SPIE develops a mixed reality solution for construction sites

Saint-Denis, 6 October 2020 – The Tertiary division of SPIE Industrie & Tertiaire, a subsidiary of the SPIE Group, the leading independent European provider of multi-technical services in the fields of energy and communications, has developed a new mixed reality solution in collaboration with NEXT-BIM to exploit the full potential of BIM on construction sites and facilitate on-site interventions.

An innovative solution adapted to SPIE's businesses

For nearly two years, SPIE and NEXT-BIM, the specialist in the development of augmented reality software solutions, have been working together to create a mixed reality solution adapted to the environments and technical constraints of the construction sites of SPIE Industrie & Tertiaire’s Tertiary division.

“The solutions that existed on the market were not satisfactory: the model could only be displayed by means of a system of QR codes that had to be placed precisely on the walls. However, on a construction site, the walls and partitions are not all built at the time of our intervention and it is therefore impossible to place these QR Codes. What’s more, this system is restrictive because it requires tedious preparation of the site before each intervention,” explains Anna Truong, innovation manager in the Tertiary division of SPIE Industrie & Tertiaire. SPIE and NEXT-BIM therefore came up with a solution that does not require the use of QR codes.

It enables the benefits of intelligent 3D digital mock-ups to be exploited on Microsoft HoloLens 2 headsets. Specifically, the solution, which uses mixed reality technology, allows the headsets to reposition the virtual model on the real environment from two walls treated as a “starting point”.

The user of the helmet can then move around the construction site in mixed reality with an automatic and permanent recalibration of the model on the real environment.

Simplifying interventions on building sites

This new tool simplifies work on construction sites, both new and renovation projects. It can be used in a number of ways: to check that the reservations made by the structural contractor comply with expectations, to preview the equipment positioned in a technical room and better prepare the work, to measure the progress of the site, to validate the conformity of the installations at the end of the site, or to control and monitor the lifting of reservations, etc. All of this is permanently linked to the digital model and its latest updates. For example, the mixed reality solution was recently used in the construction of a data centre for a banking group, or in the context of climate engineering work for the construction of clean rooms for a pharmaceutical group.

“It was essential for us to be able to ensure the correlation between the design work and the reality of the site. With this technology, teams can quickly and easily project themselves onto the site,” says Kevin Kernn, Director of Business Development and Strategy for SPIE’s Commercial division. Kevin Kernn, Director of Business Development and Strategy for SPIE Industrie & Tertiaire’s Tertiary Division, said. “Through this immersive solution, it is now possible to give substance to the model at the very heart of the site. Our teams in the field are really gaining in efficiency,” he continues.

The mixed reality visualisation of the BIM model is also very useful for training new employees working on site. It enables them to better understand their work environment. This project was recognised internally and won a prize at the SPIE France Innovation Challenge.

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