Augmented Reality Comes to Construction Industry

Last week, an article on Construction Equipment Guide details how a provider of XR platforms for Augmented, Virtual, and Mixed Reality mobile experiences, Grid Raster Inc., is benefitting the construction industry. The company was founded in 2015 by a small team based in Palo Alto, California.

One of their open architecture, cloud-based XR platforms leverages the following advantageous technologies: low-latency remote rendering, 3D Artificial Intelligence-based Spatial Mapping, and distributed computing. These features allow for high precision, high quality, and high performance in scalable immersive experiences. Seamless integration with any device or application makes it a cross-platform solution that reduces costs, increases revenue, and improves productivity.

During a combined 60 years of experience, co-founders Rishi Ranjan, Dijam Panigrahi and Venkat R. Dass have worked in building, deploying, and marketing leading technologies, including ones at AREA member Qualcomm. As a result of this work in supporting AR/VR applications, they were aware of how to enable high quality AR/VR experiences on any device. Their platforms have been supporting companies in construction, automotive, and aerospace since 2018.

What Can AR and MR Do?

  • Assist computer-aided design capabilities
  • Help engineers to compare correctness of a design faster
  • Power real-time remote augmentation, allowing complex models to run on mobile devices
  • Enable realistic product visualisation and remote collaboration
  • Create a virtual environment for remote training, repair, and maintenance
  • Assist product design by providing data on how, where, and when customers use the product

Panigrahi has said that AR/VR has become even more vital for business continuity, productivity, and efficiency due to the pandemic. The technology allows for remote collaboration, remote training, visualisation of construction vehicles, remote maintenance and repair, and remote customer support.

Benefits of Grid Raster’s Platform in Construction:

  • High performance: supports large, high-fidelity AR/VR/MR environments without 3D asset optimisation, which saves money and time.
  • Highly scalable: scales seamlessly based on usage, location, and asset.
  • Highly secure: provides multi-level security involving access, authorisation, and encryption.
  • Device agnostic: provides support across devices and offers multi/cross-platform support.
  • API-based integration: easily integrates with CAD/CAM and 3D assets, allowing reuse of the latter.

Further benefits mentioned in the article include:

  • Increased productivity
  • Saving time and money
  • Better sharing and collaboration
  • Almost one-third of companies reported a 25% increase in productivity, with 61% seeing 20% cost savings (according to Grid Raster)
  • 40% increase in productivity in manufacturing process, repair and maintenance
  • Increased safety
  • Increased accuracy, effectiveness, and efficiency

Many entry-level technicians can perform at expert level with AR-assisted instructions, which would usually take years to achieve. Despite initial reluctance to use the technology from more experienced engineers, once they begin, the value of AR/VR encourages them to continue using it.

Current challenges to overcome with integrating the technology include:

  • Device display (e.g. resolution)
  • Network bandwidth
  • Connection quality

Panigrahi further states that cloud-based immersive experiences will be key for widespread AR/VR adoption in not only construction, but across most industries. Grid Raster will continue to push the boundaries of innovation.

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