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Harnessing the Power of Mixed Reality to Delivery Efficiencies in the AEC Industry

Viewpoint

March 29, 2016

The A/E/C industry is facing an inflection point. Technological advances are improving our ability to design, construct and operate infrastructure with increased precision, greater efficiency and improved collaboration. What once seemed only possible in sci-fi movies can now be applied to greatly enhance large infrastructure projects: helping our communities and businesses overcome their water, environment, transportation, energy and facility challenges. At CDM Smith, we are harnessing the power of mixed reality to help our clients design, build and operate their infrastructure assets faster and more efficiently.

 
We're harnessing the power of mixed reality to help our clients design, build and operate their infrastructure assets faster, more efficiently and with increased precision. 

Advances in 3-D modeling and building information modeling (BIM) have been useful tools for our industry, but they are still being presented as a model through a two-dimensional screen. With the recent advent of mixed reality, the limits of the screen are being lifted. Applying these models with mixed reality lets you experience them as 3-D objects at scale. Imagine standing on the future site of your project and visualizing the future facility to scale. Then, imagine walking into the facility, inspecting project elements and conceiving improvements to make the project safer, easier to operate, and more sustainable. This is not an unrealistic future scenario; this is possible today through mixed reality technology.

Applying mixed reality on engineering and construction projects enhances collaboration across the project life cycle by enabling remote team members to experience the project immediately, without travel. It also improves decision-making and resolves questions faster by enabling everyone to experience “what if” scenarios in the context of a physical environment. Design and constructability issues can be resolved in real time.

Visualizing digital content as holograms in the context of the physical world bridges the gap between virtual and real, and eliminates some of the current workflow’s inefficiencies. Mixed reality also presents the opportunity for an infinite environment in which data such as schedule, specifications, and simulations can be overlaid onto the real world, creating a hyper-reality environment.

At CDM Smith, we recognize the power of these tools. And, we are excited to help define the future of infrastructure project delivery with virtual design and construction enabled by mixed reality.

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