1. Inventory tracking and management
With connect2 you can see instantly who’s got each piece of equipment and when it is due back. Future availability of equipment is easily displayed, making it easy to plan classes and training. If items are out for maintenance or need repairing, this information is centrally stored in the system, for continuity and consistency of inventory management between staff.
Notes and data can be added to each resource - keeping all equipment information and service histories in one central and backed up system.
- How can I predict our busiest periods and plan staff schedules?
- See a dashboard of all checkout and check-in volumes for the time ahead
- How do I know what kits to get ready?
- The dashboard displays all equipment coming in and going out each day
- How do I know which items I need to chase up?
- Connect2 tells you if any items are late back and if they are reserved for collection that day. You can pinpoint who has each item at any time
- How do I know what needs fixing or is already in maintenance?
- Connect2 displays the status of all items: what’s in service, broken or lost
- How can I tell who last used this camera?
- Usage histories are available for all items in the system, plus you get a borrowing history for each user
- How can I ensure the system stays up to date with new equipment?
- Useful import tools make the uploading of new inventory fast, accurate and hassle free.
2. Online reservations
Students will enjoy using the self-service reservation facility in connect2’s online interface. Not only does it give peace of mind that they’ve secured the resources they need, it takes the burden of coordinating reservations away from staff.
The web interface is easy to use – students will instinctively know how to browse and identify the items they need, view current and future availability, and reserve them online with instant confirmation.
It’s simple and it’s fast – students are able to do this confidently on their own, ensuring quick system adoption and establishing good borrowing practices every academic year.
With connect2, all the items you need can be booked in a single transaction. This has wide-ranging benefits:
- Management of booked items – if you need to alter the collection time, remove or add items, it’s painless when you’re dealing with a single booking
- It’s easy to repeat complex booking requirements – just use the ‘copy’ and ‘recurring reservation’ features
- It’s much less fiddly at the desk – there’s just one booking to look up per student
3. Rapid checkout/in
Lines forming at the checkout desk can be inconvenient for students and stressful for staff. Connect2 supports fast checkout of equipment keeping waiting times to a minimum. It’s compatible with barcoding, QR codes and NFC systems, so students and their bookings are instantly identified on the system.
A centralized online audit is available of all equipment loans, eliminating the need to complete and file paperwork. Terms and conditions for borrowing equipment can be accepted in advance online as part of making the reservation, for further time-savings at the desk.
Time pads can be applied between bookings to support staff in kit turnaround.
4. Student database connectivity
With an Active Directory or student record system connection all users are authenticated, with each student’s year and course of study instantly recognised. There’s no need to register on the system or check students’ details before issuing equipment. Users will only be able to book out the items they are authorised to borrow. Additional permissions can be quickly assigned following training or inductions.
Connect2 has Single Sign-on (SSO) compatibility: authentication can be achieved via Shibboleth.
5. Training and inductions management
With training-based authentication, connect2 allows for sufficient instruction and borrowing permissions to be in place before specialized items are available for loan to each student. More than this, its events module allows you to manage registrations and attendance at inductions and training sessions so that you can easily manage and publicize these events.
Room booking and equipment reservations can be managed for each training event within the same connect2 system. It’s easy to bulk book items using special views to understand what’s available and secure what’s needed in advance.
6. Better informed, more satisfied students
Your student expectations for exceptional service begin with a great online experience.
A shopping cart feature, and ‘Frequently booked with’ view, mean students are familiar with how connect2 works, finding and booking the resources they need easily every time. Their experience of great service continues at the desk with efficient handling of enquiries, quick checkout/in of items, plus helpful communications throughout the process.
- How do I know what kinds of equipment are available?
- Showcase your resources in an online catalog
- Will I have to wait in line for long to pick-up my reserved items?
- Items are checked out fast as each student and their reserved items are instantly identified in the connect2 system
- Will I like using connect2?
- Connect2 provides an easy-to-use online experience. Customer feedback tells us that 88% of student users rate connect2 as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’
- What can I borrow and how long for?
- Display images, descriptions and booking rules to support selections
- How can I learn to use more specialized equipment?
- With connect2, students can sign up for training when reserving items online
- How can you help me be better organized?
- Students are kept informed with automated reminders on what they need to pick up or return
7. Customization and flexibility
System flexibility enables each institution to communicate their branding, control lending, and present their resources as they wish.
Design the look and feel of your connect2 system with a customized home page and presentation of services.
Communications and penalties
Notification and reminder series can be tailored in connect2 to keep users informed of their pending reservations and items due for return. If items are returned late, users can be fined or suspended from the system automatically, encouraging prompt equipment returns and dramatically reducing the frequency of items going missing.
Rules and permissions
Roles, permissions and booking rules can be tailored as required, by resource type, user group (e.g. by student year, program or module), completed training and staff seniority.
Categories of equipment and search criteria can be set up to facilitate easier browsing and searching of items for users, as well as supporting inventory audits and management.
Here are some example homepages from our connect2 customers:
8. Usage analytics
Connect2 offers powerful management information through its centralized data and reporting. Readily accessible statistics and reports improve resource management providing insights on how to increase resource utilization across student groups and loan centers.
Usage data proves indispensable while carrying out reviews of inventory, for supporting decision-making on required equipment and for making purchase requests for more resources. Resource popularity, increasing or declining usage are all easily understood in the system.
- How do I understand demand for resources and know what we might need more of?
- See how often each item or collection was used at full capacity
- How can I save time when carrying out inventory audits?
- Connect2 gives you inventory statistics at a glance
- Can I see how resource usage contributes to learning outcomes?
- View resource usage histories by each student as part of learning analytics
- How can I make it easier to compile resource usage data?
- Download and export resource usage reports
- How can I assess which items break the most or need replacing?
- You can get status summaries of collections of resources, to see what quantities are broken or lost
- How can I evaluate and raise the profile of my department?
- With connect2 you can calculate the value of all loan activity and resources
9. Secure system
With connect2, security is strong, access is easy, and the administrative work is extremely low. Single sign-on (SSO) to manage access keeps security risks to a tiny minimum. No student user passwords are stored in the software. Connect2 authentication requests are seamlessly redirected to the identity provider, the academic institution, which is the sole manager of the identity credentials.
When using connect2, all users are authenticated and authorized before reserving or borrowing resources, and all usage is tracked and recorded. This results in the added security of ensuring valuable or fragile equipment is only loaned to students registered for the relevant classes or with the necessary training.