Virtual Reality and the Future of the Construction Industry

Joe Lloyd-Allen, Marketing Communications Executive

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In the last few years, Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) have becoming increasingly popular. The summer of 2016 saw people around the world using their mobile phones to search for virtual monsters in the AR game Pokemon Go, and since then the technology itself has only grown. But are AR and VR only for the consumer market, or is the technology something the construction industry could use as an asset?

It was found last year that the construction industry is one of the least digitalised industries. Although technologies such as BIM (Building Information Modelling) and 3D building modelling have become increasingly important in many projects, it seems that investment in technology in the construction industry is almost stagnant.

As of January 2016 the Government made it a requirement for clients, consultants and contractors to be able to react, adopt and develop 3D BIM models for all publicly funded projects.  BIM is an extremely useful and powerful tool that offers a virtual database for a project – it gives the design team of a project (architects, consultants etc.) the ability to plan with confidence, seeing all aspects of a project in a single place. BIM has the potential to create dimensionally accurate buildings, giving clients a complete sense of scale, and an experience of a building that drawings often don’t offer.

Last year, we launched our ‘think inside the Boxer’ campaign for our BPS range of units. The campaign made use of VR and custom made Boxer VR headsets to take customers into the Nuaire factory. We believe that technological advancements such as AR/VR are the future for the construction industry. That’s why this year we have invested in Sketchfab.

 

 

Sketchfab is an online 3D model viewer that will allow us to showcase high-quality models of our units and can even showcase animations made in-house. From within the viewer, customers can rotate our 3D models around 360°, allowing them to better understand unit design. The website allows for a view of the models performing various pre-set animations, such as different unit configurations or stages of installation/maintenance.

As an example, the window above showcases a model of an XBC25 unit with an LPHW coil. This model’s animations show the flexible handing configuration options, as well as the unit with the top cover and control panel taken off. This gives customers the ability to view and demonstrate a highly accurate 3D model of a product, before the specification process has even began.

Where AR/VR will take the construction industry is anyone’s guess, but it’s clear that investment into digital technology is certainly a way to expand potential. The ability to view a fully rotatable ventilation unit from a computer screen is certainly the type of technology Nuaire believes in and will keep investing in.

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