VR and AR have come as a godsend to the architecture and design industry. They’re one of the best products of the exponential technological advancement we’ve experienced in the last two decades. Even though both the technologies are in their infancy, they’ve been able to display remarkable results so far. So remarkable that the VR market is projected to grow at a CAGR of a whopping 27.9% from 2020 to 2025. That’s growth from USD 6.1 billion in 2020 to USD 20.9 billion in 2025.
Both technologies possesses features without which the design industry will suffer tremendously. The roots of VR and AR are going deeper into the design industry, thereby changing the approach of how we design and the face of the design industry itself. The influence of VR and AR on the design industry is destined to increase tremendously with each passing year. With that said, let’s look at how these godsend technologies will forever change the way we design.
Changing the Way of Presenting
VR is a revolutionary technology that lets users enter a virtual world, one where they can even interact with the things around them. All you require is a VR headset and you’re good to go. Virtual Reality, as the name suggests, provides such an immersive experience in the presentation that no other method can possibly match. That being said, as a designer, that’s good news for you as you’ll be able to communicate your ideas with your clients more effectively. Gone are the days where complicated blueprints and clay models were considered some of the most effective means of presenting an idea. Virtual Reality has completely replaced such old and outdated methods with much more advanced ones.
As for AR or Augmented Reality, it has managed to gain an upper hand, even on cutting-edge technologies like VR. AR blends 3D models in the real world using advanced algorithms. Typically, it retains all the objects in the real world while enhancing the environment by adding virtual objects. It’s even more helpful than VR in case you want to check how your designs will blend with the surrounding elements in the real world. AR catches more attention by companies and organizations as compared to VR, thanks to the tremendous cost-effectiveness and easy accessibility. Unlike VR, AR doesn’t require a decent investment nor does it require expensive headsets to access this technology, just your smartphone is enough to do the job. However, both technologies show promising improvements and advancements in the way we present a design.
Why Use AR for Presentations?
- It’s Highly Cost-effective: AR has such unparalleled cost-effectiveness that not even VR can come close to. That said, the initial investment in AR technology produces tremendous outcomes, no wonder why even small and medium-sized businesses are trying to get their hands on this technology.
- It’s Convenient: AR doesn’t require a lot of setups to allow access. A device as accessible as your smartphone with a good internet connection is enough to do the trick. Just load your 3D designs into a suitable smartphone application and see how your designs blend with the surrounding real-world environment.
- It Gets More Approvals: A design communicated using AR has more chances of getting approvals than a design communicated using other methods. This is because clients virtually get to experience the designs in the real world, this leaves a better and a deep impact on the clients. Many veteran designers even utilize AR to attract potential clients for their designs, such a thing would never have been possible using conventional and outdated methods like drawings and blueprints.
Why Use VR for Presentations?
- It’s Immersive: If you present your design in VR, your clients will be able to experience your design and not just see it. You can even add navigation or hotspot overlays that will allow the clients to navigate easily through your design.
- It Leaves a Stronger Impression on the Audience: VR is something your audience doesn’t usually experience a lot. If you present your design using cutting-edge technology like VR, they’re sure to get excited about your design. Your chances of getting approval for your design increase dramatically if you use VR as a means of presenting that design.
- It’s Easily Accessible: Thanks to the introduction of Google Cardboard VR, you no longer need to buy expensive headsets to experience VR to the fullest. All you need now is your smartphone and an application that can interpret your designs. However, usual 3D models won’t cut it, you’ll need to make your designs compatible to be displayed in Virtual Reality.
How do VR and AR benefit the Design Industry?
- Creates a Seamless Experience within Models
3D modelling has already changed how we experience a design for the better. It created an experience that even physical clay models couldn’t match. However, the implementation of VR takes the game marginally further by adding multiple immersive features of the models.
The user is no longer limited to navigating the model using a controller. Instead, one can physically move their bodies in the virtual space, it’s like physically visiting the place without actually being there. The headset utilizes the cameras mounted on the headset to map the room to maximize the accuracy of the design. Industries such as the interior design industry and architectural design industry benefit the most from VR and AR.
- Easy to Spot and Modify Errors
Since you experience the design instead of just seeing it, spotting errors is a piece of cake. Clients can easily spot the errors and ask for revisions, this prevents huge irreversible blunders, a win-win for both the designers and the clients. However, the chances of revising a design are significantly lower if it’s presented using AR or VR, thanks to the excitement and energy it induces in the clients.
- Saves a Great Deal of Time and Money
Evaluating the design with the use of immersive technologies like VR and AR doesn’t leave any loopholes that may hinder the process at a later stage. Glitches and unforeseen problems can’t get passed through such vigorous testing and evaluation of the design. This leads to significant time savings as problems that would have halted the execution of the design are no longer there. As a result, this leads to substantial financial savings in labour and material costs.
- Simplified Quantity Tracking and Quality Control Management
AR helps to virtually layer the design in the real world, allowing designers or analyzers to assess the design and note any necessary adjustments and modifications that need to be done. These adjustments should be concerning quality control and quantity management. Meanwhile, you can also implement an AI-based system that can involve measures such as precise volumetric measurements and object recognition to better analyze your design. The system will then aggregate all results and report them to the user. Such precision in quantity tracking and quality control wouldn’t have been possible without utilizing AR and VR. Even though this technique is still in its infancy, the results it shows are promising enough to assume that this removal can remove aspects of human error to a great extent once perfected.
- Communicating the Design is Easier than Ever
Communicating the idea to the clients has always been a nightmare for even the most skilled veteran designers out there. Thankfully, VR and AR have managed to eradicate the problem that has been haunting designers for decades. The immersive experience that both these technologies provide is unmatched, allowing the clients to experience and interact with the design. Clients get to observe even the tiniest of details, grabbing all the information there is in the design. Meanwhile, communicating the design with such excellent efficiency also increases the chances of the design getting approved.
- Transforms the Sale of Off-plan Properties
VR and AR support immersive virtual walkthroughs for yet-to-build projects that allow potential clients or investors to assess the design down to its minor details. Such detailed assessment instils confidence in the audience, which will allow them to make more informed decisions about whether to invest in the design or not. Multiple designs, colour, and furniture options, all interactively accessible, are available for potential clients to provide greater certainty in their decisions and actions. It also saves a great deal of time that would have otherwise been wasted in making confusing decisions.
Better Designer-Builder Relations
No matter how exceptional your design is, it’ll do you no good if the builder fails to understand it. This problem has persisted between designers and builders for decades and has caused many failed projects. This has resulted in rough and broken relationships between designers and builders. Virtual Reality, however, seems to have finally turned the tables and is working to improve this crucial relationship between designers and builders. It has the ability to bridge the gap between designers and contractors for the betterment of the project. A designer can build 3D models with even the tiniest of details and show the results to the contractor. This lets the contractors experience the idea by themselves so that they can put their souls into converting that idea into reality. Here’s how AR and VR work on improving this design-builder relationship:
VR allows contractors and designers to virtually meet in the 3D model, allowing better discussions about the model and future plans. This also helps designers and contractors to make more informed decisions about the design. Also, since this method allows contractors to assess the design to the minute details, they are able to bring their own perspectives and ask for modifications if need be. So, it is indeed safe to say that utilizing VR for virtual meetings strengthens the bond between designers and contractors.
Mixed Reality will Reach the Masses
Not long ago, concepts such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Mixed Reality were merely sci-fi topics to fantasize about. However, things have changed and mixed reality isn’t science fiction anymore. The latest iteration of Microsoft HoloLens has demonstrated that quite perfectly. The device uses advanced AI and Machine Learning algorithms to blend 3D holographic content with the physical world.
Mixed Reality or MR is a mixture of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR). It enhances the user’s surroundings by blending 3D holograms with the real world, thereby creating a mixed reality that’s neither virtual nor real. Since both the real-world objects and the 3D holographic content is interactive, mixed reality will give new creative freedom to designers. It works on eradicating the limitations of using Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality, it has mixed them both to create an ideal technology for presenting complex designs. It keeps your audience grounded in the real world while providing them with an immersive experience, removing all the unease and discomforting sensations in the audience.
That being said, Mixed Reality is one step ahead of both VR and AR, such advanced technology is sure to benefit the design industry the most but there is a catch. Experiencing mixed reality isn’t going to be easy on your wallet, you may expect to spend thousands of dollars to get one of these high-tech MR headsets. Also, the technology is far from being perfect, so don’t get your hopes high. However, time will pass and improvements will be made. No doubt mixed reality will also reach the masses in the future. If hardworking veteran developers continue to add exciting features in VR and AR, it’ll be easy for these technologies to cope up with the technological advancement around them. Meanwhile, technologies like Mixed Reality will keep on emerging to change the way we design.
How will VR and AR Adapt in the Future to Continue Benefiting the Design Industry?
The futuristic technologies (Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality) have gathered enough attention and popularity to be acknowledged by governments from all across the globe. This has led to a tremendously increased demand for these two technologies. Almost every other business is trying to get its hands on VR and AR.
With that said, time changes and trends fade away. Some of the hottest trends 10 years back have no significance in current times as such trends have failed to adapt according to the ever-changing needs and demands of the people.
How are VR and AR going to tackle such a situation, or will they too fail relentlessly? Based on current situations, let’s see what can we expect from these two godsend technologies in the future:
- More VR/AR integrations into Existing Applications
As VR/AR continues its quest to transform industries, the hype around these two technologies is getting real. Digital platforms from around the world are turning to VR and AR as a standard user experience. This has led veteran developers to create various useful toolkits surrounding the technology.
These toolkits only serve to allow for simpler and faster VR/AR integration into existing applications, thereby making it easy to develop and approach VR/AR applications. As a result, such applications now don’t require extreme expertise to develop, expanding their accessibility marginally.
- Easy Accessibility will Lead to More Adoption
Time has changed and so has technology. Unlike the earlier days of VR/AR where the technologies were too complex to be used by an average person, the rise of toolkits and user-friendly features have made VR/AR accessible than ever. They don’t require highly-specialized individuals to facilitate the experience anymore.
These technologies have travelled from being novelties and impractical to general and user-friendly. This transformation has only been possible due to the continued efforts of developers to make accessing VR and AR a commonplace experience. As the technology becomes more refined and accessible, its adoption will increase dramatically alongside demand.
However, while one cannot tell what the future has on hold for such technologies, current trends directly point towards sustainable growth.
- The ever-growing Hype around VR/AR will Create More Skilled Developers
Developers from all across the world are emerging each day and working tirelessly to make VR and AR feasible for the masses. The number of skilled developers for such technologies is destined to increase tremendously in the future, thanks to all the excitement and hype these technologies have managed to induce.
Nevertheless, all this will result in more optimized and useful features in VR/AR, making even small-scale businesses acknowledge their power and efficacy. This will lead to a bright future for VR and AR.
Who knows whether such cutting-edge technologies will reach the masses in the future. However, if things go the way they’re supposed to, the influence of VR and AR will completely transform the design industry into something else.
The transformation has already begun, with newer and more skilled developers emerging each day, it won’t take us long to truly perfect VR and AR down to their tiniest details. Meanwhile, conventional methods of designing will continue to evaporate with more and more technologies such as VR/AR or 3D printing continuing to influence the industry as a whole.
However, the future surely holds a bunch of excitement, you shouldn’t be surprised if some technology single-handedly outperforms VR and AR in the future.