How Is Demand For Smart Lockers Increasing

Denise Crouch

Denise Crouch

A university survey produced in 2016 by LapSafe® showed that 44% of UK universities had automated their manual laptop loan service or introduced the new service into their libraries. Of these, a whopping 87% had chosen to do so by using LapSafe®’s Self-Service Device Loan Lockers. This figure has continued to increase year on year.

Percentage of University Using Self-Service

An updated survey carried out earlier this year (2021) saw this figure rise to 61% now offering their students the ability to borrow a device from self-service lockers and that 94% do so by using the LapSafe® solution

So, why do universities find this type of service so popular? 24 x 7 Access Almost half of the universities surveyed said that their reason for automating their manual laptop loan service was to offer students the ability to borrow or return a device at any time of day or nightwithout staff interaction.

Agile & Flexible Working

The next popular reason for offering this type of service is to make the most of space available. We are seeing more and more universities replace traditional PC desks with self-service device loan lockers which take up minimal space allowing areas to become agile spaces where students can either work on their own or collaboratively in a group.

Reasons University Choose Self-Service Smart Lockers

Attract More Students

Still high on the list is that by offering students the ability to borrow a device from the lockers made it more attractive to students when deciding where they want to study. Feedback from students using this type of service has been really positive and often students ask for more laptops and lockers to be made available across campus and not just in libraries.

Bridging the Digital Divide

Even in this day and age, not all students have access to their own laptop or tablet. Therefore, it is a must that universities have a pool of devices that can be loaned to these students. Self-service lockers offer the ideal solution as fully charged devices can be shared quickly and easily.

Easy Device Management

IT staff love the self-service lockers because each locker bay can be networked, allowing devices to be updated remotely. They also make light work of asset management ensuring devices are returned and if required, fines for not returning devices can be issued.

What makes LapSafe®’s self-service lockers so special

LapSafe®’s self-service lockers are the most sophisticated and intelligent self-service lockers available in the market and are the most popular lockers within education. The lockers can loan a device or multiple items at any time of day.

Devices such as laptops, Chromebooks and tablets can be fully charged and then automatically loaned to borrowers without staff interaction.

LapSafe® lockers always loan the best charged device and charges all devices simultaneously in the fastest possible time. Each locker bay can be networked allowing IT technicians to update devices remotely.

The lockers can be integrated with the university's library management system or work as stand-alone units loaning devices similar to that of a library book. The lockers are intuitive so little or no training is required to use them.

What The Most Popular Device Loaned?

The survey also revealed that most popular device being loaned to students from the lockers is still laptops with only 4% loaning tablets and 2% loaning Chromebooks.

Some universities offer students the ability to charge and store their own device supporting BYOD (Bring your own device). The lockers can be configured to accommodate both.

What is The Most Popular Loan Time?

Offering students, the ability to borrow a device for four to six hours is the most popular loan period.

University Smart Locker Loan Period

This is closely followed by short term between one to three hours. Around 28% offering students a longer loan period of around 7+ hours.

Advertising The Service to Students

Once the service is installed, we asked our customers how they advertise the service to their students. The most common ways of doing this is via social media, internal signage or website. Word of mouth soon gets round as students share news of the service with their colleagues.

Loans Per Month

Prior to the Covid pandemic an average of 12,000 loans were carried out each month across our customer sites.

Are These Lockers Just For Libraries?

Most universities deploy self-service within their library or resource areas, however over the last few years they are expanding this service to other faculties around the campus.

Student & Staff Feedback

In our survey we asked students and staff for their feedback on the service. Here are just a few of their comments:

"Staff and students find the service really useful."

"All the feedback has been really positive. A few students have commented that it's the best investment the university has made!"

"Students like the service. They just want more devices."

"Yes, love the service, it works well."

"Overall, it is great!"

"I love the freedom it gives the students to choose where and how they work - that's priceless!"

"The proof is in their usage, we have found that the students love them."

"Nice features, user friendly."

"Students find it very useful."

"We now have more face-to-face time with our students."

The Covid Pandemic

During the pandemic, LapSafe® introduced several ways that universities could make loaning devices safer for students when they returned.

The lockers now offer the ability to hold back devices to allow for cleaning or for bacteria and viruses to naturally die before loaning them out again.

All lockers are now manufactured using anti-microbial paint to offer protection from the spread of bacteria or virus.

In addition to the above, LapSafe® has launched a UV-C Sanitise Station that can be used along side the lockers or used standalone. The sanitise station can sanitise a laptop in under 15 seconds!

We are here to help you automate your manual loan service or answer any questions that you may have call our team now +44 (0)1787 226 166.