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Estimating classroom utilisation using Wi-Fi data

Team:  Brooke Jacobson, Sam Field, Richard Goh, Chris Wyatt
CIC specialists: Cara Kreck and Dr. Kevin Chai

Curtin Properties engaged with Innovation Central Perth (formerly known as the Cisco Innovation Centre) to explore the potential use of Wi-Fi data to analyse and estimate classroom utilisation. To enable this, surveys to manually count the number of people in selected classrooms were conducted in Semester 2, 2016 and Semester 1, 2017. Wi-Fi data over the same time period was measured using Cisco’s provided Connected Mobile Experiences (CMX) software package and stored in a large database, provisioned and maintained by Curtin Information Technology Services (CITS). Additional data from student class enrollments and timetabling systems was collected for this study.

From this dataset, we developed a number of rule and machine learning based methods to predict the number of people in classrooms and validated these methods against the survey data. It was discovered that Wi-Fi data can be used to provide decent estimates of the number of people using rooms only when averaged over time and not for individual predictions at a given point in time. The team plans to explore other methods of measuring room utilisation using other data collected from other types of sensors in addition to Wi-Fi data to increase the amount and reliability of training data that can be used for modelling in future projects.