THE LATEST EDITION

November 2018
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Open new doors and opportunities

Across the country universities are preparing to intake thousands of new students for the coming academic year. During this time, universities will have to manage an influx in the number of security swipe cards issued and an increasing number of modifications to existing ones. As such, it is critical that universities streamline operations as it is simply not good enough for a new student or employee to be denied access to a campus location because of a delay in security synchronisation – and that’s where data integration fits in.

Newcastle University, one of the UK’s leading institutions of higher education and home to over 17,000 students and over 5,000 staff, is set to benefit from the implementation of a sophisticated data integration solution. As a result, the university aims to improve access to campus facilities and customer service.

Access all areas

Newcastle University already had a secure campus based on swipe card access systems to buildings and residential sites. However, its door security system comprised of a number of different legacy based implementations and technologies, all served from a central hub on campus. This meant that the synchronisation of security information and access rights, down to the various discrete systems and card readers across campus, historically happens on a batch basis once a day. Students and staff often found that they would have to wait up to 24 hours before any changes to access rights were effective at the door level.

Working with data integration specialist, Talend, Newcastle University is set to deploy a reliable and scalable enterprise service bus solution, which will enable the university to bring data from different applications together to manage their campus-wide security, accurately and in real-time. With the ability to securely manage huge data volumes efficiently, the university will be able to synchronise real-time access rights changes. For students and staff alike that means unhindered access to all buildings all the time.

Business-wide benefits

The security project is not the first partnership between Newcastle University and Talend. In the past, the firm has worked with the university to deploy an open source data management tool to streamline data efficiently and to provide real-time access to institutional information for its students and staff members.

After implementing an open source data management tool, the university not only sped up the processing of data but it also improved data quality due to the system’s scheduling capability, meaning that jobs can be run automatically at any time. Working in this way, the university gained a round the clock system which processes data instantly, eliminating the chance of human error and allowing staff members to focus on their core teaching. Being open source, the solution also helped Newcastle University to keep costs low and implement the product within days or weeks rather than months, which is often the case with proprietary software.

In fact, new open source solutions are significantly bringing down the cost of handling the voluminous and diverse amount of structured, semi-structured and unstructured data organisations create, capture and store – the so-called -big data”. There is little or no upfront cost and open source software leverages commodity hardware. And, from the perspective of the public sector, open source technologies are allowing them to gain a level of business intelligence that would have been completely out of their reach before.

The big picture

Working with a trusted data expert, universities have the ability to dramatically improve data management and integration across a whole host of operations. At the forefront of technology, Newcastle University has shown exactly this and as students start to flood in for the start of this academic year, the university can be confident that no student or member of staff will have to wait to access critical campus locations or struggle to receive real-time institutional data.

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