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Extended Reality in Construction – A New Frontier for the AEC Industry


As technology advances, reality takes on new forms and meanings, setting new fresh perspectives on various things, places, and surroundings. Utilizing “reality” technology, a wide range of enterprises and sectors are enhancing, growing, and promoting their operations.  

The way construction companies consume and engage with information is changing as a result of Extended Reality (XR). Extended Reality facilitates the collaboration of both on-site and off-site personnel by providing a solution that includes both hardware and software.  

Now, crews can see exactly what work to complete – and get immediate and real-time feedback. 

Understanding Extended Reality  

The term “XR” or Extended Reality refers to a variety of technologies that provide users with information beyond what their natural senses alone can provide.  

On one end of the range, augmented reality (AR) uses a heads-up display on a phone or tablet to interact with an image the tablet is taking.  

On the other end of the spectrum is virtual reality (VR). The entire experience in this case is projected from a helmet, requiring no direct physical contact with the surroundings. The technology that combines the two, known as Mixed Reality (MR), is the most helpful for contractors. 

Mixed Reality combines the physical and digital realms to produce wholly new landscapes where both can coexist at once. Users can view the existing space overlaid with holographic data from a 3D model, creating a “mixed” reality that combines both virtual and actual settings. 

Reality technology, in particular, looks very promising for the construction sector, assisting teams with better communication and collaboration both on the job site and in the office, as well as accuracy and confidence throughout planning and construction. At the moment, technologies like mixed reality (MR), augmented reality (AR), and virtual reality (VR) are applied in construction workflows. They are collectively known as extended reality or XR.   

What is Extended Reality in Construction? 

The term “Extended Reality” is used to refer to the full range of simulated reality technology. Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and Mixed Reality function as representations of the transition from the totally digital to the real, physical world (MR).

The ability to envision a project being completed in advance is essential for construction professionals. Fortunately, we have Extended reality (XR) technologies that can produce extensive and detailed blueprints and schematics; this enables owners, architects, and general contractors to visualize a project before any ground is broken.

A three-dimensional architecture could previously only be depicted on a flat surface. But as extended reality (XR) becomes more popular, everything is different and gives building experts a real 3D model to work with.

The advantages, however, extend beyond the instantaneous information exchange.

Let’s take a look into the realm of XR (Extended Reality).

Extended Reality (XR) in Construction 

The term “Extended Reality” is used to refer to the full range of simulation reality technology. Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and Mixed Reality serve as representations of the transition from the totally digital to the real, physical world (MR). 

AEC project teams all around the world are benefiting from extended reality (XR) experiences, which range from design reviews and digital twins to construction rehearsals and high-end pre-visualizations. 

Extended Reality (XR) can give AEC firms a competitive edge in a highly competitive market where innovation and customer experience drive success. Additionally, XR can assist AEC companies in managing extremely complicated data, which is notoriously difficult to cooperate on, particularly in remote work settings.  

Personalized safety training, safety management, progress tracking, labor management, defect management, energy savings, knowing end-users (occupants’) preferences, and many more potential use cases are just a few of the XR technologies’ potential applications in the AEC sector. 

As technology evolves, reality has new shapes and meanings, providing new insights into a variety of things, locations, and surroundings. Multiple companies and industries are expanding, developing, and promoting their operations by using “reality” technology. 

Lean delivery can be implemented, bottlenecks can be removed, and collaboration can be improved by using extended reality (XR) on a building project. 

Mixed Reality (MR) in Construction 

Mixed Reality (MR) in Construction 

MR integrates real-world and digital aspects. Now, by using innovative next-gen sensing and imaging technologies, you interact with and manipulate both physical and virtual items and environments in mixed reality. Without ever removing your headset, you can see and immerse yourself in the world around you while interacting with a virtual environment using your own hands. It allows you to have one foot (or hand) in the real world and the other in an imaginary place, breaking down basic concepts between the two and providing an experience that can change the way you game and work today. 

Mixed reality is boosting construction by providing accurate integration of holographic data on the job site via hard hat-mounted hardware. This enables workers to see their models overlaid in the physical surroundings, allowing for more precise collaboration and project coordination. 

Information may be conveyed to employees on the ground quickly and confidently using Mixed Reality (MR). A BIM constructs overlaying the user’s actual field of view allows them to mark out digital readings on the actual environment, as in one instance where mixed reality can display the interior composition of a wall. As a result, mistakes are efficiently avoided during construction, and easy and effective maintenance is possible once the building is finished. 

Mixed reality enables architects, designers, engineers, project managers, and service providers an unrivaled capacity to create a virtual replica of what they are proposing to build. They are able to explore the structure and see how it will seem after it is completed! It certainly sounds magical! It goes without saying that using a virtual tour like this enables early detection of design flaws and results in significant time and money savings. 

Mixed reality has the potential to change how information is accessed and used in the construction industry. On-site staff can be trained using this technology so they are aware of exactly what to do and can receive immediate feedback.  

The advantages extend far beyond the instantaneous information exchange. The use of mixed reality can speed up project timelines, cut costs, avoid rework, and allow extra workflows like on-site assembly, 4D model-based progress tracking, and even asset management. 

Augmented Reality (AR) in Construction  

Augmented Reality (AR) in Construction  

The AEC sector can benefit greatly from AR. For instance, architects can make their plans come to life in ways that let other people get involved in projects even before they officially start. Digital assets can be superimposed on actual locations to demonstrate how various designs would seem in use, such as when a new inner wall is added, or a different type of flooring is used. 

By revealing potential faults in the early design stages, AR helps reduce risk. It is indisputable that planning a space or building before starting construction has advantages. 

Architects and engineers may find new and exciting methods to improve all processes with the inclusion of AR into project development. 

The use of AR varies according to the stages and departments of a construction project. The most popular and obvious technology to use in a building project, according to several researchers, is augmented reality (AR). Unquestionably, augmented reality will play a significant role in the construction industry’s transition to a completely automated sector in the near future.  

Any user with a smartphone device can utilize augmented reality technology to bring complex data sets to the field and display, share, and study them simply in a user-friendly style, boosting workflows and communication.  

Consider a site meeting, for instance. Using the AR application on their own devices, designers, engineers, contractors, investors, owners, and even non-technical community stakeholders may see what a project will look like via a 3D model. People can raise issues, ask questions, and immediately resolve issues while viewing the model overlay on the actual construction site.  

Depending on the phases and departments of a building project, different AR applications are used. According to various researchers, augmented reality is the most widely used and obvious technology to apply in a building project (AR).  

Read Related >> Top 10 Apps to explore AR/VR in Architecture

Think about a site meeting, for example. Designers, engineers, contractors, investors, owners, and even non-technical community stakeholders may view what a project will look like via a virtual representation using the AR program on their own devices. 3D designs assist the project teams to identify problem areas and identify faults before construction activity starts. Teams can quickly understand where ducting, pipes, columns, windows, and access points are located. This makes it simpler to make changes before, during, and after the project. 

Undoubtedly, augmented reality will be a key factor in the construction industry’s eventual shift to a fully automated sector. 

Virtual Reality (VR) in Construction 

Virtual Reality (VR) in Construction

The need for construction efficiency is growing, which increases the demand for architects and designers to foresee potential issues throughout the planning stages of the construction process. Using virtual reality technology as a planning and rendering tool is also advantageous. Developers frequently utilize it to inspect actual 3D realizations of building designs. 

By integrating BIM technology and immersive VR headsets, architects and designers may have a better sense of a place before it is actually built and can, as a result, better plan their approach to constructing it. 

Additionally, VR technology allows businesses to make a stronger case when bidding on a new project: rather than showing the stakeholders a 2D representation or a model, they can take them on a virtual tour of the prospective location.  

Real-time cost estimation models can be created using VR technology. VR can enhance worker hazard recognition abilities and construction site safety. Instead of conducting safety training on-site, safety professionals can instruct employees using a variety of motion tracking devices as input techniques and provide far superior outcomes. These systems offer a very beneficial learning environment.   

Virtual reality Education enables distant training scenarios for students. Owners can commission, test, and maintain equipment via remote instructions, while contractors can produce fresh shop drawings and field installation instructions. Owners are also able to fully immerse themselves in a building’s proposed design and watch the idea come to life. 

What is the Future of Extended Reality (XR) in Construction? 

Assuming a CAGR of 71.3% from 2018 to 2024, the global mixed reality market is anticipated to reach $14848 million by 2023. A significant portion of this growth story will include adoption by the construction market. Given the many advantages that this incredible technology offers, such statistics are not at all surprising. This technology will quickly replace other tools used in construction projects as adoption of it increases. 

Building Information Modeling (BIM), a key tool for digital construction, is already a hot topic. These advantages o BIM, when combined with the wonders of mixed reality, provide a more realistic perspective of the building’s structure, allowing for the early detection of problems and the development of designs that are more reliable. 

The usage of extended reality technologies has improved the efficiency of the construction industry. Project teams may work more accurately and efficiently, reach better decisions more quickly, cooperate and communicate more successfully, and use digital content to enhance physical realities. 

Despite the fact that XR has a variety of applications in the construction industry, each technology is similar to any other tool in that it has some considerations and functions best in particular circumstances. Knowing the differences between virtual, augmented, and mixed reality will help you decide which technology to employ and when. 

Virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality solutions, whether used in the field or the office, make digital content instantly understandable and usable for every user or stakeholder by bringing data and designs to life. 

Early adopters and adapters of Extended Reality technology like virtual reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), or Mixed Reality (MR)in the AEC sector are poised to disrupt numerous global sectors.  

Autodesk to Boost its XR (Extended Reality) Capabilities  

According to Autodesk, virtual reality can aid in improving worker resilience and distant cooperation, both of which have seen significant increases in the aftermath of the global pandemic. XR solutions offer a method to electronically keep teams together and projects moving despite physical distances and ever-changing travel restrictions.  

Autodesk stated that it is investing in XR for a variety of reasons, including:  

  • Resilience – As a result of the global pandemic, the need for increased workforce resiliency and remote collaboration has grown significantly. With physical distances and ever-changing travel restrictions, XR solutions provide a way to virtually keep teams together and projects moving.  
  • Accessibility and Affordability – Professional-grade VR/AR equipment was previously out of reach for many people. Most smartphones now support AR, and headsets cost a few hundred dollars instead of thousands, putting the power of XR in the hands of anyone, anywhere, at any time.  
  • Sustainability – In-person collaboration frequently necessitates costly travel, which contributes unnecessarily to harmful carbon emissions. Furthermore, when teams are unable to meet to work through design issues together, costly rework and significant material waste are frequently the results. Teams can save time, money, and materials by using cloud collaboration that is streamlined, instantaneous, and immersive.  

Learn More >>  Autodesk to Boost its XR (Extended Reality)

Follow Indovance Inc. for AEC Industry Updates, CAD Tips, and Global Construction News.  

Indovance Inc.  with its exclusive delivery hub in India is a global CAD technology partner serving the needs of the AEC industry since 2003. At INDOVANCE we focus on the unique need of each project or client and believe in addressing the real challenges and guarantee that the process will be well-coordinated, smooth, efficient, and hassle-free.  

We collaborate with our customers around the world to develop bespoke business solutions using our enormous engineering talent pool and state-of-the-art technology. To deliver long-term engineering and business strategies, we align with your culture and processes to create an unbreakable partnership.   

For more queries regarding any of the above-mentioned topics, feel free to connect with us on our website www.indovance.com or contact us on +1-919-238-4044 

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