Creativity thrives on passionate feedback. Is the current COVID-19 pandemic a moment to take a step back and think about how Virtual Reality (VR) might be the collaboration platform of the future?
Like 3D modelling & BIM before it, the uptake of VR within the construction industry has been a slow process. As an industry that typically measures progress in years, businesses are cautious about adopting new ways of working based off the fear of not wanting to upset the status quo. VR is already tested technology, common place and proven in other design fields such as automotive & aeronautical design. A renewed focus on remote working in construction should provide a platform from VR to go from niche to necessary.
Forward thinking architectural practices were already starting to see the advantages of using virtual reality models pre-coronavirus. We’re in the business of selling clients a dream and nothing provides better immersion into our designs than stepping into a virtual building. Clients get an instant feel for spaces they are commissioning which can streamline the decision making process on form and finish, ultimately providing all project stakeholders confidence that the end product will meet expectations.
Wider adoption of virtual reality may allow architectural firms to comply with Covid Secure guidelines without stifling the creative interaction that sets our industry apart. The isolation experienced when strapping on a pair of VR goggles previously was seen as a negative, now it might be seen as the safest way to review design. Many multi-user VR platforms are starting to spring up like Iris VR and Onsite. Users in offices / homes from Singapore, London & New York can engage together within the same model, without any danger of ever being closer than 2m.
As Zoom becomes the new norm, with planning committees being held over video conference and permission being granted digitally, why shouldn’t remotely accessing VR models from the comfort of your own home augment this process? As the industry stands, accessing VR content could never be easier. Standalone headsets such as the Oculus Quest reduce the barriers for entry and the lists of positives vs negatives for virtual reality are starting to stack in the ‘Why aren’t we doing this?’ camp.
“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses”
– Henry Ford
VR adoption won’t happen overnight, I’m a strong believer that it is the industry’s responsibility to get out there and show clients and end-users the power of an immersive model.
For further information, please register to attend my free seminar at the Festival of BIM & Digital construction.