In the current era of technological advancements where there is an app for almost everything, hostel management appears to lag behind in adopting a new innovation. From redundant paperwork to time-consuming manual processes, most of the hostels are still following archaic methods to manage their day to day activities. These old school methods of functioning results in ineffective communication between hostels, its students and parents.
Some of the hostels or student housing companies are investing in new-age technologies to differentiate themselves by being markedly different from traditional university-led hostel systems. Such technologies include facial recognition security systems, RFID enabled libraries and canteens, attendance systems that both students and parents can access on their smartphones.
Even though student housing as a market is currently dominated by university-led facilities, it will potentially see a substantial growth with private companies entering the space to plug demand gaps. Real estate consultancy firm JLL estimates the space is expected to see a 38% CAGR amounting to Rs 2,400 crore by 2020.
Most companies in the space, like OxfordCaps, Stanza Living and Placio have standardised their attendance systems with a professional escalation matrix. They also offer biometric security systems where entry and exit times are recorded. Hostels can set a threshold time, based on which if the student is not in within a certain time, parents get a notification. OxfordCaps is leveraging IoT-connected devices to monitor energy and space consumption, specifically in gyms, reading lounges and TV rooms, where usage usually remains untracked.
Considering industry average of around 40% for food wastage in hostels in urban centres, various organisations like Stanza Living are using advance analytics to reduce operational costs. With the ability to predict and analyse consumption data, food wastage at Stanza properties have been reduced to less than 10%.
On the other hand, Placio brings social incentive that is used by ride hailing firms such as Uber and Ola to hostels. It digitally tracks various parameters like student behaviour, general cleanliness, punctuality etc. to reward the better ranked students with online gift vouchers.
With majority of the students staying at hostels to complete their education, such tech-based offerings not only improve the quality of life but also help them get exposed to advanced technologies like facial recognition, digital gift vouchers etc.