How augmented reality technology gives facilities staff a different view of their assets

As a site or facilities manager, you’ll understand the continual challenges you face to ensure that you provide a means for other staff to easily record on-site issues, followed up by an equally easy method of getting the right work done at the right time for the right price. Now, thanks to a new technology we have developed, you’ll find this has become easier and more efficient with the introduction of our photosphere and augmented reality (AR) technology.

We have successfully developed a 360° photosphere environment which will help you to maintain your estates. This is a significant extension to our AltoSites software which already uses maps, floor plans or site plans to provide a 2D perspective. For the first time this puts leading-edge visualisation into your hands without you needing specialist knowledge or expensive equipment.

The photospheres lead to more efficient and easier management of buildings, estates and assets. People are familiar with their use as the visualisation in services such as Google StreetView and it seemed logical to bring this type of capability to facilities managers too.

Adding data to plan-based views means you will have a high-level overall perspective of your assets and facilities requests. Integrating this data into photospheres delivers intuitive understanding and visual comprehension about the data in a room or space in a way that simple photographs cannot achieve.

In addition, 360° photospheres can be connected together, allowing you to ‘walk’ the estate or building. This is ideal if you manage large estates or buildings which are spread out over an extensive area, and reduces or eliminates the time and cost in making personal site visits while improving the communication between on-site and office-based staff.

With AR, you’re able to hold up a smartphone or tablet and pan around a space, meaning you can see asset or facilities information displayed in its correct real-world location. This provides real-time, on-site access to data in a visual environment without actually having to be on that site.

As well as a cost saving, the cloud-based photosphere technology means your site teams can provide a better service to their customers as it is much easier for users to report maintenance issues or facilities requests.

Photospheres also provide benefits when used for external views. For example, they provide a perfect way to visualise roofing issues and to virtually ‘walk’ a roof.

You will also have a much better way of viewing and sharing information with colleagues than has been the case in the past. Equally, your surveyors can provide you with an interactive view of their findings which increases your or your governors’ buy-in to recommendations that are being made for repairs or refurbishments. This is invaluable for explaining and communicating problems or issues and validating what was on site.

Software that cost-effectively adds value and saves time is a win-win situation for those of you who are familiar with having to wear multiple hats while working with on-site and off-site teams of contractors.