Immersive collaboration is helping stakeholders produce better work, reduce inefficiencies and save costs across the delivery value chain
The AEC design environment is characterized by its reliance on multifarious collaborating parties spread across many different organizations and the entire project delivery lifecycle. In the AEC industry, collaboration typically involves interactions and collaborative decision-making amongst architects, building owners and operators, facility managers, construction professionals, contractors, engineering consultants and building product manufacturers.
Today, the mode of collaboration relies primarily on the use of blueprints and 3D modeling software that lead to considerable back-and-forth iterations on meetings, emails, and calls. Design teams have increased in size and geographically dispersed; design cycle time has become more compressed, project deadlines are rigid, the amount of overall project data has become unwieldy, and in many cases, the designs themselves are becoming more complex. Multiple, non-intuitive design tools that do not communicate with each other create coordination problems and information loss as data flows between them, thus creating workflow inefficiencies. The lack of a standardized collaboration tool for stakeholders working in the AEC industry leads to poor design visualization, multiple design iterations, completion delays, cost overruns and a gap in client expectations.
This increase in collaboration chaos has created a critical need for a formal and effective collaboration process. Technology, as a major disruptor across different industries, has a lot to offer to the AEC industry as well. The introduction of immersive technologies in AEC has brought about a welcome change in the design collaboration process. While 3D rendering software might be great in showcasing your design, they are not a very effective collaboration tool since they do not allow interaction with the design. VR/AR is the only medium through which stakeholders can understand, share, experience and interact with the environment and use it as a way to collaborate with others. Immersive technologies such as VR-led 3D modeling ensure that all stakeholders refer to updated virtual models rather than working on their individual workspaces while collaborating on the project. The migration of a collaborative environment to the cloud enables multiple stakeholders placed across different geographies to work on a single fundamental and iterative design block creating a true virtual meeting platform for AEC stakeholders. Since these stakeholders can now immerse themselves into the design and take virtual tours rather than look at it externally, it has led to a far better understanding of design (much better than static and passive 3D renders and panoramas) which, in turn, has led to fewer errors and omissions in design and construction. Also, the option to interact with design models in VR, change and move things around, all in real-time on a single platform, helps all stakeholders to comprehend changes better and, hence, be clear with their individual roles in a project. All of this leads to the biggest outcome for the delivery cycle: clear communication of the design intent amongst multiple stakeholders and, importantly, to the end-customer.
While designers can showcase their design intent much better on a VR-led platform, other stakeholders can now also have a clearer picture of where their products and services would fit into the process, leading to much faster approvals, project finalization and even increase in profitability.
Immersive technologies are here to stay! Many architecture design firms have already started incorporating virtual reality architecture software into their workflows and, in the process, are bolstering effective and efficient collaboration with multiple stakeholders and staying ahead of the curve. VR infrastructure and devices are also becoming more affordable gradually and most architectural firms now have access to them. If you are a SketchUp user, check out Trezi to know more about real-time VR rendering and find out how you can convert your files from SketchUp to VR in a single click. Do feel free to mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, in case of any queries.
To know more about the use of VR in the communication of design intent, find out here.