VR and Other Architecture Technologies to Skyrocket in 2018
Jeffrey Heimgartner posted on January 18, 2018 |

Software and other technologies for the architectural, engineering and construction (AEC) industry have continued to evolve, becoming more powerful, efficient, specialized and advanced. New software and technologies are emerging at a rapid pace as well. While this typically means more research, money and training, those in the industry willing to make those investments and embrace the technology have the most to gain. Based on a recent survey and report from Chaos Group, a global computer graphics technology firm, there will be no shortage of firms willing to make those types of investments in the future.

Chaos Group conducted an online survey in September 2017 of professionals from the architecture and architectural visualization fields. It had 5,769 respondents from more than 70 countries. Questions covered included the types of technology used, challenges faced, and respondents’ feelings and expectations about the future of the industry. The survey was sent to a range of recipients including freelancers and employees at small studios, to multinational firms with thousands of employees.

The first part of Chaos Group’s report covers industry challenges and changes respondents faced. 70 percent of respondents indicated that the most noticeable change in the past few years was increased reliance on new technologies such as building information modeling (BIM) and virtual reality (VR). The next closest response, at 36 percent, was increased demand for sustainable design. As for challenges, the results were much closer. The top challenge, experienced by 53 percent of participants, was tight project deadlines. This was followed by budget restrictions, 51 percent; demand for high-end and photorealistic content, 43 percent;  increased competition, 34 percent; employee training in systems and software, 29 percent; available material, 26 percent; and sustainable design, 25 percent.

The next section of the report dives into the adoption and usage frequency of VR. 56 percent of those surveyed, at an even split of 28 percent each, are either already using VR in workflows or are experimenting with it. Another 25 percent had plans to incorporate VR at some point in the near future. This speaks to the point that while 3D tools have been widely used by architects and visualization artists for quite a while, VR brings to the table new ways for them to visualize and communicate projects. Large firms are leading the pack when it comes to VR adoption. 62 percent of large firms are using VR and more than half of those have used VR on five or more projects. The percentage breakdown for the most popular software packages being used to create VR content are: V-Ray, 59; Unreal, 27; Unity, 18; Lumion, 15; Enscape, 9; IrisVR, 6; LumenRT, 1; and Revizto, 1.

The last section of the report looks at rendering. While the current industry norm is rendering using an internal render farm, a combined 34 percent of respondents use external render farms and cloud services to complete their projects. Another 24 percent say they plan to move rendering to the cloud in the next year. The report shows that depending on barriers such as cost and ease-of-use, the use of cloud rendering could double mid-year and even triple by the end of 2018. This increase is in part due to two of the main benefits that the report cites from respondents—shorter render times and ability to handle more projects.

For more information on the report, click here.

For more information on the Chaos Group, click here.

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