Why Higher Ed Institutions will Double Down on ‘Campus Hubs’ in 2021
As campuses began reopening, they had to manage guidelines put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. That meant that access to everything on campus was determined by factors like how much square footage a particular space had, whether ventilation was adequate if it could be staffed safely, etc. Appointments had to be scheduled to pick-up books at the library or to deliver a laptop for hardware help. Shopping at the bookstore meant waiting in line outside for your turn to go in.
The evolution of campus safety from COVID-19 has seen the integration of smart solutions, such as parcel lockers, which are helping to facilitate an even broader, campus-wide application. Christopher O’Brien, Executive VP, Parcel Pending of Quadient, predicts parcel lockers will provide the solution for distributing all kinds of things on campus, giving users the ability to avoid lines and face-to-face contact. A Campus Hub, is an exchange point for different items, outside of mail and packages.
What is a Campus Hub?
A Campus Hub is a way to connect university services together through a single platform, to create a scalable, seamless distribution network via the parcel locker solution.
The new age of on-campus services
With a simple software API, existing software solutions can be integrated so that students can order online and direct their orders to be delivered to the lockers. This same process is being utilized by university libraries, creating a contact-free distribution and collection point for books and other materials.
The library’s, back-office software connects with the parcel locker software to create a smart system that tracks materials being borrowed or returned. It can, for example, recognize when an item has been retrieved from the locker, sending a notification to the system, which then marks the item as checked-out and establishes the appropriate return date.
Sporting events and on-campus shopping post COVID-19
Two other key areas that parcel lockers will play an increasingly important role in are the sporting event and on-campus shopping experience. Security at stadiums remains a priority and parcel lockers can be used by game attendees who arrive with items that are not allowed inside. In addition, fans can pre-order team and university paraphernalia from the campus store and have it delivered to those stadium lockers for pickup at game time. This creates additional revenue streams, decreases store congestion, and eliminates face-to-face contact.
Outside of sporting events, campus stores can continue to use the parcel lockers to ensure social distancing guidelines, this is especially important during peak times, such as the first few weeks of each new semester, homecoming, or parent’s weekend.
A united front
“Think of each department as its own separate company.” O’Brien said, “They can aggregate funds from separate departments to pay for the services. It doesn’t always have to be the mail and package center, or the housing department, or the auxiliary services department funding parcel lockers. You can tap into other parts of campus and use some of their budgets. No single entity has to support the entire solution. Departments can house lockers wherever they need an asset exchange, and the locker can easily connect to an existing asset tracking software where all students and staff are already registered. There is no need to create a new process for communication. Instead, there is one simple process for drop-off and pick-up of items or mail and packages for all departments on campus. Additionally, funds can be pooled from various departments so that the investment cost for the system is reduced.”
The safest way to deliver differently on-campus
In a post-COVID world, parcel lockers provide a contact-free way to distribute packages purchased by students, while also providing broader, campus-wide applications. Both in 2021 and beyond, universities must rethink the way they support on-campus deliveries and service offerings.
To learn more about how your college or university will benefit from a parcel locker, contact us today.