11 January 2024
Augmented Reality (AR) is increasingly recognized as a solution that can help to deliver much needed efficiencies. According to our exclusive research report, Constructing Tomorrow, 72% of construction companies see Engineering Grade AR™ as the technology that will have the biggest impact on productivity.
However, it is important to note that there can be significant discrepancies in performance and functionality from one AR solution to the next. Furthermore, the way the technology is implemented – and whether it offers project controls – can have a huge impact on its efficacy. To unlock the full benefits of AR, users must make sure they select the right solution and then apply that solution with the right methodology.
In this blog, we highlight five traps to avoid when selecting and implementing AR on your construction projects.
Procuring AR technology and hoping for the best is not enough to guarantee a successful return. Without a proper focus on what you want to achieve, the advantages of AR will be severely limited. Teams will be unclear on how and when to use the solution in the field and how to leverage the data insights it can provide. Securing buy-in from business leaders and clients can also be extremely difficult if you are unable to explain why the tech investment is justified.
Top tip: Setting a clear objective to eliminate error and rework with AR should be top of your agenda. Hyper-accurate AR solutions such as the Atom™ from XYZ Reality can provide build quality validation much faster than any laser scanning solution, and with more precision. Even better, if the tech is deployed prior to installation, it can prevent clashes and mistakes from ever occurring in the first place. Considering that rework is estimated to account for as much as 25% of all project costs, the financial implications of building right first time cannot be overstated.
A two-way flow of real-time intelligence between the field and office is crucial to delivering total control over accuracy and progress with AR in construction. However, if your AR solution is incompatible with your existing workflows and project management platforms, this kind of synergy simply cannot be achieved, and crucial information will remain siloed. AR solutions which have been designed primarily for gaming or leisure are unlikely to offer adequate integration and so, should be avoided. They're also likely to lack safety certification for construction sites and face difficulties in loading large models, along with suffering from significant drift and lag.
Top tip: Construction-native solutions, such as the Atom from XYZ Reality, are compatible with the leading construction management platforms like Autodesk BIM 360. This means that operators in the field can preemptively highlight issues during inspections, precisely marking their locations within the 3D model and assigning notifications to the relevant stakeholders for corrective action.
A DIY approach to AR is another pitfall that can limit the technology’s effectiveness. While some solutions offer extremely intuitive operation, the best results depend on a proficiency that comes with extensive experience. Skilled use of construction AR is not just about knowing the technology inside out; detailed understanding across a variety of different projects and scenarios, plus expertise in data analytics, stakeholder management, project controls and the creation of implementation strategies, all combine to deliver project success.
Top Tip: Consider working with a third party that can provide specialized construction AR support, like XYZ Reality. As part of our comprehensive managed service, our highly qualified Field Application Engineers become embedded within your team, ensuring accuracy, objectivity and project insight that powers better decisions and critical path control.
We’ve touched on this already, but it bears repeating: AR that has not been designed with the construction environment front and center will underperform in the field. Several UX (user experience) issues arise in such solutions, including a lack of durability, poor through-screen visibility, incompatibility with PPE, poor battery life, and poor connectivity to name a few.
Additionally, the need to use both hands when operating mobile or handheld devices in such environments can be cumbersome. Solutions patched together with wires and physical tethered systems further complicate usage and hinder mobility, adding to the challenges faced in construction settings.
Not only do these design flaws hamper performance and comfort, but they can also raise serious safety concerns for the user.
Drift – where the AR model appears to move in relation to the real-world environment, thereby compromising accuracy – is another common problem. This stems from the inability of these solutions to load complex 3D models.
Top tip: To ensure the best possible UX, opt for an AR solution that is construction native, such as the Atom. With engineering-grade intuitive interfaces, hot-swappable batteries, durable design, on and offline functionality and full safety accreditation, the Atom offers unbeatable comfort and useability onsite. Plus, boasting i7 Quadcore processing power, 32 GB RAM and 1 TB storage, it can provide supreme performance whilst loading even the most complex 3D federated models.
All of the pitfalls outlined above can undermine the efficacy of your AR investment and heighten the risk of cost overruns. However, when used correctly, AR has the power to facilitate right-first-time construction, thereby eliminating wasted time and materials, ultimately delivering benefits on your bottom line. In the short term, AR brings project profitability, but with prolonged use, AR can also enhance your reputation for delivering high quality work on time every time. In this sense, successful AR implementation can become a driver for continued long-term business success.
Top tip: For the best possible results with AR, look for technology that incorporates project controls. The Atom from XYZ Reality is the world’s only solution that combines Engineering Grade AR with advanced project controls to empower 4D progress tracking, risk management and decision making throughout the project lifecycle. It tracks 90% of construction activities, compared to reality capture, which records only up to 30-40%.
The Atom delivers Engineering Grade precision to within 3-5 mm, making it the most accurate construction-specific solution on the market. Bringing the BIM model into the field, it supports accuracy not just in installation and validation, but throughout the whole project lifecycle across scheduling, resource allocation and project data management.
Our solution is easy to use and compatible with Autodesk Construction Cloud, providing perfect integration with your workflows and real-time visibility of your project health. Plus, available as part of a fully managed service, you also benefit from the collective expertise of the XYZ team who can help you extract maximum ROI from your AR investment.
See what XYZ Reality can do for you. Book a demo today.