This article has been created from the Construction Disrupted podcast - Episode 9 - Can AR be a True Reality? Featuring Caner Dolas and Jayan Jevanesan, Co-Founders of Gamma AR.
The construction industry is undergoing a digital transformation, and one technology at the forefront of this change is Augmented Reality (AR). AR not only simplifies communication but also acts as a bridge between generations in an industry where technology adoption has been uneven. This article delves into the potential of AR in construction and discusses its long-term prospects with Gamma AR co-founders Caner Dolas and Jayan Jevanesan.
The Power of Augmented Reality
AR is a powerful tool for enhancing communication in construction, especially when dealing with individuals who might not be well-versed in reading complex plans. Its intuitive interface makes it accessible to a broad range of users. This inclusivity ensures that the benefits of AR can be harnessed by both the tech-savvy younger generation and those less familiar with digital tools.
Embracing Generational Change
A notable aspect of AR's adoption in construction is the transition from an older generation to a new, more digitally native workforce. Younger site managers are quick to embrace AR technology due to their familiarity with digital tools coming from a digital native generation. This generational shift marks the early phase of AR adoption. As more construction professionals become acquainted with AR, it's likely to become even more prevalent on job sites.
Simplicity and Accessibility
One of the standout features of AR in construction is its simplicity. It doesn't require an extensive technical background to use effectively. A prime example of this simplicity is the use of AR on tablets and smartphones. These readily available devices provide a user-friendly platform for AR applications. It's an accessible and cost-effective approach that makes AR implementation a reality.
Long-Term Benefits of AR
As we look to the future, the potential applications of AR in construction are vast. Besides its current use in project management and issue tracking, AR holds promise for integration with other emerging technologies. This integration could result in substantial efficiency gains in various construction processes.
AR and Robotics
While the prospect of a robot uprising remains speculative, there is growing potential for collaboration between AR and robotics on construction sites. AR could facilitate the management of robots and automation, aiding in tasks like object transport and positioning.
Data Integration and AI
In the near future, AR is likely to integrate more seamlessly with different software ecosystems, as Jayan explains “Our goal is to have as many integrations as possible so people can go and simply use Gamma AR and integrate it into their existing processes”. As data sharing becomes more straightforward, AI could also play a significant role. AI-driven processes could classify and structure data automatically, simplifying issue tracking and reducing the demand for highly specialised on-site personnel.
Addressing Skill Shortages
Construction is grappling with labour shortages, making it imperative to do more with fewer workers and as Caner states “what you can always do is set up everything in terms of automation regarding your processes.” By integrating AR and other technologies, the industry can address these skill shortages effectively. AR helps simplify complex tasks, allowing for greater productivity with reduced labour needs.
A Bright Future for Construction
As the world's population grows and urban development accelerates, the construction industry faces increased demands. AR technology, like that offered by Gamma AR, can significantly improve the quality and efficiency of construction projects and alongside AI allows clients “to automatically utilise information… connecting directly to BIM models, classified, structured well, coming through Gamma AR into a (centralised) database” Caner notes. The key to its success lies in its accessibility, usability improvements, and seamless integration into existing workflows which “allows customers to use the data to automatically classify (issues) on the go, without having to be super skilled”. This would solve a lot of the challenges we currently face within the construction industry.
The Road Ahead
The future of AR in construction is promising. The next steps for Gamma AR and similar platforms involve further integrations, usability enhancements, and a focus on making AR even more accessible to a broader user base. Additionally, improvements in tracking and the expansion of supported file types and software integrations are on the horizon.
Augmented Reality is making its mark in the construction industry, enhancing communication, bridging generational gaps, and preparing the sector for a more efficient and innovative future. With its potential for integration with other technologies, AR holds the key to addressing skill shortages and raising the industry's overall quality and productivity. The journey has just begun, and the road ahead looks promising.