XR Construction Case Study in Focus: CannonDesign and VIVE

In the construction industry (AEC), immersive technologies such as extended reality hardware and software have the potential to transform all aspects of the workflow. Countless companies are already investing in VR, AR and MR solutions to improve design practices and boost the creativity of team members. However, there is another significant advantage.

To build incredible projects, AEC leaders must be able to align teams and specialists from multiple environments in a diverse and flexible environment. XR (Extended Reality) solutions can bridge the gaps between employees, wherever they are.

CannonDesign discovered the collaborative benefits of XR for themselves when they turned to VIVE and Nvidia for help building transformative new-age workflows. Here’s what happened when CannonDesign embraced VIVE technology.

Exploring new solutions for collaboration

We live in a world where companies across the AEC landscape are constantly looking for new ways to enhance the digital collaboration experience between employees. While standard messaging, video conferencing and audio tools have their merits, there is often a need in the AEC space for more practical collaborative sessions.

CannonDesign, which operates offices in 18 locations worldwide, has experienced first-hand the issues associated with collaboration in today’s world. Although the team’s designers often travel to connect with colleagues and clients, they have often relied on using elaborate physical models to demonstrate ideas. The company’s old-fashioned design process proved inefficient and expensive, prompting the company to explore new possibilities.

Through a partnership with VIVE and NVIDIA, CannonDesign was able to implement a custom, enterprise-class virtual reality solution capable of increasing efficiencies and removing common roadblocks. Using the combined technology, CannonDesign was able to initiate a preliminary design strategy with the University of Houston College for Nursing. The main goal was to provide customers with the tools they need to make informed device placement decisions.

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A simulation lab was implemented to allow clients and designers to share ideas remotely while interacting with digital images in a virtual space.

Achievement of design and collaboration goals

In the preliminary project with Houston College, CannonDesign set itself a number of goals to be achieved with its new VR solution. The company wanted to be able to quickly evaluate and validate design concepts in a multi-user virtual environment and hold remote meetings to minimize travel costs. At the same time, the solution had to make it easy to share virtual models with clients and adjust strategies based on real-time feedback.

The technology also had to ensure that users could document customer questions, suggestions, and comments quickly and easily. The NVIDIA Holodeck environment presented at the same time met all of these requirements. However, the company also needed a high-fidelity virtual reality headset that would allow users to immerse themselves in the new experience.

After reviewing a variety of enterprise VR brands, CannonDesign selected VIVE as the leading solution for industrial design, manufacturing quality, and image resolution. The VIVE Pro headset offered more advanced graphics and audio compared to other brands, thanks to exceptional resolution and state-of-the-art 3D spatial audio.

The features offered by the VIVE hardware enabled the development of a compelling simulated experience capable of meeting CannonDesign’s professional needs while delighting customers.

In particular, the selection of technology-based technical specifications was just one of the considerations CannonDesign had to think about. The designers on the team feared that an uncomfortable experience might spoil the immersion in incoming sessions. The company had previously encountered accessibility issues and various user requirements with other HMDs. Luckily, Vive Pro appeared as an ergonomic and easy choice.

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Exploring new possibilities for VR in AEC

Aside from making it easier to connect customers and designers during the early stages of project development, the introduction of VIVE and NVIDIA tools had other benefits. For example, the professional NVIDIA Quadro GPUs proved perfect for texture-rich presentations and mockups.

The company was able to create detailed environments, accurate models, and even accurate lighting for its simulations. The Quadro GPUs also benefit from additional support for large and complex workloads. This meant CannonDesign was able to display original asset models directly in VR, reducing the need to compromise the integrity or quality of designs for VR performance.

CannonDesign in particular was also aware of the potential threats to a multi-user XR experience. Because virtual reality is still a relatively new concept, not all users will necessarily be comfortable with new innovations. Luckily, the VIVE Pro headset was able to address many of the concerns related to onboarding and onboarding new users.

The headset’s ergonomic fit, adjustable strap and evenly distributed weight of the technology made it an ideal choice for prolonged use. Additionally, the company found that the audiovisual capabilities of the VIVE Pro meant it could create a more powerful and engaging experience. When the VIVE Pro headset was integrated with NVIDIA Holodeck technology, users could quickly understand how to communicate with each other and explore virtual spaces.

Amazing AEC results

According to CannonDesign, the combination of VIVE Pro hardware and NVIDIA software enabled the creation of a highly successful and immersive experience. VIVE’s professional VR hardware allowed users to work and experience spaces in real-time, while ensuring customers could also participate in customizing designs if needed.

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With the wide range of features offered by VIVE and NVIDIA, CannonDesign has been able to overcome many of the obstacles they faced in terms of delivering exceptional customer-enterprise collaboration. Previous meetings that required extensive transportation and outsourcing costs have been replaced with powerful VR multi-user sessions. The project times were even reduced by an average of 35%.

By 2020, CannonDesign had already begun scaling the project for use across all offices, attempting to reduce the need for face-to-face meetings by a massive 15%. According to CannonDesign’s Director of Visualization, NVIDIA and VIVE really made the team feel like they were living in the future. The company has never seen any other combination that can excite designers and customers so effectively.