The Real-time 3D
The hype around the Metaverse and its potential to become a global platform for e-commerce are well-deserved, as it has many exciting features that are likely to make it a great competitor to the likes of Amazon and Alibaba over time. But the expansion might not be worth it if we only think about e-commerce and games since the Metaverse is about solving problems in the real world.
Surprisingly, the Metaverse dramatically affects how we collaborate and work together in the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industries.
Do you know?
It has been estimated that there could be up to $5 trillion worth of building projects worldwide by 2050—and this means that architects will have to take advantage of VR technology to meet this demand.
In this article, we'll detail some of the AEC use-cases that are already happening in the Metaverse and how they can help solve problems in the real world.
Metaverse: A briefing
The Metaverse is a virtual universe that can be experienced in the same way as the real world. It is a 3D version of the internet that represents a virtual universe where- an online space of 2D web content is converted into 3D immersive settings that can be accessed by multiple users at once and interacted with using state-of-the-art "connected devices."
Gartner predicts that by 2026, 25 percent of digital users will spend at least one hour per day in the Metaverse, whether for work, shopping, education, social media browsing, or entertainment.
And that makes Metaverse a reality and not a buzzword.
ICP Framework for Metaverse
The Internet Computer (IC) is designed to run a decentralized metaverse environment. This is because a truly decentralized system, like the Internet Computer blockchain, is different from others because none of its cloud nodes is centralized. An increasing number of nodes are being added to maintain an emphasis on decentralization.
By using intelligent canister contracts on-chain that runs infinitely at web speed, the IC is expected to provide more power to the Metaverse than any other blockchain project.
Why should AEC consider Metaverse?
In the global economy, the AEC industry has a much lower profit margin than other industrial sectors, so it must use every technological innovation to increase productivity. So how to accomplish it with Metaverse?
Metaverse is considered an asset to the AEC team. Leveraging it in the Construction sector- where engineers, designers, and architects will find the Metaverse's enhanced collaboration features is referred to as a superpower of the field. VR and AR technology allows architects to create a virtual workplace with tools for project management, models, drawings, and data visualization tools. This VR collaboration is much more cost-effective and valuable than a Zoom call. Soon, the fully realized potential of the Metaverse will allow you to construct a bridge or a full-scale working model of a factory floor on your desk.
Given that the construction sector has a more prolonged economic cycle than most others, AEC industry leaders must make the most of this opportunity to catch up. To start immediately, the industry can focus on virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR), not on the Metaverse's endless possibilities.
Metaverse's game-changing potential for AEC
Using the Metaverse, the AEC industry can combine all its most vital tools, including 3D models, collaboration, data visualization, project management, and web apps, in a single physical location. Examples include instantaneous 3D massing, asset manipulation, building layer interaction, and BIM data on a virtual clipboard.
Your typical work tools are just a few clicks away from the Metaverse. Direct integrations with collaboration platforms such as The Wild and IrisVR allow you to bring your work from Navisworks into accessible shared spaces. Depending on your needs, you may want to use The Wild for immersive prototyping and design reviews or Prospect for 3D issue tracking and BIM coordination.
Thus, by putting our team and clients in a virtual reality environment, we can reduce the time spent on design reviews and client travel, speed up the approval process, and get to building faster.
In addition, the integrations of these platforms, such as Autodesk Construction Cloud, ensure that your work is always up-to-date, regardless of whether you're working on a desktop or virtual reality. Modifications will always be synchronized with immersive experiences using the most recent Autodesk updates.
Navisworks is used in construction to complement 3D design packages like Autodesk Revit, AutoCAD, and MicroStation. It allows users to open and combine 3D models, navigate them in real-time (without WASD), and review the model using tools like comments, redlining, viewpoint, and measurements.
Now let's examine in detail how AEC use-cases will aid in the resolution of real-world issues.
1. Augmented Reality (AR) in Construction
Consider a site meeting- where designers, engineers, contractors, investors, owners, and even non-technical community stakeholders can see a 3D model of a project using AR. While viewing the model overlay on the actual construction site, people can raise issues, ask questions, and immediately resolve issues.
Augmented reality is the most popular and prominent building technology, say researchers (AR). Different AR applications are used for building phases and departments. Architects can use their plans to involve others in projects before they begin.
- Digital assets can be superimposed on real locations to show how various designs would look, such as with a new inner wall or flooring.
- AR reduces risk by revealing design flaws early. Planned construction has undeniable benefits.
- AR can help architects and engineers improve all project processes.
- AR use varies by project stage and department. Several researchers say augmented reality is the best building technology (AR). Eventually, augmented reality will help the construction industry become fully automated.
- Any smartphone user can use augmented reality to display, share, and study complex data sets in the field, boosting workflows and communication.
ShoP Architects streamlined real-time 3D creation and reduced model optimization time from days to minutes using AR.
2. Extended Reality (XR) in Construction
"Extended Reality" is shorthand for various virtual reality tools. All three forms of "reality" technology—Virtual Reality (VR), "Augmented Reality" (AR), and "Mixed Reality"(MR).
Design reviews, digital twins, construction rehearsals, and high-end pre-visualizations are just some of the XR experiences that are helping AEC project teams around the world.
- Extended Reality (XR) can help AEC firms compete in a market driven by innovation and customer experience. XR can help AEC companies manage complex data, which is hard to collaborate remotely.
- Personalized safety training, progress tracking, labor management, defect management, energy savings, end-user (occupant) preferences, and many more use cases are potential XR applications in AEC.
- Using XR on a construction project opens the door to lean delivery, eliminates bottlenecks, and makes it easier for people to work together.
3. Mixed Reality (MR) in Construction
MR blends the real and digital worlds. Using next-gen sensing and imaging, you can interact with physical and virtual items and environments in mixed reality. You can see and feel like you're in the real world while interacting with a virtual one. It combines the real and fantasy worlds. It breaks down basic ideas between the two and changes how you work and play.
- Mixed reality boosts construction by integrating holographic data via hard hat hardware. This allows workers to see their models in the physical environment, improving collaboration and project coordination.
- MR can quickly and confidently convey information to field employees. The user's actual field of view is covered by a BIM structure that lets them mark digital readings in the virtual environment, such as the composition of the inside of a wall. Thus, mistakes are avoided during construction, and the building is easy to maintain.
- MR allows architects, designers, engineers, project managers, and service providers to create a virtual replica of what they're building. They can see how the structure will look when finished. Using a virtual tour to detect design flaws early saves time and money. Magical, isn't it?
- Mixed reality could change how construction information is accessed and used. Using this technology, on-site staff can be trained and receive immediate feedback.
- It can speed up project timelines, cut costs, avoid rework, and allow different workflows like on-site assembly and asset management.
Fact to know
The global MR market is predicted to reach $14,848 million by 2023, assuming a 71.3 percent CAGR from 2018 to 2024.
4. Virtual Reality (VR) in Construction
Growing demand for construction efficiency means architects and designers must anticipate potential issues during planning. Virtual reality is helpful for planning and rendering. Developers use it to view 3D building designs.
Mortenson helped medical professionals simulate virtual Reality (VR) hospital designs to improve patient care, staff productivity, and costs is a best example of VR in construction.
- By using BIM and VR headsets, architects and designers can better understand a place before it's built and plan how to build it.
- VR allows businesses to make a stronger case when bidding on a new project, instead of showing stakeholders a 2D representation or model, they can give them a virtual tour of the prospective location.
- VR creates real-time cost estimation models. VR improves construction site safety and hazards recognition. Instead of training employees on-site, safety professionals can use motion-tracking devices for better results.
- Virtual reality allows students to train remotely.
- Owners can see a building's proposed design come to life. Owners can commission, test, and maintain equipment remotely, while contractors can create shop drawings and installation instructions.
These use cases are building blocks for more opportunities in the AEC sector. Every technology mentioned here helps construction teams work more accurately and efficiently, make better decisions, cooperate and communicate better, collaborate more with clients, bring in better BIM and visualization, and achieve good marketing.
Consequently, as early adopters and adapters of these technologies, the AEC industry is can disrupt many other global sectors, which means that those who put money into this business are guaranteed to win.
As the Metaverse expands, new applications are being discovered all the time; for example, recent studies have shown that VR can help boost worker resiliency and remote cooperation, two areas that have witnessed a rise in the wake of the global pandemic. Furthermore, XR solutions provide a digital approach to maintaining team cohesion and project momentum in the face of geographical separation and unpredictable travel constraints.
However, all these technologies have their own demerits too, nevertheless, engineers are always working to find solutions to overcome the challenges.
To maintain up with changing client expectations and a changing pool of talent, AEC and VDC (Virtual Design and Construction) teams will have to work in the Metaverse. This will help them beat the fierce competition already using the Metaverse's ability to help them share ideas more quickly and efficiently.
AEC Overcomes Obstacles Through Autodesk and Epic Games' Collaboration
Despite widespread labor shortages, professionals in the AEC industry are under intense pressure to complete projects more quickly and cheaply than ever before. The solution lies in more accessible, interconnected workflows that use third-party integrations that are naturally compatible with one another.
The good news is that there has finally been a solution to these challenges.
This collaboration is believed to lower the barrier to entry for immersive environments and collaborative workflows in the construction industry, allowing architects, engineers, and builders to speed up the delivery of high-quality, cutting-edge projects by accelerating immersive 3D experiences in real-time.
Since 2008, when Autodesk joined Epic Games' Integrated Partners Program, the two companies have worked together to integrate Autodesk 3D design software with Epic's Unreal Engine, creating more groundbreaking projects in less time.
Already, AutoDesk's contribution to this industry is incredible. You guessed it right; it's with Maya.
AutoDesk Maya has been helpful to the AEC industry as it allows for the creation of appealing visuals and mockups. I must say that it wowed the investors! Maya's cutting-edge 3D graphics allow for the creation of both 3D models and 3D visualizations of building sites. Maya maximizes productivity and streamlines the design process by providing clients with a realistic preview of the final product before the commencement of work.
Similarly, Epic Games' Unreal Engine is used to make graphics for cross-platform immersive experiences or architectural visualizations. Strategic acquisitions and a focus on real-time, ever-improving output have put it in direct competition with specialized 3D rendering engines.
Numerous AEC firms have benefited from Unreal Engine's work, including City Modelling for the City of Gothenburg, mass VR analysis of shoppers' movements and eyelines for CallisonRTKL, lighting analysis for KPF, and a great deal more.
As you know, Autodesk and Epic Games are active participants in the Metaverse Standards Forum. Both groups are committed to promoting open standards that improve portability and integration, give users immersive and collaborative technology, and make the most of what they offer. Soon, the companies want to expand their focus on real-time content creation to other industries.
Metaverse access will be available to everyone in the coming days! Take advantage of the opportunities it presents for your business