Tools vs. Toys

A year ago I still thought VR was an interesting experiment – more toy than tool.

How things have changed in a year.

If you attended AU a few weeks ago it seemed that you couldn’t turn left or right without running into a software provider that had VR ready solution as part of their offerings. From early design visualization through post-construction AR, the technology has come a long way and finally seems to becoming well suited to being a viable part of your BIM workflow.

At the moment it seems we’re using AR and VR to improve existing workflow (new tools doing old things). But in less than a decade I suspect we’ll start a transition to new kinds of workflow that previously didn’t exist (new tools doing new things).

Think of cell phones. The first cell phones were for improving existing limitations: making calls without being restricted to location. Now? I don’t think I use my cell phone for making calls more than 10% of the time. The rest of the time I’m replying to emails, navigating via maps, checking stocks and lurking on social media.

But before this happens there needs to be a shift in AR / VR to really democratize the technology:

– Faster internet speeds. Especially for mobile applications. – Less cumbersome / less bulk. Move over carpel tunnel, hello VR neck. – More subtle interactivity. The office of the future can’t have people virtually interacting like their swatting at wasps. – Less stupid looking. Have you seen what you look like wearing one of these things? Like a giant insect is eating your brain. – Finally, we need some agreed upon social norms. This is bad enough. We can’t have more of this:

Rant over. :)

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