Uni housing developer examines network suppliers

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Uni housing developer examines network suppliers

Campus Living Villages Fund has embarked on a process of standardising the telco and cabling infrastructure suppliers it uses as part of student accommodation facility developments in Australia.

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The company, which claims to be Australia’s largest student accommodation developer and operator, said yesterday that an overhaul of its backend financial system from MYOB to NetSuite will help it ‘to better analyse the cost lines’ associated with individual equipment suppliers.

Its chief executive, Iain Rothwell, said approximately one-third of Australian universities were ‘actively bidding or in discussion with us over additional student housing’.

“On the periphery we do have standard suppliers for procurement of what goes into a building, but it’s fair to say we’ve not been in a position to maximise [those arrangements],” Rothwell told iTnews.

“As most of our facilities are located on-campus, we generally seek compatibility with the University’s network infrastructure, but the risk is that you get taken to the lowest common denominator.

“We have preferred network specifications – for example, our core common areas are generally wireless-enabled and each of the student rooms has a cable connection.

“We also provide on most of our sites a computer common room and work and study area, and most are linked to the general University platform, mostly AARNet,” said Rothwell.

Rothwell said that University involvement in the proposed network specifications for accommodation developments is mixed.

“In some instances, Universities work closely with us, in others it’s independent,” he said.

However, network and component quality in each new and acquired development is critical.

This is because Campus Living Villages (CLV) typically operates on a build, own, operate and transfer (BOOT) scheme in partnership with Universities.

CLV fund, develop, manage and maintain the facility for an agreed term – generally 40 years, according to Rothwell – before handing ownership of the facility to the University.

It is therefore in the best of interests of CLV and its investors to build with higher quality and longer-lasting materials, plant and componentry to maximise replacement cycles.

“We have very detailed schedules of exactly when all the items in the facility need to be replaced,” said Rothwell.

“We don’t want to be part of a low-quality game.”

Read on to page 2 for details of how CLV is revamping its own IT infrastructure.
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