VR & AR: how important is it for architects

Before I jump in into this topic, I want to have a personal note about last week’s meeting.

I was very happy to take part into a meeting between Nemetschek companies, Nvidia and MAXON employees. This year was special for me, since it was the first time I had to organise this with my family as well. Before the first day of this event, I had mixed feelings. I was wondering how my one year old daughter will react to my absence? It’s not a big deal in the end, I can see now. We’ve had even a stronger bond between us once I got home at the afternoon.

For a long time, I’m seeing the need for exporting from BIM software to game engines. The main reason is the quick access to create VR content.

But is it real VR what architects need? Or is it more like an automatic (guided) fly-through with hotspots and not an interactive ‘real’ VR environment?
And what about AR? Is this still a niche market?

This week, I’ve heard about possible use-cases:
– Building inspection is done using a mobile device on site to check if the structure was built as it was planned.
– to do design review for designers
– to present the design to clients
– to measure

Although this is still a niche area, I expect a boom in the available software solutions for AR. In my opinion Augmented reality could be applied to the needs in the AEC sector even better than VR could be.
This topic is widely discussed for a long time but now, I think we are closer to a solution where both hardware and software are in a state to provide a useful platform for these needs.

In my next blog post, I will show the testing results of a specific AR app which is still under development.

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