Author Topic: VR in the workplace  (Read 2074 times)

D.W.

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VR in the workplace
« on: August 05, 2016, 10:27:20 AM »
Do any of you happen to have experience in using virtual reality in a work environment?  Something outside of the video game field at least.  If so, what field and what has your experience been with it so far?

Do you know how it was pitched to your company's management team?

I work in the architectural field and am trying to generate some interest in our firm for employing virtual reality in both our design team and our marketing team and thought I would fish for some feedback here in case anyone else was dabbling or had successfully integrated VR into their place of work.

TheDeamon

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Re: VR in the workplace
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2016, 05:04:52 PM »
I know the U.S. Navy was experimenting with it for the San Antonio(LPD-17) class of ships well over 10 years ago. Sadly for them, they were already well into the construction of the first two ships when they discovered a design flaw in the superstructure c/o the VR walkthrough once it was available. It was too late to prevent the problem on the first two ships, but it saved the third ship from the experience, as they caught it before construction was finalized on the first ships.

D.W.

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Re: VR in the workplace
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2016, 06:26:49 PM »
That's part of what I'm hoping to gain from it.  Less buyer's remorse when they walk into the building for the first time.  None of that, "Oh... I didn't think the ceiling would feel THIS low."  Or well on paper I thought we would have enough room for all the equipment but it's really claustrophobic in here.

3D renderings help somewhat but there are a lot of people (read end users of spaces) who just don't have the knack of looking at blueprints and creating the space in their head from it.

And that's not even getting into more interesting applications you could do like a VR wheelchair test for clearances and the like. 

I'm one of the drafting grunts so pitching new technology to management, some of which has little to do with even our current generation of technology, isn't in my wheelhouse.  Still doing research and can likely crib some of my pitch from others already out there doing it at a premium.


TheDrake

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Re: VR in the workplace
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2016, 09:00:18 AM »
That's part of what I'm hoping to gain from it.  Less buyer's remorse when they walk into the building for the first time.  None of that, "Oh... I didn't think the ceiling would feel THIS low."  Or well on paper I thought we would have enough room for all the equipment but it's really claustrophobic in here.

I'm not sure VR can give you that sense of space any more than a 3d rendering, though I haven't tried any recent tech. It seems like due diligence would be possible without VR. Can your architects walk your clients through an existing space? It's pretty easy to go find a 7,8,9 foot ceiling.

In general, from the couple of anecdotes listed, either the clients or the architects are trying to put ten pounds of potatoes into a five pound sack. Not unusual. Howard Roark would have told them to go pound sand. Possibly with the assistance of 3d hand gestures.

If you want architects to adopt the technology, you won't sell it as a client side feature. You'll have to show how it makes their job better for them to personally use it to evaluate light, space, etc. Particularly, audio could make it more immersive.

It does appear that people are trying to sell the tech:

http://archvirtual.com/2015/11/10/architectural-visualization-virtual-reality/


D.W.

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Re: VR in the workplace
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2016, 09:36:12 AM »
Having tried it first hand, I at least am very excited.  To me it's night and day different from a movie file on a fly through of your model or rendered stills. 

Now, that said, how much value is there in that?  How many genuine "Ah ha!" moments will you have where I client sees something that changes the design requests?  I don't know.

We are still in the sweet spot of the new VR boom.  The novelty factor is, well significant.  When one firm fires up a power point presentation and another hands a group of people VR viewers to walk/look around their proposed building?  Well it's going to be a memorable experience regardless of who had the better design. 

How much additional work is that compared to the other guy?  I don't know yet.  My impression thus far is not a ton more.

As for using it internally, it will be a huge help for review IF we model things out to a high level of completeness.  Right now we are still straddling the line of drafting in 3D and drafting in 2D.  Our end "product" is a set of documents (blueprints) of floor plans, elevations, sections and details.  In many cases it's more efficient to just draw them in 2D rather than model your whole building in 3D and extract a 2D view from it.  That is changing... slowly.

In order to leverage the 3D end of things particularly VR, you need to be more aggressive in a complete model.  That means we are modeling more than we need for our drawing package that goes to the contractor for construction.  The industry line will talk up Building System Management and Building Information Management, but the reality of it, at least for us, has been light on those aspects of working in 3D. 

Our design team, which hands off rough concepts to our construction document team however, works almost exclusively in 3D today.  They create the marketing and graphics used to communicate with the client to settle on a final design.  This is where I see the most benefit.  Both with the client and for use internally.  To your point however, internally most of us have a decent grasp of spaces and by looking at a plan and sections separately we rarely are surprised of the reality when experienced in person.  So that may depreciate the value to us. 

I haven't yet experienced that thunderbolt of, "Holy smokes!  That is amazing and I couldn't do this without VR before!"  But we'll see.  A lot of people are excited about it and talking it up without clearly identifying what that may be.  To those who can't look at flat drawings and see the 3D object/space/building in their mind?  It will be huge.

TheDrake

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Re: VR in the workplace
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2016, 12:55:55 PM »
Interesting detail, thanks for the response. It will certainly be intruiging to see what will happen with the technology. I've seen the progression in other professions - like the imaging I had done recently to create a crown for a broken tooth. I'm sure lots of dentists get by fine using molds and labs, but the 3d imaging and milling on site were very impressive to me and improved my experience.

VR, unfortunately, suffers from a glut of failed promises and half solutions that have made a lot of skeptics. Ease of content generation is equally important, and I'm not sure where that is yet.