“What we’ve found is a 90 per cent reduction in QA
inspections and quality inspection time with augmented reality
and being able to identify errors that were not in the paper
schematics,” said Brooke.
While wearable devices such as the Microsoft HoloLens allow
hands-free use of Avatar’s software, it can also be easily used
on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. The
software itself starts at about USD$5,000 and can range as
high as USD$30,000 depending on a client’s requirements.
The company also provides a codeless offering environment
where clients can develop their own mixed reality and AR
Brooke says that’s a small price to pay compared to the net
savings a company can realize by using the system.
“The return on investment is immediate. It’s generally
within the first one or two uses,” she said. “The thing to
know is AR is not a silver bullet. There are very specific times
when it will and will not be useful. Using AR for advertising
is not going to provide a huge return on investment.
However, if you can prevent a wiring error that could not
only save lives, but save money, that’s huge.”
Breaking into market
Despite making inroads into the U.S. construction industry,
Avatar is still looking to crack the Canadian market. Brooke
and her company have begun talking with a number of systems
integrators in Canada about bringing its software north of
the border and is hopeful those discussions will soon bear fruit.
“We know in Canada that efficiency and saving money is
very important, and there tends to be more of an open mindedness
in Canada and Europe about new technology. We are
looking for partners that are based in Canada and specialize
in construction to help facilitate progress,” she said.
Only just begun
Scranton says the sky is the limit for companies that are offering
AR and VR solutions, especially in the construction and
deep foundation industries where productivity levels have
not kept pace with other sectors.
“I don’t think we’re close to the finish line yet. I think there’s
a lot more coming in terms of being able to represent a building
more accurately earlier on so that more can be decided early.
And installation is much easier and training is easier when it
comes to dealing with the physical side of things,” he said.
Toppel wholeheartedly concurs.
“It hasn’t even started. AR and VR are not even close to
being mainstream yet. We haven’t even come close yet to
breaking in. It was only 10 years ago people started using
BIM. Now it’s everywhere. In terms of where we’re at with
AR, we’re really just beginning.” n
This article was originally published in the Quarter 4 2020 issue
of Piling Canada magazine. It is reprinted here with permission.
Project members can perform many functions with IrisVR’s technology, including inspections of design plans