The whole-school power of visualisation


Altuity's cloud-based software helps facilities managers, bursars and school business managers maintain buildings, assets and estates. 360°photospheres, floor/site plans and maps provide a visually intuitive environment, within which you can manage and promote your facilities.

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Images courtesy of supplier. Images courtesy of supplier.

Teachers understand the power of visualisation in learning which is why the use of interactive whiteboards, projectors, virtual learning environments and tools such as mind maps are so prevalent. So why isn’t visualisation being applied to help schools manage their buildings and assets?

“I could see how the education sector, given staffing and budgetary challenges, can benefit from industry best practice visualisation technology,” said Steve Voller, founder of software developers Altuity. “So I set ourselves the challenge of introducing a step-change in how schools can be maintained. It needed to be affordable and easy-to-use, which up until now has meant this type of visualisation has been out schools’ reach.”

Traditionally, data is presented in tabular list format in a report or spreadsheet, as illustrated below.

While this provides us with some information, it’s hardly intuitive without further formatting. For example:

  • Which are the urgent issues to address?
  • What is their priority?
  • Where in our buildings are they?

An initial level of visualisation helps us answer these questions through the use of dashboard graphics and colour to draw our eye to what’s important, as well as to immediately help us understand relative priorities:

This is clearly a step forward, but it doesn’t intuitively answer the ‘where’ question except as a textual description in one of the report’s columns. For that we need a bird’s eye view - overlaying our data on a plan can provide that:

Now we can immediately see:

  • The location of maintenance or facilities requests (could easily be assets as well as).
  • Their status (or priority) depending on our preference by using colour coded markers.

We’re beginning to use our mind’s visualisation and pattern recognition capability to intuitively understand our data ‘at a glance’. Can we take this further?

Viewing the data in its real world location from the comfort of our office would help! To do this we use the power of 360° photospheres, which people are already familiar with when they use Google Street ViewTM.

In this example, our floor plan is integrated with the 360° photosphere, enabling us to view and manage our maintenance requests in either media. The photosphere can be panned, rotated and zoomed. A building can be walked through virtually by moving from photosphere to photosphere.

This visualisation technology can also be used on a mobile device such as a smartphone, allowing staff to access and record data anywhere in the building. Through augmented reality technology, users overlay data onto a real-world view of the room, which changes as they move around it, unlike a fixed photograph. This makes it much easier to see existing data and to record new information.

Think of this technology being used in your school or across a multi-academy trust:

  • See a picture of what’s going on, whether that’s in terms of maintenance or asset data.
  • Deliver better-quality reports to all your stakeholders.
  • Virtually walk stakeholders through the estate to illustrate new facilities or the scale of a renovation project.
  • Provide an easier and more intuitive environment for all users, such as the site team and managers, and contributing stakeholders such as teaching and admin staff.

In addition to using photospheres for maintenance purposes, several school business managers immediately appreciated how it could be used to help promote their facilities to generate income through lettings, as well as showcasing facilities to parents. Business managers have commented on how this could also help them save time, as less time will be needed supporting physical viewings.

See for yourself how Altuity can disrupt your school for the better:

YouTube link

Visit or email [email protected] to find out how your school can get started.

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