The real estate industry is a perfect one to make excellent use of the amazing game-changing Computer Aided Virtual Environment (CAVE) technology. Suffolk Construction, a national building contractor, announced having opened a Smart Lab in its Miami office in March, joining other labs in New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Tampa, and San Francisco, all having opened during the past year.
Using CAVE enables an individual wearing an HTC Vive headset or a group exploring a virtual space via WorldViz VR 3D glasses to “walk through” a photorealistic future project’s 3D model that was created from architectural drawings and blueprints. Imagine being able to go to a work site, make design decisions, spot potential problems, ride elevators, go into rooms to make sure dimensions are correct, change appliances or the wallpaper or any item, all with a handheld controller.
Joe Fernandez, Suffolk Construction’s vice president of operations, said that the basic concept is being able to build a structure in pixels before building it in brick and mortar and therefore being able to show a client and the builders exactly what it is going to look like, both inside and out. According to a recent Software Connect survey, currently just six percent of construction companies implement VR technology, but that is expected to grow to 15 percent by the year 2020.
Additional features of the Smart Lab include a Data Wall of nine smart-board touchscreens providing predictive analytics and information for ongoing and completed projects, live streaming feeds of job sites, comparisons of construction at various stages, and more. Also included is a Huddlewall, which is a giant display for planning meetings which allow plumbers, electricians, painters, and others to collaborate on the current project in real time.
Projects that have already incorporated virtual reality technology in the designing and building include:
The Sunny Isles Beach Jade Signature futuristic luxury condo tower that opened on March 16, 2018; the new Royal Caribbean Cruises terminal at Port Miami, which is looking at a completion date of October 2018. Royal Caribbean has even designed some of their ships entirely using virtual reality; and the 638-room Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino near Hollywood that is due to open in the summer of 2019.