Author: Anamik Adhikary, Director of Engineering, SpaceBasic

As anyone who has lived in a student hostel or student accommodation will testify, one of the key issues in any hostel is the number of manual processes that are followed. From long waiting periods for simple maintenance issues like replacing a bulb in the room to manual attendance and leave approvals, hostel management is currently driven by manual processes that are time consuming. Imagine if notice board announcements can be replaced with alerts through an app or applying for a leave could be done at the tap of a button or if you could keep a real time track of your maintenance request to the warden for a leaky tap in your room.

Despite technological advancements in other areas, technology is yet to make significant inroads into our educational institutions and universities. The very talent that makes tech products for every industry hasn’t had many tech products built for their campuses. College campuses and student housing can be transformed through the use of technology such as AI. 

 Anamik Adhikary, Director of Engineering, SpaceBasic

At SpaceBasic, we have worked with over 60+ universities across India to change the way their hostels are managed. Let’s take the example of a student housing community within a college campus. If there’s a bulb to be replaced, the student has to approach the warden and raise a request. This request is then recorded in a register, assigned to the maintenance team and then resolved after a few hours or sometimes a few days. During this process, the student has no clue about the status of his/her complaint. Imagine, if the same process can be done through an App where the student can lodge a request at the click of a button and monitor the progress in real time. In order to be able to do this, the institution/student housing must first transition to a digital mode if they haven’t already done so. Next, will be to look at the analysis of the kind of issues that are reported most of the time. Once these systems are run over a significant amount of time, the organisation can have enough data generated to leverage some AI models. The AI system automatically offers admin and management periodic status updates regarding the assets' health after they've been observed for a long time. At the same time, it will alert the management if any assets require immediate maintenance, saving them money in the long run.

In any campus or student housing, a lot of data gets generated that is currently not used or easily available for key decision makers in educational institutions for forward planning. This can lead to very costly errors and wastage. AI can play a key role in providing data driven actionable insights. These insights not only help institutions to streamline their operations but it also leads to significant cost savings and improved student satisfaction.

One of the other areas that AI can help is with efficient management of hostel kitchens/student housing mess management. Students consume approximately four meals per day. The kitchen staff will be able to arrange meals more efficiently with the use of detailed analytics on numerous criteria. Implementing a system in which we know each student's dietary patterns as well as their nutritional requirements will assist the staff in planning meals that meet the students needs and preferences. Students can RSVP via the app before each meal. Based on this information, the hostel kitchen may determine the types of meals that the majority of students enjoy or prefer, the expected number of students for each meal on a daily basis, and the number of plates that must be produced on a daily basis. This can then be connected to the Mess Inventory system, which will assist the mess manager with budgeting, inventory planning, and meal management.

In conclusion, a tech based solution like this for student housing can help in the following ways -
  • Reduces turnaround time: Students don’t have to depend on manual processes and communicate effectively through the app
  • Real time information - All updates related to tickets/complaints, leave updates, communication alerts are online.
  • Ease of collaboration: The management can broadcast alerts at once without having to depend on putting it up on a notice board or making a manual announcement.
  • Improves student experience: An app for communication simplifies student living and improves learner experience
  • Provides data driven insights: The management can closely monitor the data and get detailed data driven insights which can help efficiently manage their processes and streamline operations

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