University of Otago

Educating the future

August 17, 2022

Case in brief

  • A best-in-the-world design of the Bloomberg Markets Lab. Note that there are 1,000 of these globally.
  • A single command centre, driven by our software, for both in-lecture and non-lecture content modes. 
  • Enabling the utilisation of the screens in the 50% of the time they are not in use for lectures to display the messaging deemed as important by the content owners.
  • All due to a recommendation from a current customer.

The BNZ Bloomberg Markets Lab

The BNZ Bloomberg Markets Lab at the Otago Business School is a signature space located in the atrium at the heart of the business school. 

One of NZ's largest academic trading labs with 12 Bloomberg professional terminals, it is designed to mirror real-world environments, giving students and faculty access to the real-time and historical financial market data, news, and analysis used by the world's leading investment companies, banks, corporations and government agencies.

The lab offers students valuable experience by allowing them to use real-time data, including stocks, currencies, commodities, derivatives, and news – improving data analysis and digital literacy skills. The Bloomberg Lab is used extensively in Investment, Behavioural Finance, Corporate Finance, and Banking courses.

BNZ Bloomberg Markets Lab located in the Otago Business School’s atrium.

The situation

Through the combined commitment of BNZ, NZX and Bloomberg, there was an opportunity to take a “blank sheet” approach to the design of the lab. 

Covid had significantly changed the nature of on-campus learning. The Business School was mindful of ensuring its students had the best possible learning experience and outcomes. They asked themselves - how do we differentiate our on-campus experience to ensure students value it in a more remote and virtual learning environment? 

They wanted to make something best-in-the-world. To make a statement as to the importance of the business/investment/finance curriculum to Otago, the value of being on campus, and to reinforce the significance of the Otago Business School as a world-class institution.

The design key

Luckily, through the NZX experience with Eyemagnet, they had stakeholders that had a view of what was possible to do in physical spaces - so they involved us early in how this space would take shape. 

We noticed the nature of the space as being important. It was very central and highly visible - so valuable from a communications/on-campus experience perspective, but it was also a working lecture environment - so needed to perform that function well as a primary need. 

How might we get the lab to perform these dual purposes?

The solution

Firstly, a statement environment, including a miniature (but still significant at 12m long) replica of the NZX ticker on the outside of the NZX buildings in both Wellington and Auckland. The LED displays allow for a seamless canvas to display live NZX data via an API connection to our software. This is an eye-catching feature and visually endorses Otago as the hub of trading/investment in NZ.

Secondly, an enhanced lecture mode. We demolished the lecturers' previous display limitations - driven by/and limited to legacy screens displaying content from laptops connected via HDMI cables. Enabling the lecturer to easily switch between HDMI, screen casting user sessions on the Bloomberg terminals, streamed video content and live news/social feeds etc. Making the in-lecture experience better.

Thirdly, a non-lecture mode. This is a prime site for the Business School. But only 50% of its time is in use in lectures. The rest of the time, the screens would be blank. We created the ability to easily switch into a mode where all of the screens are centrally controlled as a “billboard”. Allowing the team to display communication, announcement, marketing and wayfinding messages to the passerby. 

All driven by our software as the central command centre for it all.

Key things of note

There are a number of areas where this project is particularly noteworthy. 

  1. API connection into live NZX data - Establishing the connection between the two systems and then displaying it as an available playlist on our software. The connections to systems is not new for us, but the nature of the NZX data and the dimensions of the display (long and narrow) were.
  2. Streaming the Bloomberg terminals into lectures - Allowing for screen capture and video streaming of all in-lecture users' terminals at the push of a button by the lecturer.
  3. Share of Voice - creating a smart playlist to play in non-lecture time allows each department, partner, or sponsor to be allocated a guaranteed share of time (voice) on the screen.

The future

The work with Otago University is gaining international recognition and we are very excited about the collaboration with Bloomberg and our joint vision for the financial education sector.

How could we digitise and transform your space?