Regional Sales Director
India and SAARC, Trimble Solutions
Construction has witnessed a lot of technological advancements over the years, from being a brick and mortar industry that was heavily dependent on paper, to constructible BIM in order to ensure efficiency and profitability. The scope of BIM has expanded from being a 3D model with shareable and accessible data, to a technology that is inclusive of both software as well as hardware devices, which is important because technology’s impact needs to be felt at the construction site, and thereafter in its maintenance and operations. This evolution and expansion of the construction industry has resulted in the better communication and coordination, processes becoming more efficient, and finally reduction in cost and time to completion.
The next phase of transformation in the industry is set to be brought by holographic technology and mixed reality (MR) which would help companies bring a 3D BIM model to reality and help users engage with the design data in a significantly more advanced manner. With hardware devices like Trimble Hardhat solution for Microsoft HoloLens and software such as Trimble Connect for HoloLens and Trimble SiteVision, the 3D constructible models can be visualised against actual job sites making construction efficient, safer and error free.
Transforming the vision with Mixed Reality
Mixed Reality(MR) offers its users the unique experience of witnessing and interacting with actual job site conditions overlaid with the physical or digital model. This way everyone in the construction lifecycle can decipher the design/model, without being physically present at the same place and time, and allow any changes to be incorporated before the actual construction starts.
A key advantage MR has over Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality is that it works along the Reality- Virtual Continuum, thus making the design-build-operate workflow far more efficient. The stakeholders can choose to work in a real “unmodelled” world or a “partially modelled” world, according to the job requirement. This flexibility accelerates the operational efficiency as the visualisation allows for better collaboration and communication wherein errors and loopholes can be pre-empted, identified, and rectified ahead in time.
Design is at the core of any construction project, and holds the power to give the user a preview into the real structure as accurately as possible. When the data of constructible 3D model is combined with MR, the output is immensely accurate and leaves little scope for errors.
Microsoft HoloLens as a MR software facilitates not just the 3D holographic display of models, but also other data sets such as energy analysis, light simulation, acoustics, setting out data, and equipment metadata. MR allows the stakeholders to map the as-build physical environment which supports communication from the field to office and therefore completes the Build to Design Design to Build loop. This supplements and hastens the decision making process as well as improves communication amongst different stakeholders.
Mixed Reality is a fairly revolutionary technology that would change the way construction industry visualises its designs and constructs them. Its futuristic ability to project geo-located, context-based data anchored to the physical world provides the industry with an unprecedented vision the construction industry is going to embrace, sooner or later.