UTwente Interaction Lab
Key features used
Sometimes the solution to your problem isn’t the most obvious one. Daniel Davison found this out when looking for software to manage equipment in the University of Twente Interaction Lab. After finding that laboratory management software didn’t provide all the features he needed, he turned to rental software and found that Booqable was the best solution for the lab’s needs.
Labs in universities have a lot of equipment that students and researchers use to complete their projects. This equipment needs to be managed, and there needs to be a system to access it. In this way, these labs operate very similarly to rental businesses, and it makes sense that rental software can be the perfect solution to both manage and accept equipment bookings.
University of Twente Interaction Lab
The University of Twente Interaction Lab brings together students and researchers from the faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science that study human media interaction, creative technology, and interaction technology. The lab is managed by Daniel Davison, who is in charge of the equipment that students and researchers use.
When a student or researcher starts a project at the university, they have to go through Daniel to get the equipment they need. In addition to equipment, they get access to facilities, expertise, knowledge, and software to help them achieve their research goals. The interaction lab is the central location where students and researchers within the field need to go to complete projects.
The equipment that can be acquired from the lab includes tablets, wi-fi access points, computers, microphones, headphones, haptic sensors, VR equipment, cameras, robots, projectors, and 3D printers—giving those researching studies related to human media interaction the maximum range of equipment to conduct their research and achieve their goals.
No central system
As the Interaction Lab works with many students and researchers, they found themselves in a predicament. People would buy laptops, cameras, VR equipment, etc., for individual projects, and they would be hoarded or added to the general inventory. Over time, this made it somewhat challenging to know what they had and where it was.
In addition, the way students and researchers signed up for equipment was a bit old-fashioned. The lab would have huge A1 sheets where they would have to write down their names and what they needed. This worked for a while, but when the pandemic hit and fewer people were there in person, it became clear that another solution was required.
The combination of having no central system with an overview of equipment and bookings made by students and researchers and no easy way to make a booking led to potential errors that needed to be avoided. These issues included equipment not being available, double bookings, shortages, and loss of equipment, which all became very difficult to keep up with.
Making interactions easier
Daniel knew that he needed to find a better way to organize the lab’s inventory, and the changes brought on by the pandemic were a huge motivator. He first looked for software made explicitly for managing laboratory equipment, but none of them fit his needs. So, he turned to rental software and equipment loaning works in a very similar way.
He chose Booqable because it met most of his requirements for a software solution to the situation. Now, he can get an overview of what equipment is loaned out, who has it, where it is, and what is available. This has made it easier to ensure that everything is in the right place and is available when a student or researcher requires it for a project without errors arising.
Meanwhile, from the student and researcher’s point of view, they can easily visit the lab’s online portal. They can see what equipment is available, when the equipment is available, and make a booking without interacting with anyone at the lab. He has received informal feedback that students love the process and clarity of knowing what equipment is available.
Saving time and expanding
Since implementing Booqable into the lab’s loaning system, Daniel has seen substantial time savings and fewer headaches relating to equipment availability. This has led to the system operating much more efficiently with less manual work and a more hands-off approach, which he and his colleagues greatly appreciate.
It has also allowed for the expansion and renovation of the physical labs used by the Interaction Lab. Soon, students will be able to book space in the labs and pick up and use the equipment whenever they need it (so long as it’s available). Allowing the lab to cater to more students and researchers than ever before without additional admin required.