Mixed reality, construction industry's new force multiplier in India

New holographic tech can improve safety within construction sites by planning and training.

We are in the era of immersive digital technologies that are capable of changing the way we live and play today but quite interestingly, its businesses who are applying this new ‘reality’ in improving their processes and business efficiencies.

An industry that has been first off the blocks in embracing reality technologies is the construction industry, which is quite surprising since this industry has generally been a laggard in adopting technology, especially as early adopters. In this nascent yet fast growing world of reality tech, the change is quite apparent including in India. As estimates suggest, India’s construction market will be the third largest in the world, with a size of $1 trillion by 2025 and the merits of technology cannot be more emphasized.

With the Government’s ambitious infrastructure development policy programs like ‘Housing for All by 2022’ and the ‘Smart Cities Mission’, not surprisingly, the Indian construction industry is embracing technology as a force multipler to accelerate optimal growth.

The construction industry has been using hardware tools that enable designers to preview and analyse images and ideas, thus allowing them to employ the best action-to-physical assembly of a model. New technologies have allowed it now to project these ideas in a three-dimensional space, these advances are profoundly revolutionizing the construction sector, helping professionals from all over the world have better and more precise insights on the technical specificities of the projects.

Today, the interpretation of digital content and its translation to real-world objects heavily depend on the user’s spatial understanding. This is an error-prone process and demands a highly skilled workforce. Interpretation errors are common during the design and construction stages, and often result in poor quality, cost overruns, and schedule delays. Mixed Reality (MR) presents an opportunity for an infinite environment where additional sets of data such as schedule, specs and simulation can be overlaid for a hyper-reality environment.

Reality technologies like Trimble’s HoloLens for example, allows 3D models as holograms to be placed in the real world, which facilitates faster analysis of various “What If” design scenarios in the context of the physical environment.

How it works is that powerful cloud-based collaboration platforms complemented by holographic technology help create a mixed reality environment, where holograms can be pinned to physical objects that enable engagement with data using GGV (gesture, gaze and voice) commands.

New holgraphic technologies can also potentially improve safety within a construction environment significantly by integrating well designed and elaborate safety plan and providing training on heavy equipment on real sites with augmented hazards.

“Reality technologies like MR will have a significant impact on the AEC industry over the next few years. From 2D to 3D to augmented reality—blurring the line between the virtual and the real-world—mixed reality technology is addressing some of the industry’s major inefficiencies in the design, construction and operation stages” says Rajan Aiyer, Managing Director, Trimble, India and Saarc region.

Integrated with quality construction layout software and using 3D BIM models as the key source of data, mixed reality improves communication, tightens workflow integration, and enables real time collaboration with remote teams.

In India, where the demand for infrastructure is constantly soaring, MR tools can prove to be invaluable in structures that are smarter, safer and sustainable.

—By Rajan Aiyer, Managing Director, Trimble, Saarc.

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