Waitz at the Library

Waitz sensors installed in the McLennan-Redpath Complex, provide users with real-time data on relative busy-ness of library study areas.

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Feedback & questions

  • info.library [at] mcgill.ca (Email us)

Study area in McLennan

Know Before You Go. Waitz shows you how busy places are in real-time so you don't have to worry about wasting time.Project description

During the busiest times of the year we regularly hear from students regarding how challenging it can be to find a place to study in the library, and this feedback has only increased with the temporary closure of the Schulich Library. In order to help address this concern, McGill Library is working with Waitz to display space use information online that shows how busy the McLennan-Redpath Complex is in real-time, by floor, so that students can save time.

Starting the week of February 24, 2020, visit the Waitz visualization page or download the free Waitz mobile app (available for both Android and iOS devices) to know how busy a McLennan-Redpath workspace is beforehand.

The McGill Library will use the anonymous data collected to improve space efficiency and sustainability practices (e.g. space layout, facilities systems modifications, allocation of resources towards space maintenance, etc.) over time.

How does it work? Is my data protected?

Waitz uses custom IoT sensors that scan for radio signals (Bluetooth & WiFi) in an area. Scans pick up laptops, cell phones, wearables, and other connected devices. Total signal activity is analyzed to estimate the number of people. Scans see the MAC address of all devices in the area, which are immediately hashed (cannot be decrypted) on the device. This means that no one, ourselves included, can view specific MAC address information, protecting the privacy of individuals. For more information on Waitz's privacy policy click here.

The McGill Library and Waitz are committed to protecting your privacy. The Waitz service does not collect or keep data on individual people. MAC address information is immediately hashed (cannot be decrypted) and no personally identifiable information is ever processed or stored on Waitz or McGill Library servers.



Timeline, scope of work and impact on users (subject to change)

Timeline Affected Areas Scope of Work Impact to Users
Ongoing as of February 10, 2020 Not applicable. Development of website visualizations, website integration + other methods to show usage. Not applicable.

Week of February 10, 2020

All study areas in the McLennan-Redpath Library Complex. Space analysis and installation approximately 90 Waitz sensor devices. Increase in traffic in the affected areas.
Week of February 17, 2020 All study areas in the McLennan-Redpath Library Complex. Collection and calibration of space usage information. Not applicable.
Week of February 24, 2020 All study areas in the McLennan-Redpath Library Complex. Launch Waitz service and app at McGill Library.

Increased awareness of busy places in real-time.

Ongoing All study areas in the McLennan-Redpath Library Complex. Data assessment leading to space improvements. Increase in space efficiency and sustainability practices over time.


How accurate is the data?

Accuracy ranges from 80% - 95% depending on the size of the location (bigger locations are more accurate).

What if I have multiple devices?

The algorithm developed ensures that Waitz can account for a variable number of devices per person.

Does Waitz track individuals?

Waitz only accounts for the total number of people and do not keep data on an individual people. While Waitz sensors do see MAC Address information, this is immediately hashed on device and no personally identifiable information is ever processed or stored in Waitz or McGill Library servers.

Does Waitz do anything else with the data?

Waitz will work with McGill Library to use the data to improve sustainability and space efficiency.

What is Waitz?

Waitz was started by 4 college students who were tired of looking around for a seat at their library, so they decided to make an app showing how busy every floor was in real-time! This was a big hit with their fellow students so the Waitz founders decided to continue spreading this service to additional college campuses. Waitz now gives real-time busyness information to hundreds of thousands of college students a day.


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