Last week we talked to Francesco Figari, a PhD student, and one of the people in the Informatics Building responsible for the brilliant idea behind the touch screens in the building.
“These screens have been in the building since 2008 - one screen per floor - but they were not connected. Then Bob Fisher took the initiative to do something with them, so we came up with ideas to make these usable and useful to both people in the building and visitors.”
The presence of the screens facilitated a better knowledge of the building overall:
“At first the displays mainly targeted visitors helping them to find their way inside the building. Interactive maps that we created from scratch are very easy to use - each map reflects the colour of each floor. Everything is one touch away: finding people in the building (what office, what floor), info about events, mail delivery uses them as well. Not to mention they offer a great overview of the building: people have become more familiar with the areas, labs and building facilities outside of their research area - like the laboratories in the basement.”
But that’s not all. More recently the screens have been displaying information on what people can do to save energy: turning off lights, computer monitors, and how to minimize the consumption of electricity,ventilation, and heating.
“We plan to post a graph with energy consumption and over the winter we’ll add info on how to use the 1 hour timed extension of the heating system to stop people from bringing and using their own electric heaters which take up quite a lot of energy.”
Does this work?
“The funny thing is, some people even took the advice literally and turned off the screen that was displaying the message: ‘turn off the screen.’ Jokes aside, before the energy reduction campaign started, I used to notice people’s screens being on at night - with the glass building structure it’s quite easy to spot these— but recently I have seen fewer and fewer, sign that the screens and the messages actually work!”
This article was published on Dec 12, 2011