Mixed reality: How VR and AR are teaming up to revolutionize construction￼September 15, 2022
Even though the merits of mixed reality in architecture design and construction have long been sung within certain sections of the industry, there hasn’t always been the kind of fluid synergy that is starting to blossom between virtual and augmented reality solutions. So what is mixed reality, and how do we define it in the context of the industry? MR refers to merging the real and virtual worlds and allowing them to exist simultaneously while providing data-driven insights into every aspect of the early stages of construction. And while a few bold AECs have led the way in making significant investments into mixed reality, the construction industry is widely understood as being a little behind in deploying emerging technologies. There are a few contributing factors, including a broader difficulty in understanding its application and the misconception of technology as entertainment rather than something with tangible benefits. Mixed reality in construction probably should have become prevalent sooner. But as the saying goes, ‘better late than never’, with the industry now primed and ready to start putting these incredible technologies to work in unison.
Both virtual and augmented reality examples of success in architecture and engineering are well publicized, and the parallels with the construction industry mean there is much to be learned from the former’s ability to adopt early and effectively. Indeed, NVIDIA has now launched plans to further develop the Metaverse in support of engineering, manufacturing, and architecture. Construction firms willing to shake off outdated paradigms and embrace the blend of VR and AR as an opportunity to get ahead will undoubtedly see them thrive in the digital age that rewards courage. It’s worth remembering that the processes involved in construction move through various stages, and within each step, there is ample opportunity to extract massive value from mixed reality.
The difference between VR and AR in construction
So how does mixed reality work in construction? Firstly, VR applications in construction are the more popular of the two technologies being implemented, using headsets in combination with BIM or Building Information Modelling to plug into a fully 3D environment and review future design plans. VR construction solutions draw insights from project managers, designers, engineers, and architects alike to provide comprehensive reporting and planning. Remote site visits, borderless collaboration, and improved safety training are all made possible by virtual reality and offer innovative solutions to age-old problems. Though its abilities are restricted to the early stages of development, there is no question that it has the potential to save the industry billions of dollars in wasted resources by identifying any concerns before they become costly errors.
So what does augmented reality in construction look like? With AR, the name of the game is projection. Creating virtual elements and adding them to real-world scenes is what AR is all about, and on-site, it has the ability to recreate designs with exceptional accuracy. These line of site improvements allow for greater speed and accuracy when appropriately employed. In essence, augmented reality in construction management provides a deeper, more comprehensive understanding of the dynamics and structure of any given building. While it would be restrictive to become a strictly AR building company, it’s an excellent way of introducing mixed reality to organizations with less experience deploying emerging technologies within the industry. It’s also a way to present complex ideas to stakeholders and investors in 3D and 4D using visually stunning virtual tours.
What does the industry stand to gain from MR implementation?
The ceiling on what can be achieved within the construction industry by using the latest in mixed reality is raised year-on-year. As adoption rates begin to soar, so too will industry-specific innovations. But as it stands, there are more than enough benefits to take construction to previously unseen heights. Let’s take a look at some of the major pros.
- Improved efficiency
As an industry, construction relies heavily on making the most cost-effective decisions without compromising on building quality. There has long been a shortage of high-quality data on which to base these decisions, and mixed reality provides a steady stream of super accurate data points to ensure designs are followed to the letter. This is especially important in collaborative projects where the day-to-day activities must be factored in.
- Resource management
One of the most crucial aspects of mixed reality is its ability to save construction firms a ton of money. This cost-efficiency comes from laying out plans in detail and allows firms to walk every step of the project before a single brick has been laid. By eliminating errors at the planning stage, firms can proceed in confidence, knowing that any alterations are purely superficial. Mixed reality examples of cutting costs also include avoiding reworks, meeting deadlines, and building costs, thanks to its unerring accuracy.
- Client relations
With mixed reality, clients can live and breathe the process from concept to completion and be able to see prospective plans in ways they had never dreamed possible. This allows for clear communication surrounding timelines and expectations, as they can make decisions in real-time with all the information immediately available to them. This clarity will create long-standing partnerships and lucrative return business.
- Safety measures
Safety and security training in construction should always be prioritized, and with mixed reality, employees can gain practical experience in the virtual worlds. Thousands of hours of hazard and scenario training are available to any staff members at any time and can be used to train new hires or ensure standards are kept over the longer term.
How VR and AR can transform your firm and give you the competitive edge
In Proven Solution, you have a partner capable of harnessing mixed reality’s immense productivity and profitability backed by years of success implementing mixed reality in the construction industry. Take your firm to new levels of efficiency and creativity with our catalog of cutting-edge technologies designed to scale regardless of the size of your operation. Get in touch to see how we can help you establish your organization in the digital age.