Virtual reality visualization or computer simulation of the environment not only helps to simplify the design process, but can also be used by customers in a unique way at all stages of the project.
In addition to creating more realistic projects, VR allows contractors, customers, and designers to collaborate effectively throughout the project. Working with three-dimensional objects and three-dimensional worlds enables the entire team, including multiple stakeholders and end-users, to understand the idea much better even before the start of construction. Customers who almost always see things differently than architects and designers can identify some design elements that can affect the desired result of the space.
1. The best space visualization of unfinished or remote projects
One of the biggest challenges an architect faces is effectively communicating a design to customers, developers, and investors. Immersiveness is key to selling the right idea to a client. Exactly this feature was used by U.S.based developer Trumark Urban that launched one of the largest and most advanced applications of VR in residential real estate. With advanced headsets in hand and the presence of two large 70-inch touch screens, potential buyers were transported through the numerous 360 degree panoramic views of the penthouse collection and the property’s amenity spaces. This innovative feature helped Trumark Urban close more than $300 million in sales in 24 months.
Virtual reality allows you to show the project when it comes even to the sale of unfinished facilities. Wearing a VR headset, potential buyers can stroll through a virtual apartment, as well as explore the proposed common outdoor area.
2. Change design in real-time
Real-time changes can take place in the virtual world, allowing customers to get a sense for specific aesthetic features, such as wall color, lighting, and even furniture. The use of immersive technology saves time – the ability to build the project virtually means that design glitches and unforeseen problems are seen and caught earlier, long before the project reaches the building stage, thus preventing needless delays. This also leads to substantial financial savings in reduced labor, capital, and material costs, as well as saving on the environmental waste caused by having to correct problems, spend longer on-site, etc. Receiving real-time feedback by being able to quickly jump into models, going from a third-person to the first-person perspective completely transforms the way in which architects and designers are able to create spaces.
3. Better collaboration between customers, contractors, and other stakeholders
Another reason for the savings outlined above is that the various contractors/ stakeholders involved can ‘meet’ inside the VR model. This allows a range of interests and disciplines to collaborate and help inform the final design from an early stage, in detail, bringing their own perspectives to the process. The details can be discussed in a way which was not previously possible, making it easier to avoid communication problems between specialists (e.g. engineers and interior designers).
A few months ago Zaha Hadid Virtual Reality Group launched an unusual collaborative VR experiment. They allowed up to four visitors at a time to roam a digital space and manipulate objects found within. The overarching objective for the participants was the collaborative construction of a virtual structure. Over the course of the three-month-long exhibition, successive waves of visitors immersed themselves in the continually adapting construct, imprinting it with their own personal elements along the way.
While you’re presenting a project, invite your clients to strap on their virtual reality headsets, and then you whisk them away onto a virtual tour. Together, you can explore your model using your virtual reality design software, and gets to interact with the whole thing. Moreover, it doesn’t require complex actions. As an example, in Virtualist app you can Invite customers for a VR tour by sending a link to open on a smartphone or computer.
4. Lower cost of implementation
This benefit is the consequence of all the above mentioned items. Project changes cost your company millions of dollars in fixes and overall brand reputation. But still, many savvy and experienced architectural businesses fail to match expectations with reality. You can draw up plans, 3D renderings and even physical models but chances are there are a lot of details that are lost in translation. Elements like structure position, angles, lighting, and spacing cannot be understood accurately until each stakeholder can be totally immersed in the building and consider how they are going to use the space.
Let me show another example of how virtual reality can reduce company costs and at the same time increase customer interest.
The Italian furniture brand Natuzzi has launched Augmented Store for VR furniture shopping. It enables customers to enter a digitally rendered version of their own home in virtual reality and decorate it with Natuzzi pieces. Based on testing, the company predicts that the deep level of engagement afforded by the Augmented Store will help reduce the brand’s closing ratio by at least one-third. It also expects that the roll-out of more Augmented Stores, which it expects to have in every Natuzzi shop worldwide by the end of 2020, will mean its physical showrooms can carry less inventory, and consequently take up less square footage. With the reduced cost and space requirements, it could mean an overall expansion in the number of stores.
All of these benefits show the main thing – Virtual reality offers endless possibilities in terms of interacting with a project. By improving scalability, streamlining collaboration, VR helps architecture, design, and construction companies create a more profitable and satisfying customer experience. And as a consequence, immersive technologies will speed up customer approvals and minimize late-stage changes, getting business owners to ROI faster.