SHASPA Data Visualisation Framework
Intelligent Shared Spaces and Sustainable Development
Serious Games Institute, Unit 6, Innovation Village, Cheetah Road, Coventry, CV1 2TL, UK
This paper explores the potential of applying a cocktail of emerging consumer technologies in the areas of video games,
virtual worlds and social networking to 3D visualisation applications which support sustainable development. SHASPA
(Intelligent Shared Spaces) is both a concept and a technology platform designed to integrate physical and virtual
environments in ways which improve data visualisation and sharing and which in turn lead to more effective
management of our environment. SHASPA aims to bring the best attributes of those technology empowered shared
virtual spaces into the physical world. This paper will examine SHASPA applications developed to date to compare their
attributes and approaches in the field of sustainable development to other technology enhanced data visualisation and
process management applications. It will describe the SHASPA architecture and infrastructure and the proposed
Keywords: Virtual Worlds, Visualisation, Sustainable Development, Social Networking, Energy Management
Throughout history, communications technologies have played a fundamental role in shaping our global society. Roman
roads, the printing press, canals, railways, radio, telephones and television broadcasting have all had a dislocating impact
on society. Today’s digital media communications technologies arguable will have the most profound impact on society
in the history of mankind because of the empowering nature of the personal computer and the internet. Digital media
technologies provide the individual citizen with the tools to present information and knowledge in rich and compelling
ways to a potentially global audience.
This paper examines the impact of emerging consumer technologies on our ability to capture, analyse, visualize,
comprehend and communicate real time sensor data from the environment and use this knowledge to better understand
the complexities of the world around us and better support sustainable development.
1.1 Video Games Technologies
The video games industry generates more revenue worldwide than the film and music industry combined. The success of
video games for consoles such as Playstation, X-Box, Nintendo and the desktop computer is based on their popular
appeal and their ability to engage customers in immersive and engaging activities.
The quality of the video images, the realism of the animations and the emotive immersive sound effects and music
create an interactive experience which reality is suspended and the virtual becomes real. The income generated by the
games industry and the consumer’s exponential and unending demand for richer experiences and easy to access
interfaces and controllers has led to major improvements in price-performance and the development of new interfaces
which make the application of these technologies commercially viable for many non-entertainment purposes.
Fig. 1. Neurosky brainwave monitoring device used in video game play
Video games have been responsible for a number of significant technology developments which can help support control
of our environment and sustainable development. These include :-
• Photo-realistic displays
• Immersive 3D environments
• Easy to use controllers and interfaces
• Powerful physics engines which simulate real-life behavior
1.2 Virtual World Technologies
Virtual world technologies share many of the attributes of video games but have additional important characteristics
which can be leveraged for sustainable development applications, including :-
• 3D Visualisation of physical environment assets and data
• Multi-user access to shared spaces
• Freeform navigation and exploration
• Links to physical sensor devices
Fig. 2. Daden Datascape Control Room in Second Life
1.3 Social Networking Software
The third emerging consumer technology is social networking software such as MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, Ning and
others. These applications create communities of interest with potentially global reach. The significance of social
networking is in its ability to communicate to and influence the behavior and collective wisdom of large numbers of
people across the globe.
Fig. 3. “Did you Know - Shift Happens” – YouTube video viewed by over 4.7 million people
2. SHASPA TECHNOLOGY AND INFRASTRUCTURE
SHASPA (Intelligent Shared Spaces) is an innovative platform and set of services that blends the emerging technologies
of wireless sensors, social networks, mobile, and virtual worlds, enabling users to visualise, monitor and manage your
environments. It operates through a physical “bridge controller” that connects to a wide variety of sensors, actuators, and
some of the most common protocols found in building automation systems to monitor and control any physical space.
The SHASPA Bridge has a portal that allows configuration, display and manipulation of devices and also passes data to
outside interfaces such as the emerging consumer applications described above.
Fig. 4. SHASPA Technology Infrastructure illustrating local controllers connected to SHASPA grid
SHASPA allows remote access to real-time data from such devices as energy meters and environmental controls and
uses the visualization technologies of video games and virtual worlds not only to support better analysis and
understanding, but also to use grid technologies to share and compare data between physical spaces.
In the above example for Home Energy monitoring, the energy consuming devices in a domestic environment can be
analysed and controlled via a computer or a mobile phone and data from homes can be aggregated to develop “best
practice” usage models that help home owners to get the best performance from their domestic appliances.
3. SMART METERING
SHASPA Home Energy is a form of smart metering designed to provide improved energy management. Existing smart
metering devices have been trialled in Europe and have demonstrated the potential to improve domestic energy
consumption by up to 10%.
Fig. 5. SHASPA energy visualization in the SHASPA virtual world
SHASPA is about to be implemented in a number of pilot installations to test its effectiveness in domestic, public and
commercial spaces such as cinemas, hotels, restaurants, hospitals and offices. The ability to visualize and manage data in
an immersive 3D environment with links to social networking tools is anticipated to have a significant impact on
building design and management, leading to an integrated and holistic approach to the design, construction and
management of physical spaces.
The Geospatial community recognizes the value of geographic data visualization in immersive environments. Software
such as Google Earth and Microsoft Virtual earth have provided platforms which aggregate and visualize digital media
in exciting new ways that help us to share knowledge and better understand the world around us.
SHASPA’s ability to access, visualise and manage real-time sensor data in a 3D immersive environment with powerful
multi-user and social networking tools offers an interesting new dimension to the monitoring, analysis, representation
and sharing of key environmental data in a geospatial context.