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Digitized return to school: use of technology to minimize infection

One of the key factors involved in transforming the education sector has been the integration of intelligent technology in learning environments.

The Ministry of Education has updated the health prevention, hygiene and protection measures against COVID-19 at education centers during the 2021-2022 school year.

Other education centers such as Universitat Rovira i Virgili and Universitat Pompeu Fabra of Barcelona have already implemented technology solutions at their installations capable of handling up to 15,000 people.

The return to in-person learning in classrooms this month of September reminds us of the importance of following health protocols at schools. After months of combining online and in-person learning with masks, hand sanitizer and social distancing, going “back to school” reminds us that the pandemic is not over.

To prevent infection, measures such as the use of masks, monitoring body temperatures, minimizing interpersonal contacts and occupancy control have proved essential during the last school year.During this new 2021-2022 school year, the Ministry of Education has updated the document called Health Prevention, Hygiene and Protection Measures against COVID-19 for education centers, taking into account the lessons learned during these months and the current situation of the pandemic.

Traditional in-person learning has been suddenly replaced by virtual mixed learning systems that are implemented through online platforms. Consequently, the crisis has drastically transformed the learning ecosystem by imposing a digitized education approach.

In this new environment, educational institutions can prosper if they continue modifying their facilities and adapt, transforming their spaces to increase safety and improve the service. The solution is to transform academic classrooms into intelligent spaces.

Protecting students and the teaching staff will be paramount when the new school year starts. Jaume Portell, CEO and co-founder of Beabloo, a pioneering technology company in the digital transformation of physical spaces, indicates that “at Beabloo we have already been working in the education sector with Interaction Care, a solution designed to guarantee physical spaces are safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19”.

This solution offers a risk protection and identification system. Its software processes the data collected by the sensors and configures a system of alerts in real time without storing personal information and respecting privacy. The aim is to guarantee compliance with measures such as social distancing, occupancy control and wearing of masks.

“Interaction Care also measures and controls occupancy to prevent crowding, thus ensuring a fewer number of risky interactions occur and consequently, reducing the risk of contagion”, says Portell.

Technology before class: safety and data analytics

This system not only protects inside the space, but it can even control access to ensure the safety of all persons before students enter a physical space. In addition to providing protection and safety, Interaction Care technology has proven itself useful in the long term since it can offer informative content of interest and data about the occupancy at the center as well as the interactions that take place between people. Specifically, the IC Activity Monitor component includes a control panel and an API that provide significant information about the interactions that take place inside physical spaces. For example, this system is capable of displaying occupancy by zones and high-risk interactions in real time; it can also display the areas where crowds form as well as generate heat maps of each area.

A Beabloo success story is Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF), in Barcelona. UPF was one of the first Digital Signage clients and they have recently installed Interaction Care in the library and cafeteria with great success. “Having this system available provides us with peace of mind and confidence to apply safety and health measures aimed at protecting students as well as staff”, said Montserrat Espinós, Library Director of Universidad Pompeu Fabra of Barcelona.

Beabloo installed a digital signage system at key locations of the campuses, with 47 screens equipped with the content management system (CMS) by Beabloo, capable of reaching a daily audience of 15,000 people. This investment in innovation drastically reduces the cost of printing materials and guarantees the coherence of the brand in the UPF environment.

Moreover, Beabloo has equipped all screens at Universitat Rovira i Virgili with Digital Signage solutions; informative as well as agenda screens. The University is in the process of digitizing all its communicationsand has decided to use digital signage to communicate with their education community.

Specifically, Beabloo has installed digital signage on 37 screens, providing a means for disseminating general and institutional information via the agenda screens, where students and teaching staff can dynamically see all the events of the day at the different campuses. Likewise, the real time updating of information through the content management system (CMS) by Beabloo provides information about current news related with education, the daily activities occurring at the university, COVID-19 safety and many more subjects.

This way, administrative and teaching staff can continue experimenting with innovative tools to increase the efficiency and commitment of users. In this new context, the education ecosystem will continue moving forward with improving their installations and transforming the environment to ensure it is safe, while preserving the experience and profitability, turning physical learning spaces into intelligent spaces.