A new digital era for the Museum of London
A new digital era for the Museum of London
In March 2021, RMIT’s Cloud Innovation Centre (CIC), powered by AWS, presented teams of students the exciting opportunity to work with the Museum of London in a fast-paced Innovation Challenge.
The Museum of London (MoL) was interested in exploring how they can work in better, smarter ways, supported by the right technology, to improve efficiency and access to their collections and research.
The museum is currently moving from its existing location into a brand-new location in London, providing them with an opportunity to reimagine both the way they currently manage buildings, and the way they will manage their facilities into the future. To help bring this to life, the Museum of London approached two Cloud Innovation Centres – RMIT University and HM Hochschule München University, Munich – to engage in our first ever international CIC Innovation Challenge collaboration.
Six multidisciplinary teams of RMIT students, along with two teams from HM University in Germany, worked on three separate challenge statements presented by the Museum of London. Each statement aimed to discover how technical solutions could help provide the secure and efficient infrastructure the museum needs to maintain their facilities and preserve its precious collections dating as far back as 251 million years before present.
The Museum of London presented three separate challenge statements to the student cohort:
In conducting their daily tasks at the Museum of London, the engineering team are constantly challenged by issues with getting access to live, accurate asset data. Additionally, work prioritisation can be complicated by incoming, unplanned, reactive tasks. Workloads are high and account for busy daily schedules and high operating costs.
MoL wanted to explore how the daily maintenance tasks for building managers could be integrated into a 3D model (such as the one being used in the construction of their new museum site), which could serve as a visual tool to organise and prioritise asset maintenance statuses, leading to increased efficiency and decreased operational costs.
How might we use a 3D model of the MoL and sensor data to show asset maintenance statuses for building operation staff?
Site engineers working for the Museum of London need to perform daily tasks that ensure the integrity of buildings and assets, as well as keeping occupants and assets safe and protected. It is imperative that these daily tasks (either planned maintenance jobs or unplanned repairs) are communicated effectively between team members to ensure engineers can complete them in a safe manner.
Currently, when given a task, engineers try to visualise it by looking at a 2D floor plan or seeking advice from others such as supervisors. These communication tools are difficult to understand, meaning engineers turn up to tasks without having planned out the safest way to operate.
The Museum of London wanted to explore how to build communication tools that provide a richer visualisation for engineers, allowing them to deliver high quality maintenance activities in the safest ways possible, and improving the efficiency and cost of operations.
How might we visually communicate the MoL's maintenance tasks so that they're easy to understand and highlight safety concerns for engineers?
Building managers and shift engineers at the Museum of London need to access lots of different types of information every day in order to complete their tasks efficiently and safely. This data is stored in separate places, making it difficult to access and time-consuming when beginning or finishing a shift.
MoL wanted to explore how all this building data could organised and communicated to shift workers in better, smarter ways. Having identified that audio communication is a fast and digestible way of giving and receiving information, they challenged the CIC student teams to develop a smart solution to improve shift handover using audio technologies.
How might we make building data available in an audible report, for building managers and engineers, so that they can receive information on request on their way to work or in shift handover?
Students in the RMIT CIC cohort were split into six multidisciplinary teams to separately tackle each of the problem statements. Teams spent time getting to know their customer (the Building Managers and Shift Engineers at Museum of London) by attending an Industry Sponsor overview session, conducting interviews and undertaking research.
The AWS Working Backwards Workshops, led by an AWS Digital Innovation specialist, guided students through a customer-led, structured innovation methodology. Teams produced a refined Press Release and FAQs for their imagined solution to MoL’s problem statement, before moving into solution mode guided by the AWS Senior Solutions Architect expert.
The three different challenge statements presented in this project, along with the level of detail, time and energy provided by sponsor Steve Watson, opened a broad range of possibilities for students when creating their technical solutions.
Each of the six student teams developed a refined understanding of their respective challenge statement and pitched their prototype solution at the Final Showcase to the RMIT CIC team, AWS team, Industry Sponsor and RMIT academics.
Team ‘Shadow Builders’ presented an innovative solution to their challenge statement, building out a mobile application that intends to act as a real-time alerting system of onsite incidents. Compatible with both Android and iOS devices to ensure its usability by all building operation staff, the app helps visualize data in the form of charts so that the building managers can make informed decisions and get an overall picture of the maintenance required.
Teams working on this challenge focused on the importance of creating solutions that are not only technically advanced, but also personable and engaging for its users. One team incorporated the concept of a ‘Digital Twin’ into a custom built cloud-based web application, and another devised and app, Intelli, that guides an engineer to the location of the targeted asset using a 3D map and engaging visuals. Both solutions aimed to save valuable time and reduce safety risks of Shift Engineers.
This challenge allowed teams to play with digital voice assistant technology (such as Alexa) as a way of communicating more quickly and effectively to MoL building staff. Teams integrated Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered voice assistants into their prototype solutions, to allow engineers to receive personalised audio updates on their tasks for the day. One team, the ‘Visionaries’ even incorporated a Q&A feature, allowing for dynamic, two-way interactions between the bot and the engineer users.
The RMIT Cyber Ready CIC is a collaboration between RMIT and Amazon Web Services (AWS) and forms part of a growing global network of Cloud Innovation Centres (CICs), designed to address public sector challenges through digital innovation.
The CIC is based at RMIT’s home of innovation and entrepreneurship, Activator, and draws from experts across various fields, including RMIT’s Blockchain Innovation Hub, Health Transformation Lab and RMIT Online – giving partners access to the best innovative thinkers and brightest young minds from across the University.
The CIC is backed by AWS’ cloud technology and expertise in machine learning, high-performance computing and data analytics, ensuring prototypes are equipped to deliver practical solutions using cutting edge tools and technology.
The Museum of London (MoL) is an award-winning, charitable institution funded by a variety of organisations and individuals including the City of London Corporation and Greater London Authority (GLA). The Museum of London tells the story of the capital from its first settlers to modern times, receiving over a million visitors to their museums each year. It is home to the largest archaeological archive in Europe and cares for more than two million objects in its collections. The museum has sites in central London, Docklands and in Hackney.
Acknowledgement of Country
RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.
Acknowledgement of Country
RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business.