Mixed Reality Based Collaboration 4 Industry

Collaborative Remote Office Planning in VR

Problem Description

The digitally supported planning of rooms has become the standard over the past two decades. It is not rare for planning procedures to be carried out directly together with the customers and on the computer screen of a sales representative. The latter uses a software tool (which usually has a lot of functions and is therefore quite complex in terms of handling), while the customer watches and provides input. When it comes to bigger projects, the kind that the firm Bene is used to handling, a sales agent visits the customer, takes a close look at the rooms to be designed, measures them and advises the customers according to their ideas. This is followed by the planning phase. The representative visits the customer once again to give the latter the opportunity to review the office plans and make changes together with the sales representative.

However, this process contains room for improvement:

Firstly, the customer’s involvement in the planning process is rather passive. The planner operates the software, while the customer has no direct access. Secondly, the planning software fulfils its purpose – the planning of office rooms – in an ideal manner but it does not offer an immersive experience regarding the planned office. Instead, it only provides an abstract view within a complex software on a two-dimensional screen.

Furthermore: the customer relies on visits of the sales representative in order to follow the planning progress.

Implementation

A plugin for the planning software integrates a network component into the latter. This network component allows the planning software to communicate and exchange data using a specially developed VR application. The communication takes place either directly between the planning software and the VR app or via a proxy. At the touch of a button, the plugin exports the entire 3D geometry currently opened in the planning software and transfers it to the VR app. The aforementioned proxy makes it possible to do this not only within local networks (through file shares) but also remotely via the Internet. In this way, the operator of the planning software and the user of the VR application may be located in completely different places.

Once the VR application has received all information on the 3D geometries, these are imported at runtime. The office room is built up in 3D in front of the user’s eyes. The user can now move, rotate or completely remove the furniture in VR. Every change made by the customer is fed back to the planning software via the network component and carried out there as well. This allows the sales representative to see every change made by the customer. Of course, the sales representative can still modify the planning as well (for instance, insert new furniture or reconfigure furniture already added). At the touch of a button, the current planning status is then updated in real time in the customer’s VR view.

Team

  • Junior Researcher
    Digital Technologies Research Group
    Institute of Creative\Media/Technologies
  • Department of Media and Digital Technologies
P: +43/2742/313 228 686
  • Student Researcher
    Digital Technologies Research Group
    Institute of Creative\Media/Technologies
  • Department of Media and Digital Technologies
  • Research Assistant
    Digital Technologies Research Group
    Institute of Creative\Media/Technologies
  • Department of Media and Digital Technologies