We take a look at how AR and VR Technologies will effect the construction industry. Read on to find out how these innovative technologies are industry disruptors!
From cloud-based Job Management systems to Market Networks, new tech-platforms are changing things up for the traditional trades – and the impact is massive. Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are two tech-trends that have been surrounded by a fair amount of hype in recent years. But what exactly are they and how are they disrupting the construction industry?
WHAT ARE AR/VR TECHNOLOGIES?
Augmented Reality (AR) refers to a view of a real-world environment where the elements are “augmented” by computer-generated or extracted real-world sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. Often they will incorporate smartphone camera technology with responsive imagery that is layered on top of the real world view.
Virtual Reality (VR) refers to a simulated environment created by computer technologies. The viewers will be placed inside this virtual world via VR goggles or headsets. They are often able to interact with the 3D modelled worlds via controls and sensors.
HOW ARE AR/VR DISRUPTING THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY?
1. Enhancing Collaboration
Both AR and VR can enhance collaboration among project stakeholders before the construction work actually begins. Good communication is a vital part to a successful construction project. A construction manager or contractor would be able to use AR to do a walk-through of a site whilst viewing an overlay BIM model on top of the physical view to assess and compare changes and to review project documentation. They would then be able to instantly take pictures or video record the AR walk through and send it back to the design team for clarification if an issue arises.
2. Detecting Errors
VR and AR can allow the construction team to detect errors ahead of time and avoid costly mistakes. VR technology allows the designs of a site to be created into scaled up virtual models which can be walked-through to check for and amend errors in the plans before the build begins. AR can also help by generating real-time visualisations of projects. With AR, an architect would be able hold up a smartphones or tablet with the camera facing the site and be able to view a scaled up model of the design. These real-time visualisations allow stakeholders more insight into the finer details and progress of a construction project than would otherwise be accessible via 2D drawings and plans.
3. Improving Safety Standards
Job Safety can be vastly improved through the use of AR and VR tech within construction. AR and VR can be used to increase the awareness of job-site conditions without physically subjecting managers or workers to safety hazards. Many construction firms such as Bechtel Innovation Center are now implementing VR immersion safety training courses where dangerous situations or intensive procedures are simulated to users. The usage data from the training courses can be collected and combined with geographic data, safety records and requirements in order to optimize real-world safety programs and practice.
Both AR and VR are in still the early deployment stage. Implementation costs on an industry scale still somewhat outweigh the benefits. However, there is immense potential for the use of both AR and VR in the construction industry. AR and VR are rapidly growing industries with new applications constantly being developed. AR/VR integration in construction is on the rise and they are definitely exciting new technologies to keep a close eye on!