10 of the World's Most Expensive Megaprojects
From the Top Down: Ending Sexual Harassment in the Construction Industry
Spending Up for the Month, Down for the Year
Friday Funny: "Raising the Roof"
Tracking Technology Helps Construction Companies Save Money, Improve Safety
What The ‘Tech’ Just Happened to Meetings?
Weekly Grind: The Future of Construction Technology Across the Country
Friday Funny: It's Just Ergonomics
By Duane Craig
July 3, 2016
Augmented reality and virtual reality have combined revenue projections of $61 billion by 2021 and are on their way to widespread use. For construction companies, and others in the AEC industry, the allure of immersive training, quickly communicating design intention, and vastly improving task quality are already proving too much to resist. But hidden inside those headsets and behind those glasses, there are real concerns that need to be addressed.
Augmented reality and virtual reality are similar technologies, but are quite different from one another.
Virtual reality so far is largely a consumer tool that people use to consume content. Augmented reality, on the other hand, adds context to the world as people experience it. That makes augmented reality an especially compelling tool for businesses of all types. Some analysts say that both augmented reality and virtual reality are better suited for businesses than consumer applications––although both are currently more prevalent in the consumer market.
But in the future, both technologies are poised to affect construction and other industries by improving training, communication and collaboration, customer service, and entirely new employee and customer experiences, according to Deloitte Technology Consulting.
Augmented reality promises to make training easier because you don’t need physical items to be present to practice. An electrician wearing augmented reality goggles could wire a virtual electrical panel box that’s projected within the goggle viewing space.
Or imagine a pair of gloves equipped with sensors that alert the user with vibration when they are about to move their hands into dangerous zones. While these may sound like sci fi creations, they are not in the distant future.
This year, Daqri is releasing its Smart Helmet, a hard hat fitted with augmented reality features that allows wearers to superimpose information, drawings, and other data over the real world they see through the device’s display system. Integrated cameras, projection, location sensors, and audio features create many use cases for construction.
When using technology like this, companies can send work packages to workers who then see 4D work instructions superimposed over the work area they are viewing. Wearers can also see thermal characteristics and passively record temperatures right where they are.
Another potential use case is data visualization, where the wearer gains access to technical data when, and where they need it––without having to use their hands to interact with a mobile device.
But beyond all the hype of good things to come, there are also risks on the horizon for companies that adopt augmented and virtual reality.
Eric Sabelman, a bio engineer, and Roger Lam, an emerging health information technology expert, say the safety of these technologies hinges on how they’re designed, the testing they go through before reaching the end user, and the training the end user receives. They cite research where augmented reality causes people to misjudge speeds, underestimate the time available to react, and unintentionally ignore real world hazards.
Stableman and Lam also point out that the differences in the eyesight of individuals pose issues. In experiments, they’ve found that between 5% and 10% of people had so much difficulty changing their focus from the long range real world to the augmented display that they had to quit due to eyestrain. These types of wearables also obscure your vision to some degree, and notifications that get displayed to the side of the glasses or helmet can pose distraction problems.
Both virtual and augmented reality have significant security and privacy concerns, according to Deloitte. Organizations must “track, manage, and harden them to control access to underlying data, applications, and the entitlement rights to the devices.” They must be hardened against various scenarios such as in-use and at rest. Virtual and augmented gear expose both new and different intellectual property to compromise, and potentially increase risks to competitive advantage while creating challenging issues for compliance and regulatory requirements. On the privacy front, there’s a concern personal information collected by the device when mixed with other data will compromise personal information.
As with any new technology, long before selecting and deploying any type of virtual or augmented reality devices, identify your own particular use cases, and assess the potential risks. Design use cases around single purposes where you can measure impact and reward. Since this market and its related technological development is expected to be volatile for some time to come, you can mitigate risk by planning your initiatives accordingly.
But, as you address the risks and begin exploring these reality-shaking technologies, try not to adapt such a defensive posture that you miss the opportunities behind them. These technologies invite imagination and forward thinking, and unlike earlier technological advancements, they aren’t as constrained by previous tech. In other words, you don’t have to wait––the window to virtual and augmented reality is already wide open.
Print It and They Will Come
That master strategist Sun Tzu knew a thing or two about out-thinking the competition. Turns out his focus on strategy over strength can be applied to gaining an edge in the construction industry. ... Read More
If you're a construction worker, you're most likely working physical labor and it can get hot if you're working under the sun. Here's a guide for h... Read More
As an architectural statement, the campus is a monument both to Apple’s corporate success and centrality to the global tech culture. At 176 acres, ... Read More
August 8, 2016
"Some of the cool things that we're doing on job sites today are with Rovers and the alive platform. Alive is that software platform that glues to... Read More
The National Association of Women in Construction has a new executive vice president. This change marks a “brand new day and brand new way” for the... Read More
Every construction business owner can learn a lot from competitors. But merely copying them won't do. You will just always stay one step behind. So... Read More
We've selected eight women from all walks of life to ask them one common question: what advice would you give women who want to enter the construct... Read More