COVID-19: 3D Virtual Visits, As If You Were There

21 April, 2020 | Blog

Mathieu Brochu

Mathieu Brochu

Visual simulation specialist

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The current COVID-19 crisis could profoundly transform our relationships with clients, suppliers and colleagues. Since the pandemic hit Canada, virtually every aspect of our lives has been turned upside down, including, of course, the way we work. When COVID-19 is behind us, Canada will have changed, as will some of our business practices.

Many industrial sites have completely or partially closed following measures to contain the spread of the virus. As a consulting engineering firm whose vision extends beyond engineering, BBA must do everything possible to meet client and personnel requirements while minimizing employee travel.

Progress in immersive technologies over the past few years sheds a new light on our practices and allows us to solve problems related to accessing projects and sites. These immersive tools serve as a way of responding to this new reality.

360-degree virtual visits: A simple solution to complex problems

A virtual visit simulates a physical site visit using a series of 360-degree photographs. This technology, commonly used to visit museums, tourist attractions or points of interest remotely, can be very useful in the fields of engineering and planning. This simple camera can capture immersive 360-degree photos and videos.

Different perspectives can then be stitched together, as with Google Street View, for example. This allows the viewer to move from one image to the next in an immersive manner. It is also possible to add sounds or interactive pieces of information.

Virtual visits are an efficient option that requires little investment in time and material. After just one hour of training, a technician will be able to survey an entire site. As a complement to more exhaustive surveys such as 3D scans, virtual visits offer several advantages:

  • Low-cost surveys
  • Minimal training required to operate the equipment
  • Ability to group several 360 photos together and connect them using hyperlinks (interactive visit)
  • No specialized playback software necessary; distributed simply via Internet link
  • Ability to capture 360-degree photos and videos using a drone or vehicle
  • Ability to view the result using a virtual reality headset
  • Ability to add ambient sound or sound simulations
  • Ability to extract standard photographs
  • Ability to simulate a design project within the 360-degree photo
  • Considerable added value compared to standard photography

Multiple uses

A virtual visit will never replace a site visit, but it is a practical alternative for hard-to-reach sites. The immersive aspect of this type of visit can help us understand a space and meet various needs, such as:

  • Photographic surveying to better understand a site
  • Virtual bidding for remote or inaccessible sites
  • Monitoring the evolution of a site using images over time
  • Remote employee training
  • Interactive maintenance manuals
  • Public communications
  • Advertising

In conclusion, virtual visits offer many significant advantages, especially when physical site visits are more difficult. If you have any questions about what technology to use or the best practices to adopt to obtain results that meet your expectations, our team of experts is here to help you.

Virtual tour examples

This content is for general information purposes only. All rights reserved ©BBA

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