundry, gym and study areas without fear of breaking social distancing rules and operators will be able to track the occupancy of a building with ease. We’ve seen in recent news bulletins how traffic has been mapped to show the population’s behaviour during lockdown and how Google have used their location data to produce Community Mobility reports - more localised location based services could offer even more specific insights.

Data collection and analysis used to be more abstract, used only by specialists and found on spreadsheets. Now, it can be used in myriad ways. As technology advances, so does the way in which it can be used to enrich our lives and improve our resident experiences.

Although very useful for monitoring, location based services can also bring peace of mind before and during the moving in process. The technology could be used to design virtual and interactive accommodation tours and could also be used to fast-track students through check-in with off-peak speedy boarding.

Thanks to the reporting data on footfall, route mapping, dwell time and heat maps, managers can have an accurate view of how guests are using the residence, allowing them to improve with things like notifying residents on less busy times in the gyms, study areas and other communal spaces. In addition, the data will also give operators a clear idea of the levels of occupancy of a building, which could prove crucial for security in an emergency like a fire alarm as the heat mapping can drastically reduce the time spent searching the building by emergency services.

The possibilities for location technologies are limitless. We predict that they will be used by architects to predict the need for amenities in certain places, by hospitals to regulate visitor flow and countless other industries. In a world where the need for secure data on footfall becomes more important and with countries like Singapore using location data to control the COVID-19 epidemic, these technologies could soon become as essential as broadband itself - which is why it’s important to ensure that the services used are as unintrusive as possible. Glide’s location based services run over existing Wi-Fi networks and use anonymous MAC addresses to understand how visitors move around a student property.

Glide is a market-leading infrastructure and utilities business, delivering hyperfast connectivity across the UK and Europe and operating in sectors such as student and built-to-rent accommodation, shared HMO living, and business parks. We do the complex things that the giants cannot, operating in areas that are difficult to access and difficult to service while enabling devices, buildings and cities to become smarter. With our own national full fibre network reaching over 100,000 premises, we create better internet experiences through best in class fast and reliable broadband services, cabling expertise, smart tech, and data insight.

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