Beestar is the startup company behind some of the most innovative concepts concerning the world of real time location systems. With the recent launch of its unique education analytics service called InsightTM, Beestar shows how its core technology, the location intelligence platform, brings new and exciting opportunities to unexplored territories. Localisation technology can be an incredibly powerful tool most especially in fields that have neglected its application so far.
An extensible platform for real-time location services
Beestar’s core development team has an extensive background in engineering location based products that collect and analyse massive volumes of data. After developing the base platform, extensive research was carried out in order to discover those industries where location based technologies were applied sub-optimally or were completely overlooked. Almost immediately it became clear that the platform’s potential was overwhelming and the real challenge was to narrow down our choices in order to pick the industry where such opportunities would turn into a real game changer.
This is why they decided to build a product for higher education. It is well known that education in general is a late technology adopter, so if the product was going to be a success there, this would be proof that virtually all industries would have a use for the technology.
After many focus group sessions, interviews with domain experts and a variety of stakeholders, it became apparent that 5 key problems affected the main actors in the educational business: students, teachers and management.
This is how Insight™ was born.
Insight™ does 3 things: it automates attendance taking; it combines the attendance results with online learning activities and grades; and then goes on to offer insight into the academic behavior of students by visualizing performance through personalized dashboards for teacher, students and management.
Problem 1: Administration is time consuming – unless you have Insight™
Teachers did not become teachers because they were passionate about administration. At least, after interviewing dozens and dozens of lecturers we’ve yet to hear one that says: “working with students is great and all, but what I really love is taking attendance. My passion lies in filling in forms that I return to the administrative office, I would hate to focus only on teaching new skills to enthusiastic students.”
Insight™ takes care of that task that no one likes to do but what is incredibly important: it takes attendance automatically without teachers, students or admin having to do anything. No need to spend the first 10 minutes of each lesson fiddling around with barcode readers, no more signing sheets and definitely no more students waiting in line at the lecture theater to scan their card and enter the hall.
Problem 2: Early Dropout Notification and Prevention is Impossible – but not with Insight™ at your side
Dropping out of university is a decision with dire consequences. Not only do students leave with a debt while having nothing to show for it, they are also much less likely to be able to pay back the incurred costs; getting onto the job-market without a college degree means the earnings made on the long-term are significantly less than if the student had a degree.
The good news is that deciding to dropout is a decision that is made over time, and often dropouts show similar disengaging behaviors Noticing the early warning signs is key to intervening at the appropriate moment and engaging students before it’s too late. The key indicators identified by researchers are low attendance and disengagement in the classroom as well as poor grades. And this is exactly what Insight™ calculates and displays for teachers in their dashboards.
By highlighting trends in student engagement, Insight™ is an incredibly effective and practical tool for teachers to keep an eye on their students.
But this information isn’t just for teachers, course leaders and students benefit too by receiving personalised notifications of disengaging behaviours and ways to get engaged again.
Problem 3: Universities lack the capacity to turn data into meaningful information – unlike Insight™
Making strategic decisions can be very difficult for university management: with so many departments, key stakeholders and – most importantly – students, it’s nearly impossible to achieve a high level of visibility and understand the true impact decisions can make.
Collecting data is only one part of the big picture: access to data doesn’t necessarily mean it will be interpreted correctly. According to the whitepaper, ‘What Every Campus Leader Needs to Know About Data’, most universities lack the capacity to turn their data into meaningful information: “nor can they easily access, combine, and repurpose that information to support analysis, drive decision making and improve student success.”
The foolproof way to compile and review data in a clean and simple format is through analytics dashboards. These tools provide the evidence managers need to make educated decisions about education, and are turning universities into data-rich environments for the benefit of everyone involved.
Problem 4: Fooling attendance system is a 5 second job – but not with Insight™
Universities often say that they already have advanced attendance tools in use, such as biometric hardware. What they fail to realise is how easy it is to fool systems that rely on a one-time measurement provided by the student. How to cheat on these systems are not very well kept secrets published all over the web. Biometric tools can be bypassed with a simple gummy-bear and a barcode can be scanned by a fellow student. Insight™ relies on multiple checks and is 80% more secure than other tools.
Problem 5: Who knows how the premises are being used? Insight™ does.
Finally, the attendance data can be looked at from the building perspective, Insight™ can show on a heat-map which computer labs are overused or when a cafeteria has too many people inside and thus is dangerous in case of a calamity.
Meeting health & safety regulations and effectively using every inch of the building has never been easier.
As Beestar is a startup, they are open to investors. Contact them at info [at] beestar [dot] eu and check out their location technology.
Emanuele Francioni is the founder of Beestar Ltd. and the inventor of Beestar Location Intelligence™ platform. Previously he led developers in a wide variety of world-class location and navigation based services for top companies such as Tomtom and Vitrociset.
When he is not working he is likely to be found at his desk coding asynchronous application in python, mixing nerd jazz compositions of the Ex Falso Quodlibet or post-processing surrealistic photos
Get in touch, he’s very friendly!
This post has been contributed by Charlotte Aldarwish, Chief Strategy Officer at Beestar.