Advances in augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are improving accuracy, efficiency and safety at job sites. Where VR creates a fully immersive experience, AR takes the existing world and enhances it. Using both of these technologies, which are all part of the more extensive building information modeling (BIM) movement, construction companies can save time, reduce errors, and ultimately save money.
Some of the new technologies being introduced include the London-based XYZ Reality that uses helmet-mounted cameras to feed information directly into their BIM software, creating real-time 3D models that identify errors and track a project’s progress against the plans. Another is Bentley Systems 4D modeling solution, SYNCHRO XR, which uses the Microsoft HoloLens for contractors and engineers to walk through an augmented-reality version of the job site and interact with it.
The British company Balfour Beatty uses smart glasses from Vuzix Blade so that clients can don the glasses and remotely move around the virtual, “completed” project.
However, Venkata Naveen, a senior disruptive tech analyst at Global Data, says that AR and VR are still far from their full potential. “Despite their immense potential, AR and VR technologies are still falling short of widespread use in the construction industry. Key concerns such as wearing bulky AR headsets for long hours, susceptibility to harsh job site environments and the non-availability of low latency Internet connectivity hinder the mass adoption of the technologies. As AR and VR continue to mature, they can be coupled with 5G and artificial intelligence to become an invaluable asset to the construction industry.”