Mixed reality allows for immersive collaboration for remote teams

The drastic shift towards an increase in remote work triggered by the pandemic represents a real problem for those industries that carry out complex projects that rely heavily on the use of 3D data, such as the construction sectors, l engineering and manufacturing.

Sharing this data using 2D screens does not allow them to be examined in the same detail, which can make communication and consensus building difficult and ultimately becomes the main source of delays in complex projects.

Virtual and Augmented Reality (XR) solutions offer a potential solution to this problem, as they allow teams to work directly with 3D data and collaborate more effectively. However, cutting-edge XR solutions can be difficult to use for all organizations except the largest. Without an in-house development team and the significant investment it represents, it remains a purely R&D concern rather than having a significant impact on the organization as a whole.

Democratizing access to XR technology requires an easier and more manageable solution. Fracture Reality JoinXR is a first 3D collaboration platform that leverages Microsoft HoloLens and Azure Services to put mission-critical 3D data at the center of meetings. It replaces video chat and screen sharing with realistic avatars and interactive holograms and can work directly with industrial CAD and BIM data, without the need for costly optimizations or conversions.

JoinXR provides turnkey access to Azure services for enterprise 3D data, including remote rendering of Azure. Working on its own, HoloLens finds a bottleneck when it displays data at about 250,000 polygons. Beyond that, your experience will degrade drastically. 3D business data typically starts in millions of polygons, so a different approach is needed.

Remote rendering uses Azure’s computing power to represent highly complex models of up to hundreds of millions of polygons in the cloud and transmit them in real time to the HoloLens device, allowing users to interact with their 3D content in the details they need. With JoinXR, organizations can start using this service in streamlined, multi-user meetings without prior technical setup, with a quick change.

This easy-to-use package simplifies the use of XR technology, saving organizations time and money in its implementation. And once in place, it can offer several benefits to meeting communication. By incorporating everyone into a single 3D meeting space, the limitations of screen sharing no longer apply. The experience of being present in a combined physical / virtual space allows you to maintain stronger links between remote computers around the world without the need for expensive and environmentally harmful travel.

One of the areas where JoinXR can be particularly useful is product design or review. If an organization is carrying out a large costly construction project, it is crucial that the relevant people can monitor it and approve its progress. Viewing project plans using Join XR allows for meaningful discussions about a project’s progress, based on the very detailed data that is now presented to them. In addition, this data will always be taken from the most up-to-date project files, due to JoinXR’s ability to use the original CAD files.

In addition, an XR presentation can provide a high-impact, persuasive sales tool. JoinXR provides the ability to create a structured presentation, helping to capture and hold attention in a way that the “sandbox” approach freely of many other 3D platforms cannot. The ability to examine a product in detail can also be very important in the sale of large and complex equipment, such as engineering machinery or plant, for example, as the model can be explored dynamically from micro to macro detail and in a range of different contexts “.

We have ambitious plans to extend the platform’s capabilities in the future. The launch of 5G networks will go hand in hand with mobile computing solutions like JoinXR that allow real-time visualization that was previously only available on high-end PC workstations.

We are also excited to work with Microsoft in the development of Microsoft Mesh. JoinXR offers an insight into the future of what will become Mesh, with cross-platform remote presence, complex data visualization, and photorealistic avatars, and we look forward to expanding these capabilities as part of the Mesh ecosystem.

Rob Minson is head of technology at Fracture Reality

This article was originally published in the summer 2021 issue of The Record. To get future numbers directly in your inbox, sign up for a free subscription.

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