The Immersive Economy Report in the UK 2019 highlights sectors that are driving the development of immersive technologies. Bernadette Fallon explores how the UK’s construction industry is embracing VR, AR and MR to help improve efficiency, safety and beyond.
The Immersive Economy Report in the UK 2019, a co-publication from Immerse UK and Digital Catapult, points to a measured upswing in the adoption of immersive technologies in the UK’s construction sector. Exploring British projects on both a national and global scale, the report looks at the changes and challenges afoot within the industry in the immersive technology space.
The benefits highlighted are manifold and include:
- Improved collaboration and communication through the ability to experience rather than explain;
- Enhanced project optimisation and efficiency;
- Better safety measures, training potential and cost management;
- Ability to better meet the needs of users and deliver improved public communications.
The prospective gains have the potential to greatly benefit a sector that is predicted to grow in output by 1.3% a year, creating 168,500 jobs in the period up to 2022, with public housing surpassing infrastructure as the area predicted to see the best growth in the coming years. (Figures from the Construction Skills Network report 2019-2023)
There are increasing calls within the industry for awareness raising and education to demonstrate the art of what’s possible using immersive technology in this space, as well as skills training, universal benchmarks and knowledge sharing. To this end, the i3P platform was set up to foster a collaborative culture of innovation across infrastructure clients and their supply chains.
Key players with an interest in immersive technology in the sector include commissioning clients and the tier one supply chains of designers and builders, whose interests overlap. However, in a traditional environment such as this, where change is often seen as a threat, empowerment and increased adoption is needed from senior enterprise leaders, government and government bodies.