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Connect Spaces in Higher Education: Tsinghua University SEM, China’s Leading Business School

This project was awarded the iAVs Integration of the year in 2018. Recognised as the leading adoption of IoT in ProAV and higher education.

As one of the top academic institutions in Asia, Tsinghua University SEM was one of the first business schools in China. The institute is considered to be the premier training grounds for China’s business leaders. Following the historic 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. President Xi Jinping met with Tsinghua University SEM’s advisory board on 30th October 2017 to broaden development in science, business and education. Amongst the attendees are the likes of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Apple’s Tim Cook, and other thought leaders around the world. During the meeting, President Xi made strategic decisions to expedite the establishment of world-class universities in order to enhance the country’s core competitiveness. The ideology is to have state-of-the-art schools to cultivate world-class scientists, build young innovation teams and train highly capable individuals.

Spearheading Internet of Things in Higher Education

The meeting between President Xi and Tsinghua SEM’s advisory board opened the gates to promote development including support for better research centers and school facilities. Tsinghua SEM approached us to help them engineer and implement a digital system to revolutionize control within the school campus. The idea is to take a leap forward in technology and to steer in-line with the advisory board’s forthcoming ideology.

The entire project saw us expand on our IoT platform to adapt to the needs of Tsinghua SEM. We helped the school unfold the issues of combining existing systems with new devices in the school. In like manner, we introduced our IoT gateway to provide physical structure to the network and promote readiness for future IoT integrations. In conjunction with our backend services, we deployed a system that provides all control features in a unified interface. The system offers the ability to extract data right from the system itself, delivering the right information, to the right person at the right time.

Our Approach and the Challenges We Encountered

AAIOT for Tsinghua University proves to be a special project due to the distinct limitations and requirements of the client. Deployed during the week following the SEM advisory board forum. AA-IoT has been seamlessly integrated into 7 lecture theatres and the main Report Hall in the Weilun and Shundi Building of the SEM. We streamlined the entire system by integrating our gateway in each room to provide physical to digital connectivity for legacy and IoT devices. Likewise, our gateways act as an aggregator and re-distributes processing power across the school network. The gateway is one of the key components in unlocking real-time IP camera transmissions for active maintenance across the campus.

Another challenge we addressed at SEM involves creating a unified environment for monitoring and controlling devices. Our approach allows school operators to customise interface elements. Furthermore, to protect Tsinghua SEM from external access, we had to work around multiple restrictions in development to ensure system security. The entire project was delivered without external connection and the Tsinghua SEM system is capable of operating within an internal network in complete isolation. The approach eliminates unnecessary access points and vulnerabilities; ensuring complete separation to network manipulation and intrusions.

The Tsinghua ProAVIoT Platform

The Tsinghua SEM platform is the principal case of our solutions in higher education. The project facilitates control, management, and data visualization for academic institutions. In essence, the goal was to provide asset management in an intuitive manner. From the usage of the system, metrics can lead to actionable insight. This enables property management at Tsinghua to make more informed decisions, in turn, reduce manual processes and improve operational efficiencies.

The non-restrictive structure of our platform allows Tsinghua to integrate a range of dissimilar devices together. From AMX controllers, source switchers, IP cameras to environmental sensors. Our platform aggregates all these elements into an easy to use interface. Our solution also goes beyond traditional control by offering management tools. Property management can easily set access, permissions for any users. Add gateways and room controls in the future. Access the system from any device. Go beyond singular controls and manage multiple devices simultaneously, including room locking mechanisms and linked controls. Furthermore, our solution helps Tsinghua untangle the issue of being data-rich but information deprived. We organize, display and effectively store data regarding the physical usage and status of each room. At its core, the Tsinghua solution offers unparalleled functionality without sacrificing flexibility.

The Impact of AA-IoT for Tsinghua SEM

Our ProAVIoT platform has helped Tsinghua SEM extract value from device assets by eliminating the need for separate systems for tracking, controlling, and monitoring. With AAIOT, machines and data simply become accessible; from edge processing to video streaming, to real-time tracking of usage and more. Our solution has helped Tsinghua reduce dependence on human resources and manual processes. AA-IoT offers flexibility unlike any existing solutions in Tsinghua. Our system greatly reduces disarray. Property management at Tsinghua SEM can now effortlessly manipulate multiple elements of the system, including users, the number of rooms and devices, creating new interface modules, and customize compound controls. We have also made the step forward to address the underlying issues of deployment; local, cloud, or hybrid environments, our solution at Tsinghua can be integrated into any existing systems seamlessly. Ultimately, our involvement in Tsinghua SEM has proven to be a critical step forward for IoT in higher education. Not only have we created an efficient system for unifying monitoring and control in a close network. We have also set the gear for future developments of IoT in other academic institutions.

Device control and space monitoring under one unified system for Tsinghua University, School of Economics and Management (SEM)

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