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VR-Guide: What is virtual reality?

VR is a visual aid that gives a real-world 1:1 view of digital 3D-models. It clarifies, engages, and serves as a user-friendly and familiar way to experience digital construction plans. VR solutions can be used to get an immediate view of the current state of the construction projects and help give clarity to all parties involved in the project. VR solutions like VREX are also able to bring the right team members together in a collaborative session, using voice communication. During collaborative sessions, project members can create tasks to perform after the session. VR can be deployed in various teams, departments, and roles to instant access 24/7, on any design and engineering issues.

History of Virtual Reality

VR might seem like a relatively new concept since companies are still figuring out how they fit it into their overall business strategies. But VR has been around for decades. The first to describe binocular vision was Sir Charles Wheatstone in 1838 which was awarded the Royal Medal of the Royal Society in 1840. This research led him to construct the stereoscope.

The big modern break came when Facebook acquired Luckey’s Oculus technology in 2014. In 2019 Forbes describes this as The Year Virtual Reality Gets Real. This happens to be the year VREX as a SaaS was born. 12.5 million VR headsets were sold in 2021 alone.

But if VR has been around for decades, why are we starting to see a boom now?

VR has come a long way, partly due to advances in computing power. But most recently, the pandemic has made remote work an essential part of every business. Businesses also move towards global teams and expect better and more responsive tools for virtual collaboration. Today, nearly all the top engineering and construction companies deploy VR solutions in some part of their overall design and engineering strategy.

How does Virtual Reality work?

VR is a visual device you place on your head, with two small monitors that fit in front of your eyes that you look into, and experience digital images as if you were looking into the real world with your eyes in a realistic way. The device has an internal gyroscope that makes the images change according to how you turn your head, to view the models from different angles.

Virtual Reality provides a highly intuitive viewing experience, not only for project members with little 3D model experience but also for experienced engineers collaborating across different disciplines.

Many VR solutions, such as Vrex, can be used by many users at the same time via the internet. This means they can see and hear each other and have collaboration inside the model.

How can Virtual Reality help your business?

A VR solution can help your business scale understanding of design, engineering, and construction plans, improve stakeholder engagement, and provide an overall better comprehension of what is being constructed. Here are a few things your business can accomplish with the help of VR.

  • Help more project members and stakeholders make better decisions in less time,
    the Vrex whitepaper shows that decision-making time is reduced to up to 90%, simply by making complex topics easy to understand by everyone. Many projects have several small decisions that need to be made, or questions that needs answering. These high-frequency questions tend to lower the efficiency of the design and engineering team. It can be solved much faster, and often without an engineer attending by employing VR.

    By taking these inquiries and discussions in VR, the design and engineering team free up time for more productive work. Clients, stakeholders and other team members also benefit from reduced waiting time and better understanding, increase satisfaction. In fact, PWC reports have found that understanding increases by 400% by employing VR technology.
  • Improve quality control to reduce the amount of rework needed
    Providing a virtual review room for 3D models means that anyone no matter how inexperienced they are with 3D models can review and understand the 3D construction plans, any time from anywhere 24/7, not only the 3D model experts. More eyes on the model mean that more potential problems and mistakes are found earlier. This reduces the cost of making corrections, and the amount of rework needed.

    FMI reports that more than 50% of rework is due to miscommunication and misunderstanding between roles in the project. Employing VR as a way to have proactive reviews in projects by a wider circle of stakeholders is proven to dramatically reduce mistakes and the following rework.
  • Improve the end result and have happier clients
    Most high-frequency mistakes are technical mistakes, which affects the cost of the project. – But the mistakes that can have detrimental effects on a project are poor solutions for the end-user. If the construction will be in use for 50 years, that means 50 years of ineffective user experience unless it is corrected, which can be extremely expensive.

    That’s ​​the difference between a business being in the red vs. the black. In other words, VR can mean the difference between turning a profit and having to explain to stakeholders why the company fell short.

    Resolving issues early is 300 times cheaper than after it has been built, this is why easy, intuitive access to 3D models early to a wide circle of stakeholders is important. VR can make this happen.

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