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A large and diverse university offering a wide range of disciplines.

The Challenge

  • Improve the printing and photocopy service for students and staff in the Main Library, making it easier, quicker and more secure to use.
  • To enable Birmingham University to manage, control and monitor its print and copy output, reducing paper wastage and user misuse.
  • Reduce costs to a minimum, and replace the university's disposable paper magnetic stripe high security cards that cost GBP 13,000 per year. The existing system is outdated, expensive to maintain and difficult to operate.
  • Integrate printing and photocopying control to utilise the existing student ID Card, of which there were 2 types, magnetic stripe card and Mifare contactless smartcards.
  • Card readers were previously not networked so the collection of data was time consuming and labour intensive. This also meant that lost or stolen cards could not be blocked from the system.
  • The pre existing print system meant that card readers were hard wired into the printers and was not dedicated to the card holder - this led to abuse of the system.
  • Install a complete on line management control system that would enable staff to monitor and control the cost and usage of printing and photocopying resourcefully.
  • Allocate card ownership that allows students to monitor their print and copy usage.
  • Manage and maintain the system remotely with ease.

The Solution

Upgraded the print and photocopy control system to consist of 70 MB20 terminals, 5 pay stations, 1 registration station, 7 card reader keyboards and 2 print release stations to all communicate with Monitor's Supervisor Net management software and third party print management software. The entire system has been integrated with the staff and student ID cards across seven libraries.

The Result

Print management software gives total accountability and accurate assessment of print volumes and cost savings through the elimination of paper wastage and misuse.

The printing user interface is much easier to use for students as it details what the user has to print, how many pages will be printed, the cost of the print job and the remaining balance.

Users pay for photocopying with either magnetic stripe card or Mifare card to activate the photocopier. The card reader shows their balance on the card.

Any lost or stolen cards can be blocked and the existing balance transferred to a new card.

Students can top up their cards using self service paystations to reload value to their card, which are located around the Main Library.

The print and photocopy system is now networked which has made it easier for staff to manage and control the system and monitor overall paper usage and cost.

The Future

Intend to integrate this solution into other departments within the University with the main aim of making the whole system cashless with the possibility of payment by the web.

"The University of Birmingham is extremely pleased with how easy the system is to operate; the solution does especially well in providing a high standard of service to the end user."

Will Cooper