This fall, UR students can monitor occupancy rates in River Campus Library (RCL) spaces through the Waitz App, seeing which areas of the library have free space without having to physically visit it themselves. 

“Waitz shows how busy each floor of the library is so students can know […] before they leave their dorm or house,” Madi VanDeVelde, Social Media Manager of Waitz’s parent company Occuspace, said. “Now, students never have to waste time pacing the halls of Rush Rhees or Carlson Libraries looking for an open seat again.”

Waitz monitors the first and second floors of Rush Rhees Library as well as iZone. It also covers the first three levels of the Carlson Library. 

“The beauty of Waitz has really been in helping anyone who’s walked into one of our popular spaces, like Gleason or iZone only to discover that they can’t find a space,” Maurini Strub, Director of Performance & User Engagement of RCL, said. “Using the app or looking at one of the dashboards, they can identify their best bets for an alternative space — and, in the ideal scenario, to know before they go to the library where’s the best place to find a spot.”

Occuspace utilizes the Internet of Things to determine how many people are in a given space. They installed sensors into the walls of RCL spaces that scan for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi signals. The signals are then converted into live occupancy data which are displayed in the monitors within RCL and on the mobile app. According to Occuspace CEO Nic Halverson, the sensors have at least a 90% accuracy rate and do not collect any personally identifiable information. The algorithm also takes into account the number of devices an average student uses when calculating the occupancy rate of a space. 

Halverson launched Occuspace in 2017 with his roommates in UC San Diego after being frustrated by the lack of open spaces at the University’s library. “I was walking up and down the eight floors of UCSD’s Geisel Library trying to find a seat to study one night only to see zero spaces available,” Halverson said. “I literally said to myself out loud, ‘I wish I knew how busy every floor was before I came!’ That’s when Occuspace was born.”

You can download Waitz App on IOS and Android devices and select UR as your location.

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