Gamers and other tech lovers appreciate virtual reality (VR) and video games, but the technology behind both of those things is now benefiting an industry that might seem surprising at first: smart home construction.
From Drawings to Computer Models
Not long ago, architects and other specialists involved in building homes relied on complex drawings that were time-consuming to produce and not always easy to alter. Now, they use specialized software not so different from video game technology.
It creates detailed, three-dimensional computer models of homes in progress, giving the people working on them the tools and resources needed to build homes faster with fewer obstacles during the process.
VR Results in Better-Informed Clients
It’s often difficult for a client to visualize what a smart home will look like when it’s still months away from completion. However, some companies are filling in the gap by offering VR headsets.
Customers strap them on while walking through a home in progress and see crucial aspects like the positions of walls and windows or how much space a kitchen counter takes up. Then, if they notice things they don’t like, people can speak up and mention their concerns at early stages, thereby preventing extra expenses, delayed schedules and hassles for the construction team.
VR and computer models even allow people to view specific components of a home before a construction firm breaks ground on a project. A company called Victaulic is one example of a firm that provides mechanical piping and fire-protection solutions for buildings.
It uses VR to give clients insights about their projects that would otherwise not be possible. When customers have more information, construction companies save time and money.
BIM Ensures Constant Collaboration
Construction projects are similar to most other large-scale endeavors in that they require continuous teamwork. Building information modeling, abbreviated BIM, involves using a digital system to aid construction and requires equal involvement from all working groups associated with a project.
One of the primary components of BIM is a digital model that contains all data about a planned project or one in progress. Using computer models in construction is not a new concept.
However, a pioneering aspect of BIM is the way data that normally gets split among various people and companies — such as information about materials, deadlines and budgets — is now contained in a single place for all parties to access as needed.
BIM is helping construct a Siemens headquarters building in Switzerland, with people involved in the project able to access a “digital twin” of the planned facility on giant touchscreens.
BIM is also extraordinarily beneficial if individuals living in a smart home decide they want to make renovations after residing in the abode for a while. Even if construction workers weren’t initially involved in a project, they can access the BIM data and use it to make strategic plans for home updates.
Helping People Live Without Hassles
Members of a construction team are not the only individuals who can look at BIM data and use it to make decisions. IBM has made its artificial intelligence-powered Watson system integrate with BIM information and smart home equipment so households can learn things about energy usage and when it’s time to get their HVAC system serviced, for example.
Also, consider the advantages of using VR to determine aspects of a home that could cause challenges for a person with disabilities. People who are not disabled often find it difficult to understand what creates hazards for people with low vision, poor balance or compromised gripping abilities. VR headsets could provide crucial context, helping companies design homes that help disabled individuals live independent, fulfilling lives.
Emphasizing Safety While Building Smart Homes
Some construction companies have also realized virtual reality can help teams on building sites avoid accidents. Morrison Construction is a company in the United Kingdom that requires construction workers to wear VR goggles to become familiar with onsite hazards before they begin working in the area.
There are also companies that give construction workers the tools they need to go through simulated versions of construction sites in safe, controlled environments. Advocates for that kind of technology say it could give necessary training without risks. Then, employees of construction firms are well-equipped to go out and build homes while enjoying a reduced likelihood of accidents.
Technology Creates Convenience
In the gaming world, technology is driving entertaining experiences. When construction experts use similar advancements to build homes, they avoid pitfalls that could slow projects down. Also, the clients who’ll eventually live in those houses can stay involved every step of the way and weigh in with feedback when needed as they anticipate satisfying outcomes.