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How Construction Companies Are Using AR/VR

Credit: macrovector / freepik

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) have entered many different industries and proven that they’re not limited to gaming and entertainment. In retail, brands worldwide are adopting AR for a better online shopping experience and allowing shoppers to check different items in their surroundings before making a final purchase. In healthcare, healthcare providers use AR/VR to visualize organs and simulate procedures.

These technologies made their way to the construction industry. They can help win projects, improve safety and collaborate with team members. It is essential to understand technology's capabilities and use before taking advantage of AR/VR in the construction industry. With companies like echo3D that manage the content delivery network on the backend, it’s easier than ever to adopt this technology into construction workflows. Another critical integration for construction workflows that echo3D offers is the ability to make changes in one place that update across all platforms and devices in real time.


Click this link or scan this QR code to see the bulldozer in AR: https://go.echo3d.co/wVoZ


Construction Uses for VR/AR


Many jobs in the construction industry involve heavy machinery. Using these machines may be dangerous without proper training. The catch here is that trainees must gain experience to use the equipment. However, it is impossible to use the equipment to train the team. With a low to negligible error margin, trainees can familiarize themselves with the operation and controls in a safer environment. Training in AR/VR allows for a hands-on experience without requiring staff, equipment and hard-to-access environments.

Companies like Program Ace create turnkey solutions for construction training that include everything from AR interfaces to VR training. The retention rate for training in VR is 75, beating out lectures (5%), reading (10%) and audio-visual learning (20%), according to the National Education Association.

Credit: Program Ace


The two jobs perfect for AR and VR are designers and architects. Virtual reality allows architects to see a project in a virtual environment before constructing the building. By virtually standing inside a digital model, designers and architects can get a better view and understanding of the vision coming to life while allowing them to identify the problems before they become an issue. This is also a great solution for the client approval process.

Many times, full 3D renderings are drafted as part of the plans already. It’s a mere extra couple steps to make this 3D environment a VR or AR experience to get the most accurate understanding of the finished project. Simply uploading the 3D environment into the echo3D portal would be a 2-step solution that requires no coding or apps to view in AR. Here’s a tutorial on how to do that. Another real world example of using 3D for design is the Messe Berlin exhibition complex designed by the Onix Team.

Credit: Onix Systems

Socially Distanced Job Sites

With social distancing being practiced in different parts of the world, companies have introduced virtual reality into their workflows to ensure the continuity of projects. Therefore, a combination of 3D cameras and virtual reality allows supervisors to walk through the construction site even from far away. Some platforms are all inclusive and provide a low to no-tech solution that even the older generation professional can adapt to.

Technology companies like Vrex built a BIM platform specifically for this where individual teams and stakeholders can all collaborate on a project without having to actually be there, yet users still get a first-person experience. Because construction is such a hands-on industry.

Benefits of VR in the Construction Industry

Improve Customer Experience

Have you ever wondered if it would have been possible to offer customers a guided tour of the site before beginning the construction of the building? With technological advancement, shareholders and builders do not depend on diagrams and drawings to assume the final look.

Virtual reality gives them a better understanding of the project and the ability to communicate what they want before the construction begins, while reducing the chances of alterations during the construction process.

Moreover, virtual reality brings clients closer to the construction process. They allow them to make virtual visits to the site and see the process. It helps the clients who do not live in the same building area.

Attract New Talent

The labor shortage in the construction industry is a rising problem. More experienced industry veterans are retiring, and few young workers are replacing them. The industry is adopting new technology to lure young workers.

Since young workers are more knowledgeable about today's technology, they are more comfortable using technology in different industries. Incorporating augmented reality and virtual reality in training and construction work will attract younger people who are already interested in high-tech industries.

Save On Valuable Resources

Whether it’s training, virtual meetings, overlooked design flaws or injuries, 3D assistance in construction is a useful technology that can save money, time and even lives. Specifically, construction is a high-risk industry where safety training is a priority so creating safe simulations can help new employees adapt to job sites quicker. Meeting in 3D to review 3D projects helps team members and stakeholders align on the final project. It is much easier to modify the dimensions of a home virtually than it is to rebuild the entire home.

AR/VR have proven their worth in almost every industry, and the construction industry is no different. Using VR/AR in the construction industry will ease manual tasks, allow people to work using 3D technology, and offer improved experiences to clients and customers. With tools like echo3D to help make the process easier, now's the best time to start integrating it.

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echo3D (www.echo3D.co; Techstars ’19) is a cloud platform for 3D/AR/VR that provides tools and network infrastructure to help developers & companies quickly build and deploy 3D apps, games, and content.