Gardens, Libraries and Museums of Oxford

About GLAM

Organisation Type

Museum/tourist centre

Size of Operation

Five sites

Client Since

2014

Product Suites

SPARK® Managed Service 

Customised Guest Access WiFi and User Experience Portal

SPARK® Analytics

24 / 7 / 365 Service Desk

 


 

Challenges Solved

Wanting to roll out a renewed guest-access WiFi solution that enabled Museums of Oxford to showcase a unique branded user experienceengage with their visitors and understand visitors through analytics data, WiFi SPARK proposed a solution that met the site’s needs and worked within its budget. Speedily installed, the solution enables the Gardens, Libraries and Museums of Oxford to engage with guests like never before whilst providing premium WiFi during their visit.  

 

GLAM

 

Who are the Gardens, Libraries and Museums of Oxford?

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Two University museums, the Oxford University Museum of Natural History and the Bodleian Libraries, have all historically won awards at the Vice-Chancellor's Public Engagement and Research Awards. 

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The Bodleian Library is one of the oldest libraries in Europe and is the second-largest library in Britain, after the British Library. 

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The History of Science Museum now holds an unrivaled collection of early astronomical and mathematical instruments from Europe and the Islamic world and an exceptionally rich set of microscopes. 

Goals

  • Adopt innovation that facilitates guest-access WiFi at some of Oxford's most historic sites

  • Through the WiFi, allow users to engage with online content, information and wayfinding to enrich their visits

  • Facilitate the Gardens, Libraries and Museums of Oxford in learning more about their visitors, the capacity of the sites and the movement of visitors across them through standard analytical reporting

  • Develop a tailored User Experience that contributes to establishing the Gardens, Libraries and Museums of Oxford brand and create a polished welcoming stop for users

  • Move all data to the cloud

  • Ensure the rollout was fast and effective so to be ready for an influx of visitors after the lifting of Covid restrictions

  • Offer a reliable 24/7/365 UK-based Service Desk for round the clock support

Goals

  • Adopt innovation that facilitates guest-access WiFi at some of Oxford's most historic sites

  • Through the WiFi, allow users to engage with online content, information and wayfinding to enrich their visits

  • Facilitate the Gardens, Libraries and Museums of Oxford in learning more about their visitors, the capacity of the sites and the movement of visitors across them through standard analytical reporting

  • Develop a tailored User Experience that contributes to establishing the Gardens, Libraries and Museums of Oxford brand and create a polished welcoming stop for users

  • Move all data to the cloud

  • Ensure the rollout was fast and effective so to be ready for an influx of visitors after the lifting of Covid restrictions

  • Offer a reliable 24/7/365 UK-based Service Desk for round the clock support

About the Gardens, Libraries and Musuems of Oxford

The Museums of Oxford encompasses the University’s wide selection of history and science museums, public spaces and libraries, all of which have a long history of welcoming tourists and intellectuals from across the globe each year.  

The Ashmolean Museum is the University’s Museum of art and archaeology, founded in 1683. It is Britain’s first public museum and is home to half a million years of human history. Moving away from anthropology, the Oxford University Museum of Natural History holds an internationally significant collection of natural history specimens and archives in a stunning example of neo-Gothic architecture.  

The History of Science Museum stands in the world’s oldest surviving purpose-built public museum building. Discover stories of science to spark curiosity, from Einstein’s black board to life saving Penicillin cultures.  

Returning to more anthropology and archaeology, the Pitt Rivers Museum displays collections from every continent throughout human history.  

Perhaps the most famous of all Oxford’s libraries, the Bodleian Library was founded by Sir Thomas Bodley in 1602. Since then, the Bodleian libraries have now grown to be the largest academic library system in the UK. 

Oxford’s Botanic Garden completes one's tour of Oxford. The oldest botanic garden in Britain, it forms the most compact, yet diverse, collection of plants in the world.  

Pit-stopping at just a selection of Oxford’s sensational collection of historic sites, the epoch-making contributions to the world of history, science, anthropology, archaeology and botany made by Oxford’s Museums brings thousands of visitors through their doors and will continue to do so for years to come.  

“It has been a pleasure and a delight working with WiFi SPARK over the years – starting in 2014 with the initial roll-out. During all these years, the team has been most helpful, approachable and demonstrated flexibility to cater to our ongoing (often changing) requirements and managed to successfully navigate the Oxford procurement landscape. With the install of the service, we are now confident that the service is in safe hands for years to come.”

Anjanesh Babu

Lead Architect

Gardens and Museums Infrastructure and Improvement Programme

Our Solution

WiFi SPARK has had a long and successful history with Oxford University. Installing guest-access WiFi at Bodleian’s Weston Library over twelve years ago, a new initiative to improve the infrastructure across the city’s museums and gardens saw the team look to WiFi SPARK to expand its solution across more sites.  

‘By investing in our people, our digital and our physical infrastructure, we will create new ‘spaces’ that allow a deeper understanding of culture and science past, present and future.’ - GLAM Strategic Plan  

The Gardens, Libraries and Museums of Oxford (GLAM) strategic plan for 2020/21-2022/23 intends to grow its global audiences while nurturing and supporting local communities and fostering new ways of working. As noted in the plan, utilising digital is one of the routes GLAM will take to gain that deeper connection with visitors.  

Coming to WiFi SPARK with their aims and objectives, the WiFi SPARK team was able to develop a solution that would allow GLAM to increase visitor engagement, gain analytics insights, develop their virtual brand and install a robust WiFi solution, all with an attentive Service Desk on hand to help.  

It is important for WiFi SPARK that it does not just provide a flat-pack solution to each of its customers. Tailoring each aspect of the build to the desires, requirements and budgets of the customer works to fit WiFi SPARK’s buildable solution. At GLAM, an original proposal was made to install a dual server solution for increased visitor connectivity and fail-over facility, however, this did not fit within the ideal budget in the mind of the infrastructure improvement team, and although it would allow connection for a large number of visitors, would be an exorbitant solution for the spaces. Working closely with the GLAM team, WiFi SPARK went back to the drawing board to value engineer a more appropriate solution ensuring the project remained in budget and met the needs of the sites.  

Building on top of the guest-access WiFi connectivity, a unique user experience (UX) portal was developed to greet visitors upon their connection to the WiFi. With a unique UX for each site, the individual teams can edit their background images to reflect new site updates, seasonal changes or specific events. This amenability contributes to the solidification of brand identity and encourages user engagement.  

The UX’s are set up as data-click entries, this means that to access the WiFi users need to enter their name, email address, that they are over 18 and that they agree to their data being collected and the Terms and Conditions. By the end-user agreeing to their data being collected, GLAM can understand their audience demographic like never before. This information can inform Marketing or events decisions, for example, if there is an influx of students attending around September/October, GLAM could release a special discount offer for students visiting museums to grow their audience further.  

With the aim of moving away from their virtual machine workspaces and migrating to the cloud, WiFi SPARK responded by engineering a system to enable the transition in partnership with the talented Oxford IT team. This enabled remote working and management from across the sites, as well as facilitated a two-week delivery window for the WiFi SPARK team. Working in collaboration, WiFi SPARK engineers calibrated and configured all of the technology for GLAM. Working in partnership with the Oxford team enabled a full understanding of the software and an even faster service delivery.  

Wrapping up the solution is WiFi SPARK’s managed service. Continuous monitoring means that problems are able to be solved before they are noticed by the customer or end user. Furthermore, the 24 / 7 / 365 Service Desk is on hand to answer any customer or end-user queries. It also guarantees that if an end-user has any difficulty navigating the portal, they can seek assistance from the Service Desk and not add to the workload of GLAM staff. 

A solution that will greet 
thousands of tourists and academics this year

The Value

The value added for the Gardens, Libraries and Museums of Oxford is multi-faceted. First and foremost, there is the value engineering in installing a solution moulded to fit the needs and requirements of each site. The buildable solution also ensures that if the sites grow, the technology can grow with them.  

Secondly, aiming to harness digital to increase engagement with visitors has been facilitated through the new UX. Providing a one-stop-shop for all site information, wayfinding and links to websites and social media pages means that it is easier than ever for visitors to interact with the sites virtually and stay connected to them long after they’ve gone home. Encouraging guests to register their email address further solidifies the bridge between GLAM and their growing visitors.  

 

Thirdly, analytical reporting through the UX allows GLAM to understand its visitors like never before. Gaining insights on its visitor demographics to feed back to the Marketing department informs campaigns and builds visitor personas to reinforce and excel Marketing strategy.  

Finally, a value added to each and every WiFi SPARK solution is the entirely managed service and 24 / 7 / 365 UK-based Service Desk on hand to monitor digital performance and answer customer and end user queries. The provision of the Service Desk means GLAM staff have no need to worry about the guest-access WiFi solution on top of their work, the Service Desk are available to help, whenever it may be needed.  

 

The Future

With the most recent site addition being the Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum and two years still on the clock for GLAM’s strategic growth plan, the future could hold a wider investment in more sites to build a solution that covers the breadth of Oxfords visitor-attraction landscape.  

As aforementioned, WiFi SPARK’s buildable solution means that upgrading technology to adapt to higher visitor numbers or amending the UX to engage with users differently for specific events or to collect a wider range of data is always an option. Working closely with a new account manager, the future will be one of sustained mutual growth and respect between the Gardens, Libraries and Museums of Oxford and WiFi SPARK.  

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To download a copy of the Gardens, Libraries and Museums of Oxford case study as a PDF, simply click the link below.

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