Touchless Technology: Equipment Lockers

By Stuffey | May 17, 2021

Higher education is about the exchange of ideas. At the same time, students, staff and faculty rely on technology to capture and convey the information. There are many uses for computers, AV gear and other technology on campus. With contactless exchange of goods a priority for convenience and community wellbeing, touchless lockers can make things easier.

Borrowing library materials is a common contactless exchange of goods application in the wake of COVID-19. Wake Forest University (WFU), for example, installed banks of touch-less lockers to give its community 24/7 access to materials without having to interact directly with the circulation desk.

As locker usage took hold, WFU also configured some of its touch-less lockers for audiovisual equipment collection and drop-off as well as computer and tech equipment rental and repair.

On other campuses, it's easy to imagine the benefit of making touch-less tech lockers available in common areas, such as the student union, campus bookstores or IT offices.

Securing Computers and AV Tech

It’s safe to say that students, staff and faculty leaving computers for repair want to know their valuable devices are in a secure place. Using dedicated touch-less lockers for drop-off and pick-up of expensive equipment can offer peace of mind for all parties.

Plus, the IT team can automate the collection of the computers or other technology they are being asked to troubleshoot. That frees up more time for the IT expert to get down to the business of bringing that coffee-drenched laptop back to life and salvaging that nearly done term paper!

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Whether it is IT or the library or another campus department that oversees the rental of speakers for outdoor events, video cameras or classroom projectors, touch-less lockers can prove useful here too.

Staff does not need to be available at all hours to meet community needs. Instead, a day’s worth of equipment can be put out in locked touch-less lockers for people to collect on their own time. Then, when it’s being returned, the student, staff or faculty member can return it to a safe, secure site without having to plan on getting back to the right department at particular drop-off hours.

How Equipment Exchange Via Touch-Less Lockers Works

Let’s imagine the scenario: A student could sign into an online portal to request a video camera and tripod for a film production assignment. The equipment technician for the film department would receive notice of that order, locate the items, and fill the request. Then, instead of having to handle the physical face-to-face exchange of the camera and tripod, the technician would put the equipment in an appropriately sized touch-less locker. The exchange of goods locker would then notify the student via email or text that their materials are ready.

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The student, at their convenience and not constricted by the film technician’s office hours, heads to the lockers. Presenting a campus ID card for scanning, or using a mobile device such as a phone or watch, the students open only their locker to collect their items. Using a nudge of the elbow, they can close the door, and the contactless transaction is complete.

To return the items, it’s just as easy. A student can:

  •   Call ahead of time and staff can create a package in the software, sending the student a barcode on their phone to scan at the reader within the locker bank. This opens the locker door, and the student puts the items in for return.
  •   The student can hit the “create” button on the touchscreen on the locker bank, creating a “package” on their own. The software within the locker opens the door and allows the student to deposit the returned items.

The same streamlined, safe and secure process can be used when someone on campus needs a computer or equipment repair. Either the staff creates a “package” in the online software to send the user a barcode to open the locker door. The locker use can even be coordinated to let the user pick up a loaner computer until their device is fixed. Or the community member can do so themselves using the intuitive software for the networked touch-less lockers.

Advantages of Touchless Tech Lockers

Whether you hand over control of creating the request to the community or not, the benefits abound:

  •   Frictionless experience
  •   Convenient pick-up/no waiting in lines
  •   Reduction in staff needed for in-person processing of drop off and pick up
  •   Specialists can spend their time on more challenging tasks
  •   Expands time frame for collection and return beyond “business hours”

Additionally, the lockers can be placed at convenient locations around campus. So, even the sprawling university with its IT department hidden in the basement of a far-flung building can make its computer and tech services more accessible.

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Finally, the touch-less lockers provide useful data to building or office administrators to gauge usage trends. Even campus service cleaning crews can be more efficient about cleaning locker banks as the data is available to determine what lockers have been in use, where and when.

Touch-less Locker Transforming Campus Experience

Providing a safe and convenient experience is a top priority on campuses today. The touch-less locker is a simple way to streamline processes and give students, staff and faculty efficient access to the technology tools essential to the education you’re offering.

Patterson Pope offers extensive experience with smart locker solutions. Reach out to our team today to learn how contactless exchange of good lockers can improve the campus experience you are offering your community members.

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Authors


Stuffey

About Stuffey

To say that Stuffey was made for this role would be an understatement. A life long hoarder, Stuffey understands how the Laws of Stuff can wreak havoc in the real world of an organization’s space. Now as part of his reformation, he is committed to passing on to you his secrets in our battle against the tyranny of STUFF.

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