How VR & AR is transforming training across engineering & construction

Ed. 11 Snobal Midweek

How is virtual reality and augmented reality (XR) disrupting  industries such as engineering and construction across the planning, design, delivery, operations and maintenance phase and more specifically in the the provision of high consequence and safety related training?

This morning at the BICSI annual expo in the Melbourne Convention + Exhibition Centre the conversation was all about the business applications and impact being created by leveraging newer technologies like XR for the building environment and safety related training. [BISCI is a professional association supporting the information and communications technology (ICT) industry, which covers the spectrum of voice, data, electronic safety & security, audio & video, and building automation technologies.]

Key takeaways from the panel and audience questions revolved around three areas.

  1. XR - all about enterprise: XR has moved beyond the narrow focus of consumers and gaming applications from a few years ago to enterprise applications. And when you look to enterprise applications it’s the engineering and construction sector, as well as high consequence training, where Snobal is seeing tremendous appetite in Australia and globally said Murray James, Co-founder & CEO, Snobal.

  2. Eye on the ROI: An organisation needs to be guided by its strategic vision and the required business impact when applying newer technologies like XR was an area touched on by both speakers Andrew Heinrichs,  Director Safety, Community Safety Building Authority; Dept of Justice and Community Safety and Damien Taylor,  ANZ Manager - Health, Safety, Environment & Quality, SMEC (Member of the Surbana Jurong Group).

    For moderator Paul Stathis, CEO BICSI South Pacific, the topic of organisations being open to embracing risk was acknowledged as an area important in digital transformation and innovation.

  3. The future is now. Leveraging newer technologies like virtual reality and augmented reality will in time become part of an organisations toolbox in delivering learning and development. For Shane Darwin, General Manager – Product and Delivery of registered training organisation JB Hunter, the move to launching a suite of XR training modules - through JBHXR - in 2020 across the telecommunications and safety related market was obvious. It was also inspired by the knowledge that XR holds the ability to enrich workplace training and make the accessible more cost efficient, engaging, measurable and convenient for its clients.

    JBHXR powered by Snobal, will launch a suite of XR training modules like Pole Top Rescue, CPR, First Aid in an ESI Environment and Low Voltage Rescue in Q1 2020 with more to follow. More information here.

Ed 10: Snobal midweek

Bold moves and swinging for fences.

This week some of team Snobal are in the City of Angels at a client kickoff event. The theme? Digital transformation.

It’s timely as this week global management consulting company McKinsey & Company’s annual Global Banking Reviews came out and it sounded a death knell for traditional banks.

According to McKinsey & Co. nearly 60% of the world's banks may not be “economically viable” because their returns aren’t keeping pace with costs and that banks must innovate or risk "becoming footnotes to history".

Innovation archetypes?

The report divides banks into four banking archetypes or categories and the responses they should take to these broader market forces:

  • Market leaders (reinvest capital in innovation and scale);

  • Resilients (focus on expanding customer base and product offerings and differentiating through innovation);

  • Followers (act quickly to achieve scale, cut costs and transform business models);

    and;

  • Challenged (merge with similar banks or find a buyer).

Lessons for construction industry

Banking like agriculture and construction is one of the oldest industries and has been around in one form or other since ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt, and Babylon. And yet here it is, according to McKinsey & Co. an industry in turmoil. Changing consumer behaviours, digital disruption and a growing number of players and products all seen as playing a key role.

When we study disruption across industries, there are always clear stages to the lifecycle of a typical attack—from faint signals of experimentation to validated business models to critical mass or at-scale plays. And repeatedly, the reason many incumbents fail, irrespective of their strong ingoing balance sheet and market share, is because of their inability to acknowledge a trend.

According to the report, digital disruption is now occurring at pace, [pp11] and banks need a plan of response. And one of the biggest challenges for traditional banks is the need to invest in overhauling operating models in order to be able to compete with digital offerings. As the report says the amt traditional banks spend on research and development (R&D) is telling when compared to digital disruptors:

while fintechs devote more than 70 percent of their budget to launching and scaling up innovative solutions, banks end up spending just 35 percent of their budget on innovation with the rest spent on legacy architecture.

This finding is as reflected in the recent Benchmarking Innovation Impact 2020 report, sponsored by KPMG, which found companies are allocating more resources to developing and scaling more ambitious and transformational business models and services.

It is a challenging and volatile time for all industries and it shows no signs of abating. It requires as the report says nothing short of some bold moves.

You can read KPMG’s report here and McKinsey’s annual Global Banking Reviews here.

Ed. 9: Snobal midweek

Australia's infrastructure innovation imperative

Australia is in the midst of a population boom with its population projected to grow to 40.6 million in 2050. So reports McKinsey & Co in a recently published report on infrastructure in Australia outlining how Australia’s infrastructure sector needs to “innovate across six dimensions”.

the strengths that have propelled Australia to a leadership position in infrastructure planning, design, and delivery will not be sufficient to underpin its future success.

Our key takeaways from the paper on where innovation is needed?

Value through design

Urgent need to make the design phase faster and more collaborative. Key ways to do this outlines the report includes applying agile methodologies and increasing the use of technology solutions.

Technology as avenue to enhance productivity

There are several tools that stand-out for enhancing productivity and “are poised to make transformational changes to project delivery” describes the report.

First up - ‘digital twin as-built’ [p38].

At Snobal we call our digital twin products XR Twins (virtual reality and augmented reality or XR).

Similar to as outlined in the paper an XR Twin uses 3-D models generated by reality-capture technologies such as LiDAR point cloud to create an exact digital replica of a project’s physical environment, thereby enabling:

  • a single source of truth and reduced decision making cycle by ensuring everyone involved in the build is making decisions on the same data'; [XR review]

  • improved “safety by reducing physical presence on site”; [XR learn]

  • enhanced design collaboration with stakeholders and end users [XR review and XR engage].

  • enhanced understanding on built environment asset performance and maintenance for enhanced asset efficiency and sustainability. [XR manage].

You can read the full report here. [Subscription required for free download].

Ed. 8: Snobal midweek

We're hiring for an XR artist keen on helping pioneer VR and AR art development.

Career pivot: Now is an incredibly exiting time to be a 3D artist who maybe feeling the itch for a career change. Why? It’s all got to do with virtual reality and augmented reality (XR). Many games artist might have originally decided to enter the field because they had the talent, passion and desire to tell stories and entertain in visually innovative and engaging ways. Perhaps their first work was in video games. Or maybe it was in mobile games as they grew in popularity.

Art pioneers: A burgeoning area is now emerging that requires 3D art and design skills. This new area is creating exciting career pathways and opportunities not available before to games artists. It’s also creating opportunities for those with an appetite and with a vision for being ‘pioneers’ in their field. That new field?

Virtual reality and augmented reality (XR) art.

The future of work and living: But we’re not talking about XR art as applied to games or entertainment. Of course there are increasing exciting career opportunities opening here (think Beat Saber). We’re talking about using XR art and design skills into creating amazing immersive AI assisted experiences that will help government decision makers and infrastructure developers design, communicate and understand where we live and work better and faster ensuring that what we build is sustainable and responds better to the needs and requirements of all citizens who live there.

So, if you’re a games artist who is a problem solver, is talented at your craft and keen to hear more about joining this exciting journey we’d love to hear from you. More info here.

More reading on the future of the built environment:

++ Cities of the Future
++ What happens next
++Future of cities

[Image source: Still from Bladerunner].

Snobal midweek

Ed 7: The World Is (Not) Male: How gender bias is impacting built environment design

Invisible Women by award-winning campaigner, broadcaster and writer Caroline Criado Perez, which exposes the gender data bias, has just taken out the Royal Society Science Book Prize. She is the fifth woman to win the science prize in five years reports The Guardian.

In the book Criado Perez draws on a range of case studies, stories and new research across government policy, medical research, technology, workplaces, urban planning and the media exposing the biased data and blind spots that excludes women:

Our world is largely built for and by men, in a system that can ignore half the population.


Gender data sexism in the built environment

Take snow clearing. Criado Perez explores how clearing major road arteries as a matter of priority over pavements has privileged men.

Criado Perez’s looked at a small town called Karlskoga in Sweden where the local council did a gender analysis of all their policies.

Women do 75 per cent of the world's care work and do lots of short interconnected trips (‘trip chaining’ i.e dropping kids at school, picking up groceries, visiting older relatives etc ) as well as tending to use public transport and to walk. Meanwhile men tend to travel in a more simplified way (to and from work).

What Karlskoga council found was that their snow clearing policy was prioritising road clearing over pavement clearing. The council was doing this because women’s trip chaining wasn’t factored in as it wasn’t considered ‘work’. But when the council put a value on the unpaid work women did in terms of GDP it was found to rank the same as travel for ‘paid work’.

So Karlskoga council switched its policy. And found it saved them money.

"…they found that their accident and emergency costs fell dramatically, because pedestrians were dominating the numbers of people who were being admitted for having fallen and injured themselves in icy conditions and women were dominating the pedestrians."

With the rapid pace of technology development artificial intelligence is going to have an increasing impact on our lives. It has the potential to readdress this gender balance but not if we continue to feed it biased data.

As Criado Perez argues the intervention and participation of women in AI, software development and technology development is critical to readdress the imbalance. This combined with collecting sex and gender dis-aggregation data is vital to ensure the default design is not defaulted to male.

Speaking of AI and technology development in the built environment did you know that Snobal is currently hiring for roles across its product development team? If you’re a software engineer or XR Artist with a passion for transforming how we design and build our cities we would love to hear from you!

More info on Gender Data Bias:
+ Invisible Women. 99% Invisible, 23 July 2019

+Book Review – Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Perez. Customer Think, 9 Sept 2019

+Humans are making biased algorithms that entrench discrimination — without even trying. ABC, 7 Sept 2019

+Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez – a world designed for men. The Guardian. 28 Feb 2019

+Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men – a review. The Conversation, 23 Mar 2019

+The Pitfalls of Data’s Gender Gap. Scientific American. 1 Apr 2019

+Statistical gender bias. European Institute for Gender Equality

+From Alexa to Siri and the GDPR: The Gendering of Virtual Personal Assistants and the Role of EU Data Protection Law. King's College London Dickson Poon School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper Series. Dec 2018

+Too Human: The more “lifelike” simulations are, the less effective they risk becoming. Real Life Mag. 20 May 2019

Loading more posts…