How AR is influencing the construction industry

14 May 2018 Kingspan Group
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AR, or Augmented Reality, has seen a massive surge in interest over the past couple of years. According to Deloitte, it is predicted that the number of AR users will reach 1 billion this year, but what does AR mean to the construction industry?
 
AR describes the process of augmenting or changing our view of a real-world environment by adding in elements which are computer-generated. The entertainment industry has been using it for mobile gaming systems (e.g Pokemon Go), the retail industry are utilising it in order to sell products and even the healthcare industry has embraced this new technology in order to better care for patients, both at home and in hospitals. With these advancements, the construction industry could be next in line as AR could potentially deliver safer and more advanced building, faster than ever before.
 
Head of BIM Strategy for Kingspan, Brian Glancy, is a firm believer in AR’s capabilities and thinks AR can make a real difference in the construction industry.
 
 

AR is applicable to anything from training, monitoring and supervision to regulation and safety—the solutions are limitless. Essentially, we are blending the virtual/digital with the physical. Creativity in this space will open possibilities, it’s merely a matter of imagining it, knowing its right for your business and having the knowledge to apply it.
Brian suggests that reliable data is the most important aspect within this industry.
 
AR and other digital technologies will essentially be the backbone of future construction. With multiple stakeholders, more aggressive deliverables and advancements in materials we will rely on data to improve every aspect of our industry.”
 
“The industry’s next step is to create a trustworthy data source - what we call the ‘golden thread’ - that stays with a project for its entirety. This data will be the new foundation of every project.
 

Efficient Construction

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Advancements in AR technology have made the use of software more portable, which we’ve seen in recent years in the development of mobile AR apps. However, this has since expanded into the construction site in the form of wearable headpieces, such as the DAQRI Smart Helmet. Now, BIM data can be uploaded to these headsets and digital models can be presented to the user in real-time, augmented reality. Heating pipes, air ducts, electrical sockets and data points can be seen through constructed walls. 3D models of blueprinted features float around your field of vision, allowing you to gain a more accurate idea of where things should be, saving you time and delivering an overall more efficient build.

Brian believes that companies who get on this trend now will see returns in the near future.
 

AR and other similar technologies advance efficiency and productivity in our sector. They are enabling technologies that can facilitate a broad array of uses; companies that are the first to find a real insight and application for them on site and in the wider industry will see enormous positive returns.
 

Accurate Building Design

Buildings are only useful if they are built with the users in mind. The focus now more than ever is on the end user. This can be seen through the incorporation of human-centric design approaches to construction. In order to meet the demanding needs which is increasingly being placed on our infrastructure, these end users are now being consulted in order to deliver the detailed nuances required in specific structures.

 
With AR software integrated with BIM overlays, these users can advise construction managers and architects on the placement of equipment, doors, data points and power outlets. With this approach there is a more holistic process to the build. Essentially, we can bring all stakeholders to the table at the early design stages to ensure all user needs are met.

 

Better Quality

Enhanced quality of build can also be achieved with AR integration. AR views will allow you to spot any potential building challenges before construction, allowing you to make improvements with ease and creating a stronger overall structure.

 
According to Brian, Kingspan is recognising the potential AR can bring to building projects and explains why they have begun to invest in this new technology.
 
Kingspan’s investment in Invicara demonstrates our belief in the value technology can bring to our industry and its potential to transform it. We are actively reviewing multiple applications for this technology and the ways in which it can benefit the way we work both internally and externally.
 
There is no denying that digital transformation is a force to be reckoned with, and the data that drives this transformation is the true value source. Those who can’t adapt and integrate technology will struggle to compete. For others however, this technology will give companies the speed to survive.
 

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