App for repair requests at the campus

| Michaela Nesvarova

If you live or work at the UT campus, you might have experience with submitting requests for repairs in your house or office. You might also know that doing so isn’t always an easy and transparent process. UT researchers Alberto Martinetti and Roberto Reyes García have decided to change that. They are developing an online platform that will allow you to send and track your maintenance requests with a push of a button.

Photo by: RIKKERT HARINK

The two Maintenance Engineering experts have recently started the UT Maintain Living Smart Campus project, which aims to generally improve maintenance of the university campus. ‘The end product of this project will be an online platform accessible from your computer or through an app on your phone,’ explains Roberto Reyes García, who has also lived on the campus and knows how cumbersome it can be to report problems and get them fixed.

‘Nowadays it takes very long to even get a response to your request. There are too many parties involved and you often get referred from one person to another before you find someone who can help you,’ continues Reyes García. ‘Users also get very little feedback and therefore don’t know what is actually happening with their request and if and when their issue will be fixed.’

Report issues, win points

‘Based on this, we saw that there was an opportunity for improvement and submitted our proposal to the Living Smart Campus program,’ says Alberto Martinetti. ‘The resulting app will cover the whole campus. It will allow students, staff members and even guests to report all issues – everything from a broken light bulb to a leaky pipe. The user interface will be very intuitive. People will only need to select existing options and will even have the possibility to upload a photo or a video of the issue.’

‘The idea is to make the process more attractive for people and make sure that they react if they see something at the campus isn’t working,’ clarifies Reyes García. ‘That’s why users will have the opportunity to win points through the app and exchange these points for free products, for example.’  

App ready in 2018

The researchers are already busy with involving external companies in the project, including De Veste that manages housing at the UT. ‘In the end, De Veste will benefit from the project, because the structured approach of this platform will save them money,’ thinks Martinetti. ‘To ensure users only need one platform, we will also try to use the existing maintenance system used by the UT’s Facility Service Center (Facilitair Bedrijf).’  

The UT Maintain platform is currently under development. The first beta version of the app should be ready at the beginning of 2018, while the final version should be launched later that year. To accommodate all users at the UT campus, the app will be available in both English and Dutch.