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N e w s ,

f e a t u r e s

a n d

a n a l y s i s

f o r

i m m e r s i v e

t e c h

a n d

e n t e r p r i s e

m a g a z i n e

w w w. v r w o r l d t e c h . c o m

AEC must consider the possibility that is immersive technology

What is —and what can be Numena Virtual reality and giving clients agency in the design process

Make Real Look to training for the answer to trying immersive tech

Holo-Light Planning, development, production and so much more

From The Future Introducing the right partner for construction industry companies

T H E

B U S I N E S S

O F

M A N U FA C T U R E D

R E A L I T I E S


Deadline: 06/08/2021 Publication date: 16/08/2021

Software Issue

Computer-generated content creation solutions abound, offering enterprises plenty of ways of building engaging and thoughtful immersive content for whatever the purpose. But should they use third-party developers or build their own content and software in-house? And what tools should developers and studios use to serve the enterprise market and why? Mark Dugdale, Editor editor@vrworldtech.com

Jonathan Savage, Publisher jonsavage@vrworldtech.com


VRWorldTech Magazine

N e w s ,

f e a t u r e s

a n d

a n a l y s i s

f o r

i m m e r s i v e

t e c h

a n d

e n t e r p r i s e

m a g a z i n e Published by: Premeditated Media Group Ltd 71-75 Shelton Street Covent Garden London WC2H 9JQ

w w w. v r w o r l d t e c h . c o m

Editor

AEC must consider the possibility that is immersive technology

Mark Dugdale editor@vrworldtech.com

What is —and what can be

Publisher Jonathan Savage jonsavage@vrworldtech.com

Editorial board

Numena Virtual reality and giving clients agency in the design process

Make Real Look to training for the answer to trying immersive tech

Holo-Light Planning, development, production and so much more

From The Future Introducing the right partner for construction industry companies

T H E

Jan Pflueger, advisXR

B U S I N E S S

O F

M A N U FA C T U R E D

R E A L I T I E S

Sophia Moshasha

FOLLOW US Twitter:

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VRWorldTech

virtualrealityworldtech

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© 2021 Premeditated Media Group Ltd. All rights in and relating to this publication are expressly reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission from the publisher. The views expressed in VRWorldTech Magazine are not necessarily those of the publisher. While the publisher has taken every care in compiling this publication to ensure accuracy at the time of going to press, it does not accept liability or responsibility for errors or omissions therein, however caused.

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June 2021

3


Deadline: 01/10/2021

Publication date: 11/10/2021

Entertainment Issue

Immersive movies, games and experiences are becoming big business, online and in the real world. They can be found in homes as headsets become cheaper for consumers, in museums as guests demand more immersion, and at venues as operators seek new ways to attract customers.

Mark Dugdale, Editor editor@vrworldtech.com

Jonathan Savage, Publisher jonsavage@vrworldtech.com


Editor’s Note

This story is only just beginning Both the immersive technology industry and the enterprise market need to come forward with stories of success—and failure

I

t’s the midway point of the

We want to hear more stories from

they have learned in their work within

year, summer is here (at least in

first movers and seasoned users.

AEC. We hope you will too.

this part of the world!) and the

How did virtual reality change your

immersive technology industry is

business? What did augmented

Next up for VRWorldTech Magazine

alive with new product releases

reality achieve for you? Is mixed

is our focus on software. This could

reality really all it’s cracked up to

prove to be a bit of a challenge, in

be? If news is going to spread to

terms of both definition and delivery.

There are virtual reality headsets

the enterprise market, then we need

Rest assured, we’ll unpick immersive

coming from HTC Vive and Pico

both the immersive technology

‘software’ and tell stories that

Interactive, plus HP Reverb G2

industry and the enterprise market

demonstrate its power and areas for

Omnicept Edition and Varjo’s XR-3

to come forward with stories of

improvement, for the benefit of the

and VR-3. Augmented reality-

its successes—and failures. What

business and professional users who

powered smart glasses have never

went wrong and why? Tell us, so we

use it, and its developers.

been better, and Apple’s much-

can inform others and help t move

anticipated move into this area is still

these technologies forward for the

Until then, enjoy this issue, and,

to come.

betterment of everyone.

as ever, do let us know what you

and enterprise implementations.

think via social media or editor@ In the enterprise market, we are

The focus of this issue of

seeing immersive technology grow

VRWorldTech Magazine is the

vrworldtech.com.

in popularity as old prejudices are

architecture, engineering and

overcome and the conversation

construction sector. Trust me when

moves from one of potential to

I say there is no better area to look

implementation. Instead of ‘why’,

to understand how far immersive

businesses and professional users

technology has come and what it

are asking ‘how’.

needs to do to progress.

All in all, 2021 has proven

Thank you to Holo-Light, Numena

Mark has been a business-to-business

encouraging for immersive

and Make Real (plus VRdirect,

journalist for a decade. He has edited and

technology, but there is still much

Arko and From The Future, whose

written for websites within financial services

work to do if the enterprise market

contributions are all exclusive and

and law. He graduated from the University of

is going to invest and fuel the kind

directed at this sector) for talking to

Leeds with a BA in creative writing.

of product and service boom that

us about design, visualisation and

will make virtual, augmented and

training. We appreciate their time

mixed reality the next platforms of

and consideration, and really enjoyed

technological change.

the stories they told us and lessons

Mark Dugdale Editor VRWorldTech

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June 2021

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Contents

10

A round up of the biggest AEC announcements, press releases and thought leadership articles tracked in The Reality Wire and on VRWorlTech.com over the past two

In this issue months. Featuring VRdirect, Arkio, Theia Interactive, XYZ Reality and Sentio VR

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26

It’s up to AEC businesses

Virtual reality has the

to consider the

potential to disrupt

possibilities for virtual and

architecture workflows

Augmented reality is disrupting AEC—and

augmented reality, and for

and give clients an

immersive tech innovators aren’t stopping there

the immersive technology

unprecedented degree

industry to show them

of agency in the design

Editor’s Comment

Numena

process

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June 2021

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32

Holo-Light


Contents

38

Make Real Where virtual and augmented reality are proving particularly useful in AEC—and have done so for quite some time—is training

44

Construction industry companies are not set up to do virtual reality training. Luckily, with providers such as From The Future out there, they don’t have to be

w w w. v r w o r l d t e c h . c o m

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VRWorldTech is a must-read resource if you want to stay up-to-date on progress within immersive technology for enterprise. Our content sits between the technology’s creators and developers and the business leaders who can benefit from its use and application. We cover the stories that make immersive technology a reality.


A round up of the biggest AEC announcements and updates being made right now

Arkio: A new immersive collaborative design tool for architecture

O

n 1 June, Arkio

creative medium for architecture

Being able to create architecture

launched version

and our goal is to give designers

with your bare hands in virtual

1.0 of its immersive

superpowers via this medium.

reality is a powerful experience

collaborative

and we have made sure that

design tool for

We started working on Arkio in

Arkio integrates seamlessly with

architecture after a successful beta

early 2017. Building a real-time

other existing design tools such

period. With Arkio, professionals can

collaborative modelling tool for

as Revit, Rhino and SketchUp to

brainstorm, sketch, design, review,

architecture that works on mobile

make it easy for everyone to get

present and work together in real-

virtual reality headsets, desktops,

started in augmenting their current

time in a shared space using virtual

tablets and smartphones has not

design workflow.

reality, desktops, tablets and even

been an easy task.

smartphones.

In many ways, Arkio is like an We decided very early in the

immersive and collaborative overlay

Arkio is the first design tool made

concept phase to develop our own

onto these tools, making designers

specifically for architectural

solid modelling kernel, which would

more effective and helping them to

design work inside virtual reality.

allow us to achieve the performance

not just work together but also with

It features a custom-built solid

needed for real-time booleans and

their clients.

modelling kernel optimised

advanced geometry manipulation on

for mobile headsets, enabling

mobile devices.

architects to design inside virtual

During the beta, we saw many creative uses of Arkio (see

reality instead of simply using it as

This kernel also enables users to

screenshot on p11), such as

a medium for reviewing.

manipulate shapes inside virtual reality

urban planners creating an entire

as if they have physical properties,

neighbourhood in less than two

Virtual reality technology has

with shapes that snap, slide, glue and

hours, students using Arkio to

the potential to be the ultimate

stack on top of each other.

collaborate on class projects and

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architecture firms winning new

We know we are just getting started

can start designing within minutes.

project work by presenting their

and that there are many things we

Arkio will be completely free until

design proposals from inside Arkio.

need to improve on in version 1.0

1 September 2021. Starting in

and beyond. This includes enabling

September, we will offer three

We have seen people with no prior

users to add precise dimensions

plans, including a free plan to

3D modelling experience design

inside Arkio, the ability to create

make sure as many people as

their entire house in virtual reality in

more complex geometry, and

possible can try out Arkio before

less than a day and we heard from

making working with imported 3D

deciding to upgrade to a paid plan.

a retired lecturer in architecture

models as seamless as possible.

For the full Arkio experience, visit

how emotional it was for him to be

www.arkio.is or download from

able to sketch shapes effortlessly in

Our ambition is also to make Arkio

Oculus, Steam, the iOS App Store

virtual reality.

even easier to use, so that anyone

and Google Play.

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TRW

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TRW

How much freedom would you like? Leveraging 3D models in lightweight VR experiences for the AEC sector

O

n a superficial level,

BIM focuses on the planning,

the architecture,

construction and management of

engineering and

buildings and combines all relevant

construction (AEC)

information in 3D models. Usually,

sector and virtual

BIMs are already created in the

reality form a perfect symbiosis.

initial planning phase and used

A sector that relies heavily on the

in the respective service phases

visualisation of building plans,

by building owners, architects,

architectural models and all kinds

planners, construction companies,

of relevant data should benefit

tradesmen, etc, and are constantly

enormously from technology that

expanded on in order to always

brings all of it to life in an interactive

remain up-to-date throughout

way. All current trends point

the entire process. Combining all

unanimously in the direction of virtual

necessary and relevant information

reality—from the increasing use of

in a central model streamlines

CAD (computer-aided design) and

coordination processes and helps

CAM (computer-aided manufacturing)

all involved parties to collaborate

technologies to super-trends such as

more efficiently, accurately as well as

BIM (building information modelling).

cost-effectively—and, through virtual

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TRW reality, make data more haptic and

streamline the development process

also perform translational movements.

tangible. After all, if all relevant spatial

is one of the main reasons why many

6DoF allows users to walk around an

data has already been gathered,

architects still hesitate to employ

object in a 360 deg circle, bend over

the extra step towards realising a

virtual reality in their business despite

and look at it from top to bottom—

walkthrough of the virtual model with

the obvious benefits. The technology

or crouch down and look at it from

virtual reality is only a miniscule one.

might be a standard in a couple of

bottom to top. This type of position

years—at the moment, it still provides

tracking leads to a much more

a challenge for most of the industry.

immersive experience, which is critical

The benefit is clear: instead of having to rely on drawings, spreadsheets and

for realistic simulations.

other documents for planning and

But what’s the takeaway? Should

execution, everything is accessible

architects simply hold their horses

6DoF experiences represent the

through a ‘live experience’, further

until the market offers them a wide

ideal scenario when used in an

helping to make all relevant

variety of standardised solutions

AEC context, allowing users to fully

information more palpable for

to visualise their BIM projects in

experience a model as if walking

everyone. In any case, this technical

virtual reality?

through the actual building. However,

development seems to point to an increased use of virtual reality in AEC.

developing such an environment Not at all. Early entry into the still

requires high effort as well as

young market is well worth it. Those

expertise in gaming engines such as

Virtual reality paves its way into the

who gather experience working

Unity or Unreal Engine. Luckily, while

AEC sector

with the technology at this stage

creating complete 3D environments

will have a clear head start in every

for a 6DoF experience is a costly

The market seems to reflect these

construction project later when other

endeavour, the BIM approach

current trends, as more and more

market players follow suit.

produces a lot of elements that can

wearables and virtual reality headsets that cater to the needs of architects

very well be used in a 3DoF context The importance of 3DoF v 6DoF

and engineers see the light of day.

without having to spend months designing a proprietary experience

HMDs (head-mounted displays) such

Currently, the display of 3D models

as Oculus Rift and those from HTC

is primarily possible in the context of

Vive are increasingly popular with

6DoF experiences. These ‘degrees

New solutions help to combine

architects, supporting the rendering

of freedom’ play a key role in the

simple and complex

of 3D architectural designs with

virtual reality context for control and

animation of physical-scale models.

navigation within an experience.

Here’s where new cloud-based do-it-

They represent the number of axes

yourself solutions such as VRdirect

Nevertheless, the way forward to

along which the user is able to look

come into play. These solutions

widespread application of virtual

around and move. 3DoF represents

allow architects or engineers to

reality in AEC is still far from certain—

the ‘simplest’ virtual reality solution:

easily create 3DoF virtual reality

especially regarding available

the user may move to the right and

experiences on their own—while still

software. Creating virtual reality

left as well as look up and down, but

being able to incorporate their 3D

experiences based on BIMs can be a

is otherwise restricted in their rotation.

models. This is made possible by a

complex and costly endeavour. The

6DoF comes closest to ‘actual’ reality.

little ‘trick’: while 3D models can be

lack of standard solutions that help to

Apart from simple rotation, users can

placed anywhere in the scenery, for

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June 2021

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for it.


TRW the user to explore from all sides, the background of these experiences are simple 360 deg images or videos. This way, virtual reality projects remain simple to create, but still generate maximum impact, by transforming mere 3D models and CAD data into explorable objects that users can experience from all angles. So while not fully virtualising an entire BIM, by using this method, architects or engineers are able to visualise singular 3D models in a virtual environment, better communicating their properties and placement to other involved parties. Solutions such as VRdirect pave the way for widespread use of virtual reality in AEC by requiring only a little effort and absolutely no development skills. Combine this with the high availability of necessary equipment and low acquisition costs and there is no reason not to immediately start using virtual reality as a tool for visualising buildings and to get a head start on adopting a technology that will undoubtedly play a crucial role in the future of AEC. Starting with the upcoming version of VRdirect, it will be possible to transform existing 3D or CAD libraries into living virtual reality experiences— thereby opening the door to the future of BIM today without having to wait for upcoming technological revolutions.

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TRW

Theia Interactive brings Claria tracking tool to HP Reverb G2 Omnicept Edition

T

heia Interactive, a

sensors for sight and heart rate

headset can track heart rate, heart

software developer

as well as eye and facial tracking

rate variability, cognitive load, eye

focused on visualisation

features make the headset

vector, pupillometry and saccade.

and doing notable work

capable of measuring a user’s

in architecture, has

cognitive load and delivering real-

Claria offers a “comprehensive look

launched a biometric tracking tool

time insights for next-level virtual

at a person’s physical responses”,

capable of analysing and reporting

reality experiences.

according to Theia, then creates

a person’s physical reactions while in virtual reality.

datasets that can be used to The tool utilises Omnicept Edition

achieve a range of goals.

to track six key physical responses Claria, available as a perpetual

and help designers, marketers,

“Claria takes the guesswork

licence now through an early

researchers and developers

out of designing products and

access programme, is built

understand exactly how a person

campaigns,” explains Bill Fishkin,

exclusively for the new HP Reverb

feels about a given product or

co-founder and chief executive

G2 Omnicept Edition, whose

experience. Biosensors within the

officer of Theia.

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TRW Fishkin continues: “We can put someone in VR and know exactly what about the experience we build attracts them, excites them, even overwhelms them, to arrive at better designs through more informed decisions.” Biometric results recorded by Claria can be played back or viewed as heat maps and graphs, to help users better understand collected information. The tool is also designed to work within Unreal Engine and has multiuser capabilities that can bring different parties together inside a project, including voice chat and the ability to make changes to work in real-time. Jay Fraser, senior manager of XR GTM and developer relations at HP, comments: “Knowing a person’s true, unfiltered reaction means that anyone designing products or trying to attract people has a significant advantage over those relying on traditional methods.” “The HP Reverb G2 Omnicept Solution has the tools to collect and interpret that data, and Claria makes it easy for anyone to easily leverage the power of this cutting-edge technology.” Early access Claria perpetual licences are available in packs of three, five and 10 from Theia. The full access launch is expected by the end of 2021.

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TRW

HoloSite AR system to be tested in hospital building project

E

ngineering-grade augmented reality, as startup XYZ Reality calls its HoloSite system for the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) sector, is being put to the test in a hospital building project.

XYZ Reality and UCL (University College London) have received a grant from the government funding body, UK Research and Innovation, for the project, awarded in connection with a government hospital infrastructure plan. The grant comes in the form of a knowledge transfer partnership (KTP), a vehicle backed by public investment that partners private sector organisations on research programmes. The KTP will see XYZ Reality work in partnership with UCL’s Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction

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TRW and Centre for Advanced Spatial

The system is being used to

Analysis (CASA), with support

design and construct one of

from UCL Innovation & Enterprise.

Europe’s largest, hyperscale data centres in Denmark. PM Group,

They will examine how XYZ

the international engineering

Reality’s HoloSite system can

firm overseeing that project,

help to complete large, complex

said earlier this year that it plans

construction projects on-time and

to deploy additional HoloSite

on-budget, using hospitals as

units as the build advances into

case studies.

more complex mechanical and electrical construction phases.

These case studies will feed into XYZ Reality’s overarching

Commenting on the UK KTP

aim to enable transformation in

grant, Professor Duncan Wilson,

the construction sector through

of connected environments at

the demonstration of benefits,

UCL Bartlett CASA, summarises

such as improving productivity

the project and what it means:

and efficiency, reducing waste,

“This KTP grant offers us

and developing sustainable

an important opportunity to

approaches.

understand how AR can help different users interact digitally

UK-based HoloSite developer

with the environment in novel

XYZ Reality, which launched in

ways, and by doing so improve

2017, secured €5.7 million in

productivity, and deliver time and

funding last year to expand into

cost savings.”

new markets as it moves toward a general release of the augmented

XYZ Reality founder and chief

reality system, aimed at the AEC

executive officer David Mitchell

sector, later this year.

adds: “We’re thrilled to have been selected for the KTP grant and

HoloSite integrates augmented

delighted at partnering with UCL

reality into a safety-compliant,

on this project. Our engineering-

hard hat and visor.

grade AR technology is already being deployed on construction

The technology enables users

projects with the same levels of

to view full, BIM (building

complexity as hospital builds,

information modelling) models

and I’m pleased to say that it is

on site, in real time and within

generating significant time and

construction tolerances.

cost savings.”

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TRW Sentio VR launches AEC design review and presentation app on Oculus Quest

S

entio VR is taking advantage of the

huge enabler for virtual reality adoption in

new Oculus App Lab to distribute a

architecture, engineering and construction:

Quest 2-ready version of its design

“With a high-quality standalone VR headset

review and presentation solution.

like Quest 2 at an affordable price point, easyto-use software that integrates with design

Aimed at architecture, engineering and

workflows, the barrier to entry to engage

construction (AEC) professionals, Sentio VR’s

clients early and avoid communication errors

solution enables them to easily integrate

in the design process using VR for SMBs has

virtual reality into their design review and client

been reduced drastically.”

presentations workflows for SketchUp and Revit BIM (building information modeling) files,

The developer’s new Oculus Quest app gives

and additional 3D content.

access to a cloud-based solution that features plugins for SketchUp and Revit.

The arrival of Quest 2, for a competitive $299, has made virtual reality more compelling for the

It’s also at its best when accessed remotely,

small- and medium-sized AEC firms that Sentio

with up to five users able to join using a simple

VR targets, particularly when they are also in

six-digit code and password via the Oculus

need of cloud-based software for their design

Quest app.

reviews and client presentations. One user, Ken Mahood, principal architect The launch of App Lab, a distinct distribution

at JH Architects, is quoted by Sentio VR as

channel on the Oculus platform for testing

saying: “Sentio VR is a transformative software

and rolling out new third-party apps, makes it

product that not only blows the minds of our

even easier for Sentio VR’s target customers

clients when we show them their project but

to access its solution and virtual reality as an

also surprises us as the designers.”

immersive technology. “The Revit add-in interface is extremely easy Sentio VR co-founder and chief executive

to use and the price reasonable. I highly

officer Chaitanya Ravi sees this as a

recommend this product to any architect.”

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TRW

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21


AEC / Editor’s Comment

It’s up to AEC businesses to consider the possibilities for virtual and augmented reality, and for the immersive technology industry to show them

T

here is a sense

complicated or costly to

custom-built solid modelling

that we are only

achieve. Simple 360 deg images

kernel optimised for mobile

just beginning to

and video are capable of

headsets, enabling architects to

scratch the surface

generating “maximum impact, by

design inside virtual reality

of what immersive

transforming mere 3D models and

instead of simply using

technology can achieve for the

CAD (computer-aided design) data

it as a medium for

architecture, engineering and

into explorable objects that users

visualisation.

construction (AEC) sector. But

can experience from all angles”.

This is

what can be achieved right now is actually quite a lot.

Then there is Arkio, a new immersive collaborative

Look no further than this issue’s

design tool for

The Reality Wire to see what I

architecture that

mean. VRstudio offers excellent

features a

insight into leveraging 3D models in ‘lightweight’ virtual reality experiences for the AEC sector, arguing that effective visualisation does not need to be

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AEC / Editor’s Comment

free to try now on Oculus Quest

and develops both physical

enough, plus they are comfortable

and shows how far virtual reality

and virtual spaces, argues

in their understanding of

has come as a tool for AEC. That

that “visualisation is the least

everything about their building,

is not six to 12 months in the

interesting thing about virtual

because it is right there in front of

future, but right now.

reality in AEC”.

them, 1:1”.

Of course, there are those that

Cojocaru argues that virtual

Germany-headquartered Holo-

argue that virtual reality in

reality “has huge potential to

Light, developer of AR 3S

particular isn’t being used to its

disrupt workflows”. By rendering

(Augmented Reality Engineering

full potential.

1:1 scale environments in its

Space), saw immersive technology

proprietary software for clients

as the means to upgrade current

Andreea Ion Cojocaru, a licensed

during the concept stage of the

engineering software and

architect, software developer and

design process, Numena is giving

give engineers and designers

chief executive officer and co-

them “an unprecedented degree

a new tool to improve and

of agency”.

simplify workflows in planning,

founder of Numena, an awardwinning interdisciplinary company based in Germany that designs

development, and production. Traditionally, architects receive and interpret client instructions.

But Holo-Light did not stop at

Numena is using virtual reality

solving those problems and turned

to literally bring them in on the

its attention to streaming immersive

ground floor, to build the concept

content and apps, a key problem for

as they see fit. This way, clients “understand the process and

AEC businesses dealing with bulky CAD and BIM (building information modelling) files.

design well For Holo-Light, immersive technology is capable of achieving so much more, both within AEC and the wider enterprise market, so the company took it upon itself to

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AEC / Editor’s Comment develop a solution that could help

they see a competitor adopting an

particularly learning and training,

augmented and virtual reality live

immersive technology or there is a

there is a lot of talk about scale.

up to their potential as immersive

pressure to be seen as innovative.

But the reality is that one headset

technologies.

He goes on to state that these

heavily used can have more impact

shouldn’t be the driving factors for

than 17,000 sat in a cupboard.”

Florian Haspinger, chief executive officer of Holo-Light, says: “The technology can be easily integrated into third-party apps and already empowers our own AR 3S Pro. With our solutions, we want to advance the adoption and growth of augmented and virtual reality by enabling critical use cases, which demonstrate return on investment and provide added value for companies.” There is also a need for the AEC sector to increase its awareness of what immersive technology can achieve. Make Real, a studio and publisher focused on immersive technology for training and learning based in the UK, has been working with businesses in the construction, energy and utilities sectors, which it collectively calls the built environment, for over 10 years. Sam Watts, immersive

adoption, however.

"

Virtual reality and other technologies must be a complementary tool in the toolkit. We just have to show them how to take advantage of immersive technologies and make their learning and training better

partnerships director at Make

“The key is working toward the learning outcome. Are they completely incapable of achieving it? Are pass rates too low, is engagement lacking? Will virtual reality make a particular training exercise easier to complete?” “Virtual reality and other technologies must be a complementary tool in the toolkit. We just have to show them how to take advantage of immersive technologies and make their learning and training better.” The AEC sector has much to consider when it comes to immersive technology, not least because it is ready and waiting to play a crucial role right now, whether for hands-on client design, tried-and-tested visualisation, or improving the training of staff. Game changers, such as bringing clients into the architectural

Real, says most businesses,

For learning and training, AEC

design process early on, will come

whether in the built environment

businesses should consider the

soon enough.

grouping, wider AEC sector or

potential of virtual reality, in

otherwise, do not necessarily even

whatever form that takes.

differentiate between virtual and

It’s also up to AEC businesses to consider the possibilities, and for

augmented reality right now. Their

Watts says: “When it comes

the immersive technology industry

interest tends to be piqued when

to virtual reality for enterprise,

to show them what can be.

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T h i s

i s

a n

i m m e r s i v e

w o r l d

The Reality Wire tracks the latest press releases from across immersive technology. If you have a new product, an important update, vital funding or plans to partner, we want to hear from you.

H a v e

a

s t o r y

t o

t e l l ?

S u b m i t

i t

n o w :

e d i t o r @ v r w o r l d t e c h . c o m


AEC / Numena

Room to grow

Virtual reality has the potential to disrupt architecture workflows and give clients an unprecedented degree of agency in design

A

s early as 2015, one large UK-

than doing, disappoints Andreea Ion

based architecture firm gave

Cojocaru, a licensed architect, software

press tours of secret labs

developer and chief executive officer

where experts were creating

and co-founder of Numena, an award-

virtual models of complex

winning interdisciplinary company based

structures in Abu Dhabi, Singapore

in Germany that designs and develops

and even on the Moon, to push the

both physical and virtual spaces.

boundaries of virtual reality and inform architectural thinking here on Earth.

Current practice sees architects typically produce a design in BIM

Fast forward to 2021 and when

(building information modeling)

we talk about virtual reality and

software such as Revit and connect a

the architecture, engineering and

virtual reality headset via a plugin.

construction (AEC) sector, we still focus on visualisation. To imagine what

Or a model will be exported and viewed

could be, to better convey an idea to

in virtual reality elsewhere, at which

clients. Afterall, filling a space virtually

point colleagues and clients can join

is far easier than producing a physical

and collaborate.

prototype or model. “The elephant in the room”, as The fact that the conversation around

Cojocaru describes it, is that clients

virtual reality in AEC still focuses

lack agency at this point of the

on visualisation, or imagining rather

process.

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AEC / Numena

They may request a change to the design. For example, the addition of a second window in the kitchen of a proposed residential property, Cojocaru explains. To do this at the point of a visualisation session in virtual reality requires the architect to return to the screen-based software containing the original model, make the change, and then export it back into virtual reality, a lengthy and complicated process that does not do the technology justice. Cojocaru says: “The way virtual reality has been used by the big firms is to augment an existing workflow. It has been treated as the latest, prettiest visualisation tool, so that it fits in at the point where they want to impress the client with excellent graphics.” The least interesting thing about virtual reality in AEC “For me, visualisation is the least interesting thing about virtual reality in AEC,” Cojocaru continues. “It has huge potential to disrupt workflows.” The problem is very little attempt is being made to do so among the major

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27


AEC / Numena

When you put clients in virtual reality and let them make changes, they understand the process and design well enough, plus they are comfortable in their understanding

firms, where Cojocaru has worked,

They are using their software to

“I think this is a conceited way

because they lack the incentive.

render 1:1 scale environments

to go about architecture. And

“It is just not going to happen.”

for clients during the concept

the profession is also notorious

stage of the process: “This type

for promoting this myth of the

For Numena, virtual reality is a

of workflow gives clients an

grand genius and producing

technology that can “shake things

unprecedented degree of agency

2D construction drawings that

up”. That is why the company is

in the design process.”

are full of representation and

developing its own proprietary

symbolism that is hard for lay

software tool (see screenshot on

Cojocaru continues: “This is

people to understand and read.

p27), to embed virtual reality into

another aspect that architects do

When architects do produce

its workflow and fundamentally

not like to discuss. Why would an

visualisations, they produce them

change how it works with clients

architect want a client to design a

from very controlled, privileged

in this space.

building when it is supported to be

angles. They do not visualise a

their job?"

hallway because it will be too

For example, Cojocaru and her

expensive, but because they do not

colleagues, including co-founder

"Architects go to school to learn

Benjamin Bach, see virtual reality

the best way to lay out a kitchen.

as highly capable of enriching

Why would you want a client to

In virtual reality, all of that

proofing and validation.

design that?”

changes. Cojocaru and her

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want the client to see the hallway.”


AEC / Numena

Andreea Ion Cojocaru Chief executive officer and co-founder of Numena

colleagues have found that

"A bedroom is too small? Just

both architects and immersive

enabling clients to make changes

move a wall. We are able to guide

technology developers. Cojocaru

to a concept makes them better

them through the process, showing

is a licenced architect as well

informed about and confident in

them then and there that moving

as an expert in virtual and

their proposed building.

the wall makes their kitchen

augmented reality technology,

smaller. Are they okay with that?

a combination that pairs a

They can see for themselves.”

traditional discipline with an

Cojocaru says: “When you put clients in virtual reality

emerging technology.

and let them make changes,

Cojocaru adds: “This is a

they understand the process

fundamental change in the

Cojocaru says: “I don’t believe

and design well enough, plus

relationship between architect

it will be relevant in the future

they are comfortable in their

and client. We’re super excited

to say you are a technology

understanding of everything

about that as an example of the

developer or an architect,

about their building, because it is

potential of the tool.”

because technology is the

right there in front of them, 1:1.”

leading paradigm for all of these Both architects and developers

“Instead of asking us to try adding

disciplines. If you want to do cutting edge work, you need

a third window to a wall, they can

Numena is in the privileged

some understanding of the

just put a window there."

position of being made up of

technical aspects."

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29


AEC / Numena

"In architecture, you need to

This means that Numena is in the

stage of a project,” says Cojocaru,

have a deep understanding of

privileged position of being able

“we do not need much information

the technology to do this kind of

to develop its own proprietary

beyond the size of plot, rough

work, so we are also immersive

software and test it on willing

estimates for the ground floor,

technology developers.”

AEC clients.

and so on. It is typically what you

Although Numena has two

Numena’s in-house software is

sketches and blocking. None of it

augmented reality projects on

being used in partnership with

needs to be precise.”

the go, the company’s passion is

clients on small-scale residential

virtual reality.

projects, where control is needed

By designing the concept in

over only a small number of

virtual reality, there is no need

Cojocaru and her team also

factors and relatively little

to return to screen-based

spend about 30% of their time on

information is required: “Because

software, meaning no exporting

traditional projects, because they

we are using virtual reality and our

or downtime. Once signoff on

love to build physical spaces.

own software during the concept

a concept is received, Numena

would do during this stage with

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June 2021

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AEC / Numena moves the project and its client

been that involved, with a level

of the client. This means that

out of virtual reality: “The next

of customisation that everyone is

functionality can be maximised

stage is to add detail, such as

happy with.”

or limited depending on the need,

insulation. We do not believe there

and Numena provides services

is any advantage in doing that

“In school, we learn the correct

along the way to guide, advise and

kind of detailing in virtual reality. It

way is to lay out an apartment for

advance the work.

is just faster with a mouse.”

a family, and what the relationship is between the kitchen and

Numena is currently testing a beta

Virtual reality can shorten the

master bedroom. But if someone

version of the software tool for a

concept phase by up to 70%

has bought land and invested

commercial release in the future.

money in building a house they

Interested parties will be able to

Cojocaru says working this

intend to live in, it should be

request access to this, most likely

way with clients not only gives

entirely up to them where they put

in the next four to six months.

them greater confidence in

their kitchen."

their plans, but it speeds up the

Cojocaru says Numena will follow

entire process: “There was a fear

Working in virtual reality, in

the Build in Public approach,

that doing this would make the

partnership with the client, opens

because “the way collaboration

concept phase longer, because

up a kind of freedom that we have

is used in the context of AEC is

the client would want to change

never seen before.”

very narrow”.

reality is actually making the

Similarly, while Numena’s software

The company will set up a Discord

whole stage about 70% shorter.”

offers a traditional bird’s eye

channel for early adopters and

perspective, the default 1:1 view

carry out live design sessions on a

“Our clients are gaining much

enables clients to make decisions

streaming platform.

more confidence in what they are

about how a space feels, which

seeing and what their house will

delivers shapes and designs that

“I want to stream myself live inside

look like."

are completely different to what

our virtual environment, where

would normally be created.

I can speak to other architects,

everything. But working in virtual

Cojocaru adds: "And once they

designers and enthusiasts, and we

make that decision, it stays made,

Numena’s software is currently

can build a house together. There

much more so than if the architect

running on Quest 2, with clients

may also be the opportunity to get

was making it for them. They

preferring all-in-one (or standalone)

our clients involved.”

have that confidence that they

virtual reality for reasons of ease

understand and have all of the

of use and lower cost compared to

“This will be way more exciting

information to decide.”

PC virtual reality.

than being an Architect with a

Numena is also opening up new

The company works on a project-

can build a community to help us

creative pathways by working

by-project basis, essentially

build a software tool that will allow

this way: “We are ending up with

customising the software

us to explore collaborative design

designs that we would not have

experience each time to suit

and architecture in the deepest

developed had the client not

the hardware and requirements

meaning of the term.”

capital ‘A’. Our hope is that we

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31


AEC / Holo-Light

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Do you want to know more? Visit: /Education


AEC / Holo-Light

A problem shared Augmented reality is disrupting AEC—and immersive tech innovators aren’t stopping there

A

business interested in

(pictured on p36), the Germany-

aided design) and BIM (building

embracing augmented,

headquartered company developed

information modelling) files. And,

virtual or mixed reality

augmented reality engineering

of course, identify another problem

technologies, whatever

software AR 3S (Augmented Reality

and the immersive technology developer will innovate to solve it.

the use case, needs to

Engineering Space, see concept

bear at least one thing in mind:

image on p32), to give engineers

immersive technology developers

and designers a new tool to improve

“With ISAR (Interactive Streaming

are perpetual innovators. They will

and simplify workflows in planning,

for Augmented Reality), we have

work tirelessly to meet your use

development, and production.

developed a remote rendering

case and deliver an application

software component to stream

that achieves return on investment,

But Holo-Light did not stop at

entire XR applications in real time,”

but they will also be looking at the

solving those problems. After

explains Florian Haspinger, chief

next problem and committing time,

landing €4 million in series A

executive officer of Holo-Light.

energy and resources to solving it.

financing in December 2018, the

A good example is Holo-Light.

company turned its attention to

“The technology can be easily

streaming immersive content and

integrated into third-party apps and

Founded in 2015 by Florian

apps, a key problem for businesses

already empowers our own AR 3S

Haspinger, Susanne Haspinger,

in the architecture, engineering

Pro. With our solutions, we want to

Alexander Werlberger, Luis

and construction (AEC) sector

advance the adoption and growth

Bollinger and Michael Oberlechner

dealing with bulky CAD (computer-

of augmented and virtual reality by

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33


AEC / Holo-Light enabling critical use cases, which

on a collaboration tool that

customer to easily revise the

demonstrate return on investment

allows professionals to

design, adjust to expectations or

and provide added value for

continue working on important

simply provide the client a more

companies.”

programmes and projects.

powerful experience.”

Without risk and even across Note Haspinger’s phrasing

large geographical distances.”

there—Holo-Light believes that

The enterprise market’s interest in augmented reality and virtual

ISAR can solve the streaming

This is where AR 3S comes in.

reality in particular appears to be

problem for a range of use

The software enables users to

solidifying and the conversation

cases and applications, not just

visualise, manipulate and work

moving on from one of potential to

visualisation, collaboration and

collaboratively on 3D designs, via

one of implementation.

productivity in AEC.

Microsoft HoloLens 2 (it is worth noting here that Microsoft markets

AR 3S is as simple as engineering

Augmented reality is disrupting

HoloLens as a “mixed reality”

software comes. It is available

the AEC sector

platform, which means immersive

out-of-the-box through Microsoft

content interacts with the physical

Store and other platforms, and is

AEC, however, is one sector where

world. However, that is not always

easily installed on HoloLens 2 and

Holo-Light sees augmented and

the case with software running on

other devices, making it suitable

virtual reality as key drivers for its

the headset, so businesses should

for small businesses right up to

digital transformation.

always check with the provider).

global corporations.

AR 3S also runs on virtual reality Haspinger says: “Augmented

and mobile devices.

reality is disrupting AEC. The

Haspinger says: “Augmented reality is not only worthwhile for

technology provides design and

Haspinger continues: “With AR

the large corporations of this

construction professionals with

3S, buildings and manufacturing

world. Big players are usually the

realistic, detailed views into

plants can be planned better, and

early adopters, but our number of

ongoing projects.”

designs can be realised faster and,

inquiries from small to mid-sized

above all, more economically. For

companies has been increasing

“For example, they may want to

example, it is possible to make

in recent months, because our

overlay BIM and 3D CAD files

concept evaluations up to 12

solution is becoming more and

over real environments to ensure

months faster and detect design

more focused.”

the proper placement of walls,

flaws in early stages. Design

beams, or pipes. With augmented

changes during construction can

For the fully immersive

reality engineers can review their

also be overlaid onto the real

experience, users need to

designs instantly at any time and

environment and checked if there

purchase Microsoft HoloLens

collaborate with other stakeholders

are any collisions/problems.”

2, currently retailing for around

in an extended reality workspace.”

€3,500, while there are annual “Furthermore, an immersive

costs for the software licence.

“Especially in times of

augmented reality model is

In Haspinger’s opinion, as

social distancing, it is an

scalable up to 1:1 in the real

augmented reality’s entry barriers

absolute advantage to rely

world and can be shown to the

go, that is “comparatively low”.

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AEC / Holo-Light

Big players are usually the early adopters, but our number of inquiries from small to mid-sized companies has been increasing in recent months

Florian Haspinger Chief executive officer of Holo-Light


AEC / Holo-Light

Haspinger explains: “A large part

Empowering a new era for spatial

“Size and complexity of 3D CAD,

of the infrastructure (computer,

analytics in augmented reality

BIM or point cloud data can lead to

WLAN, etc) is usually already

unstable rendering, jittering motion,

in place—so it’s a manageable

As mentioned above, Holo-Light is

lower fps, and an unacceptable

investment.”

working on further reducing those

user experience or software

entry barriers. ISAR, its new XR

crashes,” Haspinger explains.

A more fundamental issue with

(the collective term for augmented,

any implementation tends to come

virtual and mixed reality), is

“By integrating ISAR in their

from the people involved.

enabling Japanese mixed reality

solution, HoloLab is now able

partner HoloLab to meet the

to visualise their customer’s

requirements of AEC.

models that are only suited for

Haspinger says: “As with many change processes, it is to a

high-performance processing,

large extent the employees who

HoloLab’s general construction and

empowering a new era for spatial

determine the success or failure

civil engineering customers often

analytics in augmented reality.”

of a technology. It must be clear

want to render entire buildings or

to them how the digitisation of

complex plants and pipe systems,

“For example, the company was

familiar work processes with

but do not realise that the local

able to visualise 3D mesh data

augmented reality addresses their

rendering capacity of a mobile

of the famous Shuri Castle with

specific requirements and needs.”

augmented reality device is limited.

around five million polygons as

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AEC / Holo-Light well as an even larger point cloud with around 25 million points of the Miyakonojo Civic Center." "Many AEC companies also rely heavily on on-premises solutions because of asset management and data security reasons." "With ISAR, they are free to decide whether the application is running on a local workstation, on-premises server infrastructure or in the cloud. Confidential data is only streamed and not stored locally on a mobile device. Potential data privacy problems and entryways for hackers can thus be prevented.” Holo-Light is now working intensively on scalability after establishing “a very good technological basis”. Haspinger says: “For example, we are currently strengthening our support structure and distribution channels to bring our software and updates to customers even faster.” AR 3S is “being used globally and becoming the standard in the industry”, he adds. “And of course, we want to leverage the full potential of augmented and virtual reality by enabling the streaming of all AR/VR applications with our ISAR SDK. We want to be no less than the future Netflix of the XR economy.”

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37


People power Where virtual and augmented reality are proving particularly useful in AEC—and have done so for quite some time—is training

M

any organisations are seeking to

Building and creating together, particularly while the

understand where augmented or virtual

pandemic continues to force colleagues and clients

reality applies to their business. The

apart. Where virtual and augmented reality are proving

crucial point to remember about immersive

particularly useful in AEC—and have done so for quite

technologies is that they have no defined

some time—is training.

use case or application. In the hands of an interested business and capable developer, they can be

It is obvious really. Health and safety on construction

whatever they need to be. The important factor to

sites, handling and maintaining complex, large and

remember, however, is always: why are they being

often expensive equipment, even managing a site and

considered over traditional or existing technologies,

dealing appropriately with clients.

what do they bring that others cannot? Whether your business designs skyscrapers or In the architecture, construction and engineering

installs their air conditioners, AEC isn’t materials or

(AEC) sector, the talk of the immersive technology

technology, it’s people. And keeping those people

industry is visualisation with a dash of collaboration.

adequately trained is vital to a project’s success.

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AEC / Make Real Make Real Ltd, a studio and publisher focused on immersive technology for training and learning based in the UK, has been working with businesses in the construction, energy and utilities sectors, which it collectively calls the built environment, for over 10 years. Make Real adopts a solutions approach to learning and training, focusing its efforts on the desired outcomes and deploying the appropriate technologies to achieve them, rather than championing virtual reality as a game-changer or claiming augmented reality is the next big thing in technology.

Make Real advises prospective

engaged to go on that journey. The

clients interested in immersive

easiest way to do that is to iterate.

A small budget for a discovery

technologies for training to first

They shouldn’t worry about having

workshop

define their desired learning

to find a big budget. Instead,

objectives and allocate a small

look at a smaller, simpler budget

Sam Watts, immersive

budget to proof of concept, pilot

that can be signed off by fewer

partnerships director at Make

or prototype.

stakeholders for a pilot, proof of

Real, says most businesses,

concept or prototype, and then

whether in the built environment

“A small budget for a discovery

have a clear business or learning

grouping, wider AEC sector or

workshop is beneficial because it

objective to measure that against."

otherwise, do not necessarily even

can remove some of the barriers

differentiate between virtual and

later on that come with a bigger

"It’s a set of checks and balances

augmented reality.

budget,” Watts explains.

to make sure they are not just throwing cash at the latest fad.”

Their interest tends to be piqued

It is at this point that Make Real can

when they see a competitor

explain the general benefits of virtual

An excellent example of this is a

adopting an immersive technology

reality for training, for example, and

project that saw Make Real deploy

or there is a pressure to be seen

help the client to validate what they

virtual reality for Vodafone, which

as innovative. He goes on to

themselves can achieve.

wanted to prepare employees for

state that these shouldn’t be

working at height (see screenshots

the driving factors for adoption,

Watts says: “It’s about aligning

above and on p38 and p40). The

however.

mindsets and getting stakeholders

company wanted to increase

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39


AEC / Make Real maintenance crew manager empathy for their teams as part of a global organisational focus on reducing fatalities on the job. This involved the development of a prototype experience to demonstrate virtual reality’s validity as a training technology, but it was also used to explore motion-tracked input controllers and virtual hands as a means of replicating the experience of climbing a pole, following safe and unsafe procedures. Vodafone also wanted to engage with various stakeholders internally. The initial prototype using a full height (25 m) mast was almost too successful, with multiple users becoming so immersed in the virtual reality experience that they became frozen while ‘working’ at such a height. Make Real redesigned the final experience around a rooftop mast, so that the desired learning outcomes could be achieved without the undesired emotional reactions getting in the way of the training, while still providing a sense of height and danger. Make Real also designed the full experience across three tiers of delivery, including ‘full’ and mobile virtual reality on Oculus Rift and Go, and an interactive screenbased 360 deg version deployed

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AEC / Make Real

across the Vodafone learning

"The key is working toward

Over the 10 years that Make Real

management system (LMS).

the learning outcome. Are they

has been working with them, the

completely incapable of achieving

studio has deployed multi-channel

The full virtual reality version

it? Are pass rates too low, is

projection screens, CAVEs,

was deployed into four key

engagement lacking? Will virtual

motion platforms, virtual reality,

headquarters in Europe, capturing

reality make a training exercise

augmented reality, and mobile,

80% of all members of staff over

easier to complete?”

tablet and headset-based devices.

mobile version was deployed as

“Virtual reality and other

Each was used once a solution

a loaner, take-home kit for self-

technologies must be a

had been decided on, after

study and experience.

complementary tool in the toolkit.

learning outcomes and objectives

We just have to show them how

were identified.

the course of 12 months, while the

Watts comments: “When it comes

to take advantage of immersive

to virtual reality for enterprise,

technologies and make their

The conversation around virtual

particularly learning and training,

learning and training better.”

reality for learning and training

there is a lot of talk about scale. But the reality is that one

for these clients is becoming more nuanced, with off-the-

A wealth of options

headset heavily used can have

shelf experiences desired but

more impact than 17,000 sat in a

Built environment clients have a

more bespoke content the

cupboard."

wealth of options to choose from.

likelier course, particularly when

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41


AEC / Make Real

Make Real works with Unity and customisation is easy to achieve. The company is also a publisher and offers off-the-shelf experiences for this sector, including training for electrical, plumbing and air-con refrigeration and maintenance, diversity and inclusion, and construction. These are all customisable to suit built environment clients, such as to meet local certification requirements.

one headset heavily used can have more impact than 17,000 sat in a cupboard

Watts points to the example of Rear Guard (see screenshot on p41), which provides gesturebased training for reversing

experience available through Oculus for Business. It was designed in partnership with a global financial institution, based on real-world stories from four of its employees. Watts says D&I Perspectives as it currently stands isn’t necessarily appropriate for built environment clients, because they likely encounter different diversity and inclusion issues to a financial institution, or the office scenario doesn’t give the same sense of

Sam Watts Immersive partnerships director at Make Real

operatives around large vehicles.

presence. But D&I Perspectives is an excellent indication of how offthe-shelf content can be tweaked

These are currently limited to a

to suit a particular vertical in the

waste management truck and

enterprise market, particularly at

two-person delivery vehicle, but

a time when there is no enterprise

they could just as easily be an

store where businesses can find

ambulance or a bus, because the

experiences to cover a new need.

underlying operations remain the same across verticals.

Watts adds: “An off-the-shelf product is usually 85% good

Diversity and inclusion is also a

enough to meet a business’s

growing area of focus for many

requirements. In our experience,

businesses, including those in the

they tend to ask us to add

built environment, and studios and

something to make it a 100% fit."

publishers such as Make Real are rising to meet the challenge. Make Real has published D&I Perspectives on Oculus App Lab

Image credit: photogrammetry scan by 3Dify

and made the soft skills training

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"Virtual reality for training is still experimental for a lot of businesses at this stage, so there is rarely a case of one size fits all.”


Deadline: 2 6 / 1 1 / 2 0 2 1 Public a tion da te: 0 6 / 1 2 / 2 0 2 1

Manufacturing Issue Designers are at the forefront of virtual reality, creating and refining ever impressive products, machines and buildings, without having to leave their studio and on much grander scales, while augmented reality is being utilised to redefine traditional spaces and bring 3D models alive, in the real world.

Mark Dugdale, Editor editor@vrworldtech.com

Jonathan Savage, Publisher jonsavage@vrworldtech.com


Meet: Construction industry companies are not set up to do virtual reality training. Luckily, with providers such as From The Future out there, they don’t have to be

From the Future is a premiere independent virtual reality development studio that creates custom, next-generation experiences and apps. The company’s work with leading construction companies on virtual reality training experiences makes it a developer in this space very much worth getting to know. VRWorldTech Magazine spoke to Mike Christian, founder and

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Do you want to know more? Visit: /Meet


AEC / From The Future

chief executive officer, and Justin

platform we call DRIVE, which

in the construction industry

Mullin, vice president of business

stands for Distributed Real-time

responding to and benefiting from

development, at From The Future

Intelligent Virtual Environment.

VR training and education?

about this work and what the

The DRIVE platform serves as a

company can do for AEC. The

foundation for multi-platform virtual

Mike Christian: They are excited

interview was conducted via email

and augmented reality experiences

and are quick to see the enormous

and edited for style and clarity

and provides commonly needed

potential. We have a virtual reality

services such as licensing, data

experience that runs on mobile

tracking, and module distribution.

headsets, such as Oculus Quest,

VRWTM: Tell us about From The Future—how did the company come about, and what are your core focuses?

that our business development team On top of DRIVE, we have

uses to walk potential customers

created a solution called Hololab

through the possibilities. This

Mike Christian: From the Future

VR Training that is used for a

experience can accommodate up

was formed by a group of futurists

variety of education and training

to 12 people at once, together,

and problem solvers known

solutions. This is designed to

whether they are local or remote,

for working with cutting edge

serve up learning that is a mix of

and showcases a variety of

technology. The company has taken

slides, workbench activities, and

industrial solutions. Once they have

experience from the defence, video

simulations. Incorporating traditional

experienced this, they ‘get it’ and

game, and semiconductor industries

forms of learning, such as slides,

the floodgate of ideas opens up.

and applied it to immersive

and integrating it with engaging

technology such as virtual and

activities provides a faster on-ramp

The first thing they realise is they

augmented reality.

to virtual reality for companies while

feel like they are physically there in

enhancing learning.

the scene and quickly understand

The software solutions in the last

how the technology can be used to

six years have evolved into a next-

VRWTM: On this issue’s focus, the

train people in a variety of scenarios

generation immersive learning

AEC sector, how are your customers

where location, materials, equipment

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June 2021

45


Accessibility translates into more qualified job candidates in a shorter amount of time. That translates into saving money Mike Christian Founder and chief executive officer of From The Future


AEC / From The Future can be scarce or costly to access.

full-time job. Even when a company

trained for. This is currently

Once an implementation rolls out,

has an innovation group and a lot of

beyond the capabilities of all

they discover more benefits, some of

trainers, it is challenging to make the

but the more experienced virtual

them surprising. As an example, to

transition. One of our jobs is to help

reality development companies.

learn how to operate a boom lift (see

them with the logistics and provide

Some day we hope to make our

screenshots on p44 and p45) safely

the support and education needed

platform accessible for companies

for commercial construction, you

for them to discover that their

by providing AI-driven editing

not only need access to a boom lift,

current jobs will be easier and more

software that can capture dynamic

before that, you need access to an

effective in the long run.

interactions and integrate them

instructor. Both of these resources

into training without little or no

have to be allocated and scheduled,

There are platforms for clients

programming. Until then, we are here

which takes time and money. Even

to create their own virtual reality

to help clients implement hands-on

my company, which was tasked with

training. These platforms are

virtual reality solutions in the most

creating the training software for a

typically limited to 360 deg images

effective way possible (see below for

boom lift, had trouble scheduling

and video with informational tags

a grapical breakdown of how From

and accessing equipment on the

and selectable items that can be

The Future works).

construction site of our client. The

used to answer questions or gain

boom lift either had to be rented

more information. This is not what

or pulled off a job for a few hours.

we do.

With virtual reality, the training is as

VRWTM: What about licensing? Justin Mullin: Our clients are

accessible as a headset that can be

We provide highly interactive,

leaders in their respective industries.

put on anywhere at any time.

realtime 3D immersion that

They are willing to invest the time,

makes you feel like you are there

energy, and creativity necessary

and doing the job you are being

to create compelling virtual reality

Accessibility translates into more qualified job candidates in a shorter amount of time. That translates into saving money. VRWTM: What services and support do your construction industry clients typically need from you? Do they need help developing experiences, or do they desire a more end-to-end solution, and why? Mike Christian: Construction industry companies are not set up to do virtual reality training. Our clients are used to doing things a certain way and everyone working at these companies already has a

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June 2021

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AEC / From The Future Reports are another layer. Certain activities may require a more comprehensive accounting of how the student did, whether it is monitoring their driving skills on a boom lift or recording their choices

on a pipeline inspection. Quizzes and tests can also be added to reports. The data can then be sent to an LMS or stored in a data pool for later analysis. We store data in an easy to read format that is also computer friendly. content to maintain that lead.

usage from individuals on a job

VRWTM: What hardware and

We work with them to make

site with no network access to a

software do you work with? Is there

their investment as beneficial

classroom where the instructor can

anything that you’re really impressed

as possible. Depending on the

watch progress in real time. Data

with? And what do you want to see

investment, we set up licensing

is captured at several levels and

improve and how?

agreements for revenue sharing

depending on the need, is accessed

so the virtual reality products can

in different ways.

Mike Christian: We have worked with all the popular virtual reality

actually become another revenue stream. So not only can they benefit

An analytics layer can integrate with

headsets, both tethered and mobile.

from the ROI inherent in virtual

your favourite analytics package to

We have also used both the Unity

reality but they can add revenue on

track what modules and activities

and Unreal game engines to create

top of that investment.

were viewed along with date and

virtual and augmented reality apps.

time information. This is useful for a

Our background in developing

view of overall usage.

software for gaming consoles

VRWTM: It feels like the

taught us the value of hardware

conversation around virtual reality for training and education

Real-time usage can be monitored

abstraction, so our software is

has moved on from efficacy

through DRIVE Command. This is

designed to integrate and support

to one of implementation and

useful for classroom situations where

new, or any display system, quickly.

added benefits, such as ease of

an instructor needs to manage and

integration with LMS (learning

monitor a virtual reality curriculum.

When mobile, inside-out virtual reality hardware became available,

management systems) and data tracking and reporting—how

Each student’s progress can be

we knew virtual reality training

capable is the From The Future

monitored through DRIVE Command

and education would now be

offering in these respects?

with colourful and customisable

available and accessible for the

widgets that show time spent,

masses. Classroom support was

Mike Christian: Our DRIVE

percentage of completion, and activity

now feasible, there was less tech

platform is designed for real-world

measurements such as a grade score.

friction and it was more affordable.

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not only can they benefit from the ROI inherent in virtual reality but they can add revenue on top of that investment

Justin Mullin Vice president, business development at From The Future


AEC / From The Future

The devices are less capable than

the eyes rotate to converge) and

a tethered PC with a monster

accomodation (the focal distance)

graphics card but we knew we could

need to match so users can spend

still deliver compelling, interactive

more time in virtual reality without

content on these headsets because

visual discomfort and fatigue.

of our experience in video gaming where frame rate has always been

VRWTM: Finally, what do you have

an issue we had to address. Real-

coming up this year? And how can

time, 3D content optimisation is

parties interested in working with

one of our specialties and we enjoy

you get in touch?

pushing the limits. Mike Christian: We love talking There are two things we would

about the future. Our DRIVE and

like to see improve as soon

Hololab Training platform is being

combination of applications

as possible—smaller, more

used for a variety of different

for industrial equipment

comfortable headsets and the

projects and initiatives. Two of

manufacturers.

vergence-accommodation conflict

these have two very different end

solved. Learning in virtual reality

results but share the common

For further information and to speak

is compelling. There is plenty of

technological base. The first is a

with a From the Future professional,

evidence for this. Now it needs

skills building set of modules for

contact Justin Mullin via jmullin@

to be comfortable, fashionable,

the learning challenged, such as

ftfvr.com, +1 940 251 0555 x 777

and more natural for the eyes. To

people on the autism spectrum.

(office) or +1 610 563 7491 (mobile),

be more natural, vergence (where

The second is a sales and training

or visit www.ftfvr.com.

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