The AEC industry has always been behind in adopting technological advancements. Hence, these technologies may or may not seem new to you. But they have been around for years and are rising in BIM recently.
If you are already using the following, congratulations. You are ahead of the competition. In 2020, we foresee AEC companies implementing more of such technologies into BIM workflow and practices.
Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) & Mixed Reality (MR)
AR & VR has been around for a while now and rapidly growing in popularity as we speak. MR, on the other hand, is still relatively new as compared to AR & VR. All three are extremely useful in BIM, especially during design review.
AR, VR and MR help you visualise and work on your building before construction. It allows you to step into an immersive environment that’s 1:1 scale to your BIM design. In a VR environment, you get to interrogate the model with the various stakeholders to identify areas of improvements and mitigate errors before the building is built.
How AR works is it combines projected images onto the real world, creating an augmented reality interface through a screen such as a camera or AR glasses. It’s extremely helpful in construction as you no longer need to depend on shop drawings to visualise how installation of critical components will turn out.
Some other benefits of AR, VR & MR include:
- Improved collaboration and coordination
- Reduced time & costs due to reworks
- Increased productivity
- Improvement in safety planning and implementation
We’ve talked about what the future of VR will be like in BIM and you can read about it here: Future of VR in BIM.
BIM Cloud Collaboration
Being on the cloud increases the ease of access because you and your collaborators access project files easily without being in the same location.
The traditional way of emailing back and forth is good but there are spaces for errors when an email thread gets too long, or when you forget to store the latest document version on your device. Cloud collaboration reduces this friction as people are able to access and edit the documents at the same time whether they’re on-site or in the office.
Autodesk has been developing and pushing for the usage of BIM360. Which is Autodesk unified platform for the consolidating of construction management and real time data. With the assortments of plug-ins that are already available, BIM360 is increasingly becoming a more viable and preferred platform for project management in built projects globally.
We foresee AEC professionals accessing BIM data straight from their smartphones, allowing them to communicate and work from anywhere.
Mobile BIM Applications
The world is going mobile. Our smartphones, right now, has more computing power than NASA did when they sent a man to the Moon. Yet, our smartphones are not widely utilised in the construction industry.
As people turn to their smartphones, companies will make coordination, collaboration and project management more mobile. Which reduces the barriers and resources especially to professionals who are frequently on site, reducing the need for physical documents and tools to be carried around.
Drones & Robotics
Drones give a bird’s eye view of on-site construction in areas that our eyes are not able to reach. Such data information is crucial to the AEC industry. Drones enable to capture real-time data on-site, allowing AEC professionals to extract precise data and create more accurate BIM models.
Reality capture or 3D scanning further enhances the use for these machines, allowing for drones to scan an accurate and up to date instance of a site and use the data captured for site planning, construction sequencing and safety.
AI in construction is predicted to reach USD 4.51 Billion by 2026. With AI, can be used to track real-time movements of workers and look out for risks on-site, alerting supervisors to prevent accidents from happening. With deep machine learning, AI can create BIM models that automatically (and simultaneously) check for clashes, eliminating human errors.
We foresee that this will also take parametric designs to the next level, whereby the architects and engineers of the future will only need to set parameters for the computer to churn out thousands of design iterations that all fit within the defined parameters. While also coming out with building designs that in the past were impossible.
VRcollab is a next-generation VDC software solution for the construction industry which provides BIM interrogation, Stakeholder collaboration, Virtual Reality in a concise and effective tool. Export your coordination models directly from Revit, Archicad, Navisworks, Sketchup, other commonly used 3D formats and begin your collaborative meetings in an instant.