Making Virtual Models with Value

Making Virtual Models with Value

Published by Mitch Hughes
CEO & President of ViZZ (a DSi-Digital Company)

By now, nearly everyone has seen or experienced some form of virtualized reality. Whether in a computer game or a movie, computer-generated visualizations of real or imagined objects, buildings and worlds are everywhere. But do these virtual worlds have value in business and day-to-day lives beyond entertainment?

Specific to the built environment, does this provide any real value to the owner or occupants of the actual building? To go a step further, does the value exceed the cost of creating and maintaining the virtual model?

The core issue we run into with virtualization of buildings is the very concept that we are creating a visual model of the building. Although visual representations can be incredibly immersive when viewing through VR headsets, the actual value to the owner is limited. Further, the creation of these models can be expensive and time-consuming. So much so that in some cases, by the time the model is finished, things have changed in the actual building and the model is no longer current.

Thus, to build the greatest value, as related to something like the creation of a virtual building, everything from the creation of the virtual model to the management of the building and business must fit within the existing workflow of the people and businesses involved. To go a step further, this means that from the creation of the model itself, through the use of the model during the construction of the building, to the management of the business, the greatest ROI will be realized by providing value to as many people and businesses as possible, without undue burden.

As an added benefit, the more “self-aware” the model and information are, the more value they provide. Virtual information and models are not constrained by our fallible memories, but may instead contain every communication, fact, and history relevant and available, for the entire life span of the building and businesses, and beyond.

To provide the greatest ROI and relevance, the ViZZ approach includes information creation and collection through normal and existing processes where possible. Thus, the models aren’t generally created by graphic artists or gaming platform developers, but are instead created automatically using the same tools used by designers, engineers and artists – such as AutoCAD, Revit, SketchUp, etc.

Yet, the visual representation has limited value unless the platform collects and maintains all the data and ongoing history of the building as well as how it relates to its surroundings, occupants and other businesses.

It is equally important to collect and maintain as much information as possible within the virtual model itself, from communications about the building and businesses contained, to the work done by the occupants, and maintenance. This means that if a door is damaged five years after the building is built, the information around who made it and what model is readily available within the platform, in fact within the door itself.

Although visualization in games and movies certainly has its place, improving the value that a virtual world can bring to the individual and where they live, work and play is the true end goal.
Originally published by Mitch Hughes on LinkedIn.