Virtual Reality (VR) and Computer Aided Virtual Environments (CAVE): More ways to connect with clients

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In the previous posting, I reported on Craig Park‘s observations in the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) Marketer Magazine about Augmented Realty (AR).

This post continues the discussion, focusing on Virtual Reality (VR) and Computer Aided Virtual Environments (CAVE).

Video: The SmartRealty application

VR “is a computer technology that uses virtual realty headsets– sometimes in combination with physical spaces or multi-projected environments — to generate realistic images, sounds and other sensations that simulate a usual’s physical experience,” Park writes. Accordingly, VR (and more significantly CAVE), requires specialized equipment and environments to truly “get” the experience, making it more hands-on but less convenient, especially at remote locations.

However, there are still many choices available:

Enscape: A Revit program “for simple and fast 3-D and ‘walk through’ content creation.”

HTC Vive: This PC-tethered VR system supports both motion controls and whole room VR, However, while it provides an immersive experience, it is expensive, and the tethered headsets make whole-room VR tricky.

IrisVR: Described as an “immersive architecture plugin for VR” that works with SketchUP, Revit and Rhino files and creates panoramas in the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Google Daydream.

Microsoft HoloLens: The pioneering self-contained holographic computer “enables users to experience MR engagements with digital content and interact with holograms in the world around them.”

Oculus Rift: A powerful, low-cost PC-tethered VR system that creates an immersive VR experience for Oculus and SteamVR platforms. “It does not provide for whole-room VR, and requires four USB ports to fully function,” Park writes.

SmartReality: “This software was designed for the A/EC sectors and works with many 3-D softwre programs, including Revit,” Park says. “”It allows users to turn 2-D plans into interactive 3-D models on a tablet or through a VR headset like the Oculus Rift smart glasses. Project team members can use Smart Reality to scan their paper plans with the device’s camera, syncing it with the correct 3-D model.”

Finally there is CAVE. This is where you set your VR in a totally immersive environment “where projected images or flat-screen displays are directed on three to six of the walls (floor and ceiling) of a room-sized cube.” Groups of users wearing 3-D glasses and an operator with a gaming style joystick navigate what appears to be virtual 3-D space. Obviously this sort of set-up requires a more significant investment in resources and equipment and specialized providers to design and set up the spaces. See as examples Mechdyne and EonRealty.

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