Using digital twin technology powered by real-time 3D, companies can visualize data better than ever before. And with 61% of companies facing challenges with visualization – according to this study commissioned by Unity and conducted by Forrester Consulting – the deployment of a rich visualization method leads to many benefits such as improved design collaboration, operational efficiency, and training experiences.
Real-time 3D visualization can cover all phases of an infrastructure project lifecycle, including:
Industry leaders like Vancouver International Airport, Skanska, and Mortenson are already leveraging real-time 3D across various stages of their project lifecycles. This allows them to build stronger designs, unlock siloed data for better decision-making, and tighten their safety measures. Read on to find out how they do it.
Norconsult, a leading Norwegian multidisciplinary engineering and design consultancy, turned to Unity and Meta Quest 2 to streamline their extended reality (XR) routines with gamification efforts. Initially pioneering a “drawingless” design and construction approach, Norconsult now produces data-rich integrated digital twins as a contractual deliverable.
Using Unity and Meta Quest 2, Norconsult reaps the benefits of real-time visualization for sharper viewing environments that enable them to work 50% faster and 75% more intuitively. Norconsult also achieved greater accessibility with untethered virtual reality (VR) and smoother collaboration to transform their team’s interactions in the office or on the jobsite.
“XR was great before, but it was not for everyone. Hardware-heavy processes, cables, tracking stations, remembering to charge multiple devices, logging in and out of multiple accounts, preprocessing the data, exporting, packing, and updating it – all these operations made the XR world an exclusive club. Until Unity and Meta’s fusion eliminated all the irritating moments and bottlenecks from the process. Now you just have to pop on the glasses and you’re good to go!” – Marius Jablonskis, Digital Transformation Leader, Norconsult
Rethinking the meaning of digital transformation for a transportation hub, Vancouver International Airport (YVR) partnered with Unity’s Custom Solutions team to use immersive, interactive technology for building the first real-time 3D digital twin for an airport in North America. YVR’s digital twin of its terminal and airfield consumes real-time information such as flight data, Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) wait times, and more, to facilitate data-driven decision-making and collaboration.
Since the deployment of their digital twin, YVR has focused on passenger safety and refining the overall travel experience through IoT sensors that provide data to reduce wait times and congestion, ultimately improving airport efficiency. YVR’s digital twin even helps them measure how much greenhouse gas (GHG) is emitted upon landing on the runway, taxiing, and arriving at the gate. With this data, they are able to understand how much GHG is being emitted in real-time by each passenger, thus assisting in their initiative to make YVR the world’s greenest airport.
“I believe that the digital twin is an absolute game changer in the business of airports and will be a key enabler to our strategy.” – Lynette DuJohn, Vice President, Innovation and Chief Information Officer, Vancouver Airport Authority
With a mission to bring buildings from vision to physical reality at speed, award-winning architecture firm SHoP Architects is among the first in the industry to embrace real-time 3D digital twins. And with results ranging from reduced costs to quick decision-making with project stakeholders, their endeavor is already paying off.
Working with JDS Development Group, a real estate development, construction, and acquisition firm, SHoP Architects is leveraging Unity to develop its real-time building information modeling (BIM) application for one of its signature projects: The Brooklyn Tower, a 93-story skyscraper in New York. The application, known as the SHoP Portal Immersive Suite, makes it possible for internal teams, clients, and stakeholders to view associated documents and information based on BIM data.
By pulling the Brooklyn Tower model into the portal app, stakeholders can look at renderings and live construction details. At the same time, technicians on the ground can overlay SHoP’s designs in augmented reality (AR) on top of the ongoing construction project, while building owners review this data for more efficient and economical management.
“The biggest challenge in construction with cost savings is time, and lost time. With real-time data, we can make decisions faster with every single partner on the project, whether that is with our communications team, marketing team, engineers, or facade consultants. Real-time data is power.” – Marci Clark, PhD, Managing Director, Strategy and Development, JDS Development Group
Setting a new standard for the future of urban planning, the Orlando Economic Partnership (OEP) harnessed Unity to build one of the world’s most comprehensive and immersive digital twins of an entire region. OEP’s digital twin brings plenty of data together, including geospatial, building, occupational, and census information, with the intent of driving economic investment in Orlando.
Using the digital twin, prospective companies looking to set up shop in Orlando can bypass time-consuming and costly site visits to see the land, real estate, and talent – details now available in less than 48 hours. Beyond that, utility companies and city planners can conveniently share their proposed infrastructure improvements and ideas by using an immersive, interactive experience.
“This project will change the way we do business, and the way businesses immerse themselves in all Orlando has to offer. This digital twin is the culmination of our world-class modeling and simulation companies, AR/VR/XR, and gaming industries.” – Tim Giuliani, CEO, Orlando Economic Partnership
Collaborating with Sweden-based Skanska, the fifth largest construction company in the world, creative VR and AR agency OutHere developed highly realistic VR scenarios for Skanska’s employee safety-training program. For this project, Skanska’s central goal was to reduce accidents and create safer construction sites.
When considering a partner that could help them obtain this objective, they selected OutHere for their highly talented creative studio. Together, they worked to design VR scenarios that would challenge workers by putting them in potentially risky situations and forcing them to make critical decisions, all with the aim of preventing serious virtual accidents or injuries.
“With virtual reality, we can build emotional situations, which is extremely important if you want to change workers’ behaviors to improve safety. VR creates awareness in a way that you can never do with conventional classroom or online training. Workers feel it viscerally as we expose them to different risks – without putting them in danger – so they become more intuitively aware of such situations.” – Martin Krafft, Technology Director, OutHere
From building design and reviews to sales and marketing initiatives, the construction experts at Mortenson use Unity to deliver interactive VR and 360-video experiences to a wide range of clients, including Kaiser Permanente, the third-largest non-profit hospital in the United States.
Working with Kaiser Permanente to design a new interventional radiology room, Mortenson built the entire room virtually, according to the required specifications, so that everyone on the team could enter the space and interact with it before its actual construction. This prompted them to finalize major design details and optimize the room for healthcare professionals who’ll be working in it for years to come. And since all the equipment was faithfully represented in 3D, the surgical team could reach out to alter the light booms, tables, and anything else that they’d typically interact with.
“Through the interactive, immersive VR experience we built with Unity, the project team was able to identify deficiencies in the design, ensure the most productive and efficient workflows, and get important buy-in from the medical professionals. And importantly, this allowed Kaiser to stay on budget and schedule without the expense and lead time associated with physical mockups.” – Will Adams, Emerging Technology Developer, Mortenson
Digital twins support companies as they navigate challenges by connecting data and stakeholders through every phase of the project lifecycle. That’s how real-time 3D is transforming the way companies build, design, and make vital decisions.
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