The whole purpose of technology should be to enhance the human experience. The purpose of most construction projects is to build something for human beings. So, pairing technology with construction just makes sense. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are two innovations that are finding a place on construction projects.
Technology adoption is accelerating. The better educated you are about what’s happening, the better you will be able to leverage it in the future. You may find your time well spent to subscribe to a few blogs and podcasts so you can focus on tech that interests you. The insights you gain can help you envision the future of your industry, your job, your company, and what those things might look like in 25 years.
Hololens mixed reality smartglasses and Magic Leap lightweight, wearable computers are two examples of where the technology is going. They are applicable in construction and multiple other industries. In construction, onsite LiDAR scans can capture the as-built of a project and compare it to the model, determining whether it’s built the way it was designed.
Wearable augmented reality technology for construction will eventually become part of the daily workflow, perhaps in as little as three to five years. Innovations like overlays with data, text or spatial directions are already possible. Consumer use will dictate how the use of augmented reality transfers to the industry – much the same as cell phones and iPADs did: this is what I want to use, and this is how it impacts me. Moving AR/VR technology forward involves human wants and human interactions.
Machine learning can churn through the data collected on a job. AI can help build simulations based on that data, for example, the ways a person might move through a space. The important focus is on human factors. Regardless of how beautiful a building is, it has missed the mark if it doesn’t serve the needs of the humans that will use it.
Rather than having AR technology be a solution looking for a problem, people can be actively looking around on the jobsite for problems that AR technology can solve.
Adopting technology, using innovations and giving feedback to developers helps them improve the tool you’re using and refine it going forward. And sometimes we shouldn’t wait until someone designs a product for us. If you have an opinion about tools that are needed, express that opinion. There are entrepreneurs out there who want to solve the problem you have.
Data is all around us. Using wearable tech in the future will give you access to thousands of experience overlays. The lines between IRL (in real life), AR and VR will become blurred. Someday there may be a digital twin of the entire planet.
For now, experts advise to “feed the data monster.” Since you may not know what data points are important for you going forward, you should consider gathering and maintaining as much as you can afford. The trick is making sure you have a plan on the front side for how you are going to leverage the incoming data, even if it changes.
In episode 90 of Bridging the Gap podcast, Amy Peck talks about data, AR/VR and the human experience.