research into the technology, and it supports a broad range of
file formats and headsets.
“We talk a lot internally about being agnostic on the
inputs and agnostic on the outputs,” he said.
The system is also easy to learn.
“We typically see folks getting their ‘VR legs’ and getting
comfortable with the technology literally within a few
minutes. We’ve done a ton of work to basically make it
point and click easy,” Scranton said. “Ultimately, we only
succeed if people are talking about the building rather than
The starting price for IrisVR software is USD$225 a
month for individuals while volume discounts are available
Filling a need
California-headquartered Avatar Partners, a pioneer when it
comes to AR, is starting to gain some traction in construction.
It was founded in 2003 and has been providing solutions to
a lengthy list of industry partners since then, including the
U.S. Navy, Northrop Grumman, Mitsubishi, U.S. Airforce,
BAE Systems and the U.S. Coast Guard. It set its sights on the
commercial construction industry two years ago after realizing
the monumental benefits – such as safety improvement,
expense reduction and elimination of errors – that were
being achieved by government using its software would also
apply to commercial construction.
Avatar Partners, which has offices across the U.S., offers
11 augmented and mixed reality software applications
including six specific to the construction industry: Avatar
Connect, SimplifyXR, Smart Design, BIM2Field, ARFab and
the Augmented Reality Maintenance Aid.
Unlike VR, Avatar’s AR software allows users to overlay
virtual content into the physical world in a way that makes
the content seem physically there, and essentially merges the
digital and physical worlds using a mobile device. For example,
users can draw in objects in 3D using a tablet or remote
PC to provide guidance or instructions to ensure a job is performed
correctly thanks to a unique annotation feature that
is part of the system.
Brian Toppel, subject matter expert for Avatar’s AEC division,
says the company’s BIM2Field product has three primary
uses for construction firms: installation location, installation
instruction and installation verification or QA/QC.
That’s especially important when it comes to certain heavy
construction tasks, such as deep foundation work like installing
caissons or piles. For example, with the Avatar system,
a worker can simply mark on a tablet or mobile device the
location of where a caisson or pile has been installed. The
program then creates an overlay, which can be used to compare
that location with the intended location.
“The key to successful enterprise AR is precision,” said
CEO Marlo Brooke. “Our solutions maintain an accuracy
of one-eighth of an inch on any situation, whether that’s a
doorway frame or a large stadium. This means that the BIM
model is implemented correctly the first time around. We can
also use artificial intelligence to perform auto QA-checks during
every step of the build cycle, ensuring that any deviations
are caught and can be corrected early-on.”
Toppel says because the system is so accurate, it helps to
dramatically reduce errors on construction sites which in
turn eliminates a lot of “rework” and thereby reduces costs.
A former project manager in the construction industry,
he says the Avatar construction apps can also help increase
worker safety on a job site.
Photo: AVATAR Partners
With technology from Avatar
Partners, project members can
inspect projects in real-time