Virtual Reality Immerses Contractors into a ‘Brand New World’

From sales to training, VR can take business to the next level

The Future of VR

Given the growing popularity of virtual reality, will contractors be investing more in the technology for years to come? Mark Krewedl, Vice President of Operations at MacDonald-Miller Facility Solutions, predicted that yes, they will.

The MLAB at MacDonald-Miller is a whole room dedicated to video immersion, said Krewedl. The space contains multiple projectors, along with headsets for the VR component, that help consumers feel like they are actually stepping into a prototype or model, he explained. Krewedl added that while consumers are interacting with the virtual world, team members on the outside can follow along by watching the projected images.

“One of the coolest experiences that we’ve probably seen with one of our clients that we brought in was a 6-foot-7 service guy. We had modeled the building environment that he currently works in and we showed him our design for the chiller that we brought into that space,” he recalled. “This guy was literally on the ground of our space, crawling around as if he was crawling underneath the other pieces of equipment, sticking his hand down, his wingspan out, fingertip to fingertip, and he’s just grinning left and right because he’s validating that what he’s seen in this three-dimensional world aligns with what it spaces out at his home.”

Krewedl said that the additional validation VR brings into the design effort can reassure a client and make them more likely to go through with a project. He also noted that virtual reality can help illustrate more than one scenario to a client, should there be a need to. This especially comes in handy when the engineer’s design conflicts with the architect’s design, he said, because a redesign will likely be more cost-effective through VR.

While virtual reality will never fully replace 2-D models and other design methods, Krewedl said the technology has “definitely made it easier” to explain design decisions to clients.

“We are getting validation from our clients, they are loving the ability to step into that room, especially at the design phase, to make those harder, challenging decisions about where things are and how high the structure needs to be in order to allow the different systems to run through the space,” he said.

Full article here: achrnews

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