Virtual Reality

How Resolve enables real-time remote collaboration with virtual reality | Geographic Week News

The company can render large BIM files and can now overlay these models in the real world with AR capabilities.

For a long time Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and Extended Reality (XR) have been promised as the tools of the future for a variety of industrial and social use cases, but this idea has mostly been more theoretical than tangible. However, while there is still skepticism about some of the social use cases for this technology, the past two years have accelerated the development and accessibility of these tools in enterprise environments. There are many industries that have, can and will benefit from AR/VR/XR toolkits, but construction and facilities management is becoming one of the most logical and fruitful.

At this point, the industry has 3D visualization tools generally recognized as important and valuable assets to use throughout a project’s lifecycle, and AR/VR/XR only adds to the value that things like BIM and digital twins already provide. Whether using onsite augmented reality to compare designs against construction progress, or overlaying a design and checking for potential conflicts before construction begins, or using the virtual reality to enable seamless collaboration while working remotely, companies in the construction industry are showing a willingness to at least try these tools.

One of the companies specializing in AR and VR tools specifically for this industry is Solve, whose emphasis is on the collaborative aspect of design projects. The New York-based company is still in its infancy, having only been founded in 2021, but it has already made significant inroads with key integrations to ensure its goals are met. In their wordsthey provide “VR meeting software that connects operational teams with design teams to help create safer work environments in the most complex facilities”.

With their Wellington engine, the company’s 3D engine, Resolve is able to “comfortably render models with hundreds of millions of polygons”, a feat they say is the first to be achieved in a commercially available tool. In other words, they can handle huge amounts of data from a variety of file formats – including but not limited to models from Revit, Navisworks and Smartplant – supported by BIM 360 Documents through software integration with Autodesk Build Cloud. All of this visualization can be done remotely using Meta Pro Quest, released earlier this year. Stakeholders from operations teams and facilities can use these headsets to participate in virtual reality design meetings, as opposed to traditional screen sharing methods, providing a more realistic environment with which they can use their experience and their expertise to more easily detect potential operating problems. Resolve claims that its tool has increased the number of operational issues detected by 10 times.

This type of collaborative tool is part of a larger trend within the construction industry, which is both striving to overcome its reputation for being relatively lagging behind in technology adoption and reduce budget openings and project delays, often triggered by unexpected clashes and other issues during construction. As we have already discussed, collaboration between different stakeholders can be the key to unlocking this greater efficiency, which has become more and more of a challenge in recent years with more and more work being done remotely. With Resolve’s VR software, this key collaboration can still happen with accurate 3D representations of job sites, even without stakeholders meeting in person.

One of the biggest additions to the Resolve toolkit came with the October release of Quest Pro, enabling AR capabilities in the software. The new feature of Quest Pro headsets pass-through color cameras, which use sensors on the helmet to get closer to what the user would see if they could look directly through the helmet. With this passthrough feature, Resolve is able to take models imported through the Autodesk Construction Cloud integration and overlay them onto a live environment, providing an even finer visualization of how an add-on could potentially conflict. with the environment already built. In this view, users can also make annotations on parts of the design to note potential changes or conflicts.

The coming years promise rapid development in the AR/VR/XR spaces for a variety of use cases, with 3D visualization becoming more popular and more accessible as technology improves. We are still in the early stages of these tools, however, and leading companies can already take advantage of these capabilities. As remote working becomes more common and collaboration becomes more important on these projects, tools like the software provided by Resolve should prove invaluable for forward-looking organizations aiming to streamline their efficiency and improve their design process on the fly.

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