In the construction (AEC) landscape, immersive technology like extended reality hardware and software has the potential to transform all aspects of the workflow. Already, countless companies are investing in VR, AR, and MR solutions as a way of improving design practices and boosting creativity among team members. However, there’s another significant benefit too.
To build incredible projects, AEC leaders need to be able to align teams and specialists from multiple environments in a versatile and flexible environment. XR solutions (Extended Reality) can bridge the gaps between employees, wherever they might be.
CannonDesign discovered the collaborative benefits of XR for themselves when they turned to VIVE, and Nvidia for help building transformative new-age workflows. Here’s what happened when CannonDesign embraced VIVE Technology.
Exploring New Solutions for Collaboration
We’re living in a world where companies in the AEC landscape are constantly searching for new ways to enhance digital collaboration experiences among workers. While standard messaging, video conferencing, and audio tools have their benefits, in the AEC space, there’s often a need for more hands-on collaborative sessions.
CannonDesign, operating offices across 18 global locations, has experienced the issues associated with collaboration in the current world first-hand. Though the designers in the team often travel to connect with colleagues and clients, they have often relied on using elaborate physical mock-ups to demonstrate ideas. The old-fashioned design process used by the company was proving inefficient and expensive, leading the business to explore new opportunities.
Through a partnership with VIVE and NVIDIA, CannonDesign was able to implement a custom, enterprise-grade virtual reality solution, capable of boosting efficiency and addressing common obstacles. Using the combined technology, CannonDesign was able to launch a preliminary design strategy with the University of Houston’s college for Nursing. The main objective was to provide clients with the tools they needed to make informed decisions regarding equipment placement.
A Simulation Lab was implemented to allow clients and designers to share ideas remotely, while interacting with digital visuals in a virtual space.
Achieving Design and Collaboration Goals
In the preliminary project with the Houston College, CannonDesign set a number of goals to achieve with its new VR solution. The company wanted to be able to quickly assess and validate design concepts within a multi-user virtual environment, and host remote meetings to minimize travel costs. At the same time, the solution needed to make it simple to share virtual mock-ups with clients and adjust strategies in real-time based on feedback.
The technology also needed to ensure users could quickly and easily document questions, suggestions, and comments delivered by the client. The NVIDIA Holodeck environment introduced alongside met with each of these requirements. However, the company also needed a high-fidelity virtual reality headset capable of immersing users within the new experience.
After reviewing a variety of enterprise-grade VR brands, CannonDesign chose VIVE as its leading solution for industrial design, manufacturing quality, and image resolution. The VIVE Pro headset provided more advanced visuals and audio compared to other brands, thanks to exceptional resolution, and state-of-the-art 3D spatial audio.
The features offered by VIVE hardware allowed for the development of a compelling simulated experience, capable of meeting CannonDesign’s professional needs, while delighting clients.
Notably, choosing technology based technical specifications was just one of the considerations CannonDesign had to think about. The designers in the team were concerned an uncomfortable experience might detract from the immersion during in-depth sessions. The company had already encountered issues with accessibility and diverse user requirements using other HMDs. Fortunately, Vive Pro appeared as an ergonomic, and simple choice.
Exploring New Opportunities for VR in AEC
Outside of making it easier to connect clients and designers during the initial project development phases, the introduction of VIVE and NVIDIA tools had other benefits. For instance, the NVIDIA Quadro professional GPUs proved to be a perfect-fit for texture-rich presentations and mock-ups.
The company was able to create detailed environment, accurate models, and even accurate lighting for their simulations. The Quadro GPUs also benefit from additional support for large and complex workloads. This meant CannonDesign was able to view original asset models directly in VR, reducing the need to compromise the integrity or quality of designs for VR performance.
Notably, CannonDesign was also aware of the potential threats facing a multi-user XR experience. Because virtual reality is still a relatively new concept, not all users will necessarily feel comfortable using new innovations. Fortunately, the VIVE Pro headset was able to alleviate many of the concerns associated with onboarding and initiating new users.
The ergonomic fit of the headset, adjustable strap, and the evenly distributed weight of the technology made it an ideal choice for longer use. What’s more, the company found the audio-visual features of the VIVE Pro meant it could create a more powerful and engaging experience. When the VIVE Pro headset was integrated with the NVIDIA Holodeck technology, users were able to quickly grasp how to communicate with eachother and explore virtual spaces.
Amazing AEC Results
According to CannonDesign, the combination of VIVE Pro hardware and the NVIDIA software allowed for the creation of a highly successful and immersive experience. The VIVE professional-grade VR hardware allowed users to work and experience spaces in real-time, while ensuring clients could also take part in adjusting designs when necessary.
With the wide selection of features offered by VIVE and NVIDIA, CannonDesign was able to address many of the obstacles they were facing in regard to exceptional client/company collaboration. Previous meetings requiring extensive transport and outsourcing expenses were replaced with powerful VR multi-user sessions. The project times were even reduced by an average of 35%.
By 2020, CannonDesign had already begun scaling the project for use in all offices, attempting to decrease the need for in-person meetings by a massive 15%. According to the Director of Visualization at CannonDesign, NVIDIA and VIVE made the team really feel as though they were living in the future. The company has yet to see another combination capable of delighting designers and clients so effectively.
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