Made in Europe: Designing the New Normal with XR visualisation tools


Visualisation and review tools have changed the rules of the game in modelling and designing industries. Until a few years ago, the most feasible way to view and edit 3D models was to generate the model on a computer featuring a 2D screen.

Nowadays, with the use of immersive technologies, especially VR and increasingly now as well AR, anyone with a headset can examine and modify CAD models with an extraordinary level of detail. In this case, the 3D model is displayed in front of the eyes; with the headset controllers, one can interact with and edit in real-time; and this is just the beginning.

Working with 3D models is a delicate and complex process. Therefore, the incursion of XR technologies in industries that constantly deal with these models, such as automotive, aviation or building services, has served to simplify these processes.

According to a recent report from Research Hub (2019), virtual reality CAD solutions users will grow by 100% over the next three to five years. The presumed decrease of VR/AR hardware prices will definitely help to establish this growth.

Saving money, time, ensuring privacy & fostering better collaborations.

These solutions have a direct influence in many industries and their benefits seem endless.

VR and AR for visualisation platforms have a big impact on companies finances as less money and time is spent before, during and after the design processes. By reducing in-person meetings, travelling costs and ecological costs disappear.

Building prototypes to show and experiment the final product design and quality is not necessary anymore. The time for any product to be launched into the market has been decreased, as these platforms simplify the whole process with great success. To this extent, VR/AR design tools for measuring, annotating and taking screenshots, allow a deeper understanding of the project while leaving more room for creativity.

Besides economics in time and money, the most important and immediate upside is better collaboration:

  • One can connect with their colleagues or clients from anywhere in the world while learning and working together with them as if being in the same room.
  • Being able to e-work on designs is an extraordinary advance in normal times, but it seems critical in the current times.
  • Communicate orally with the participants in the meeting via a microphone.
  • Add movement and physics to the product.
  • Versatility: access from a VR/AR headset, computer, or mobile devices.

Moreover, privacy & security are completely assured with these tools. The user can invite certain colleagues to work together on a design in a private space. Besides, as something so important like private projects needs to be stored in the safest way, these tools can be accessed without being online. Also, different roles can be assigned to the different meeting participants, making sure that everyone has the right permission to analyse, modify or simply view.

XR4ALL has identified several startups active in the EU in this specific field within XR. We decided to put the spotlight on these 5 fast-growing startups: Virtalis, Dimension10, VR-on, Techviz and WeAre. These companies already work with prestigious groups such as Renault, Airbus, Peugeot, Deutsche Telekom or Rolls Royce.

Virtalis 🇬🇧

Founded in 1989, Virtalis is an advanced VR visualisation company. The Sale-based startup offers services mainly in visualisation in manufacturing, helping organisations and individuals to make more informed decisions simultaneously while working.

They connect people and data using a common visual language and facilitate collaboration more effectively to make better and faster decisions. Additionally, they offer services of visualisation for design, to accelerate the product development phase, and visualisation for training, to learn from experience in a safe virtual world.

Dimension10 (Norway)

The Oslo-based startup, launched in 2014, allows the user to experience a 3D-design in virtual reality.

Their platform supports models from tools like Autodesk, Catia, Revit and many more. By using a VR headset, the user can drag & drop any 3D model in seconds.

Furthermore, their tool contributes to make better decisions, save time and identify design challenges together with colleagues or customers.

Dimension10 participates in projects within industries like construction. They are working together with the Norwegian AF Gruppen — the third-largest civil engineering and construction company in Norway — on a national road project. They helped AF Gruppen to identify design issues that were not able to be seen on 2D screens.

VR-on (Germany)

Launched in 2016, the Munich-based startup is focused on real-time communication and immersive visualisation. Through their multi-user platform STAGE, they allow professionals to collaborate on different designs in order to validate them with decision-makers.

To enhance this collaboration, virtual stickers, screenshots and annotations are available, with the possibility to export them to CSV right after a session. The user can also modify the visuals of a particular space, for instance, floors, lighting or wall paint in VR.

Apart from this, the platform supports use cases in training and market research. It can be used to train with complex machinery, risk-free together with an expert. As for market research, it is possible to present a product to potential clients while being in production.

Techviz (France)

Founded in 2004 and based in Paris, Techviz focuses on creating visualisation solutions for 3D applications and VR/AR collaboration in real-time. With their 3D visualisation software, 3D data can be viewed from over 200 compatible applications (Catia, Creo, NX, Navisworks and many more) in VR. Without data conversion, a model can be modified with their native CAD software Universal VR solution.

Their software, called Share&Viz, is compatible with well-known headsets brands as Dell, Oculus, HTC, XTAL, Pimax and Windows Mixed Reality to visualize a 3D model in VR. To avoid the so-called “motion sickness”, they optimise graphics without sacrificing quality nor detail.

WeAre (Germany)

Based in Bochum and founded in 2017, WeAre lets users overcome boundaries, work faster and more efficiently through VR. With their VR Prototyping Work with decentralized teams on virtual 3D CAD prototypes, it is possible to save time, reduce lead times and error rate before production.

And in a similar way as with the other platforms, they offer VR Meetings to avoid meeting costs and VR product showrooms to sell promising products even before they are built.

About XR4ALL

XR4ALL is an initiative funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme to push the XR European industry forward. XR4ALL aims to become a meeting point for the EU XR community. Innovative and groundbreaking EU XR technology and research will be featured in the portal forging a competitive and sustainable ecosystem of European technology providers active in XR.

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