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Impact of Emerging Technology Trends on the Architectural Visualisation Industry: A Survey Analysis

July 4, 2023

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The architectural visualisation industry is experiencing a significant transformation, driven by the rapid adoption of emerging technologies. A recent global survey of professionals in the architectural visualisation industry conducted by EnvisionVR Pty Ltd sheds light on the impact of these trends, providing valuable insights into the industry’s response and future directions. This article summarises the key findings of the survey, focusing on the adoption of virtual reality/augmented reality (VR/AR), artificial intelligence/diffusion models/machine learning (A.I./DM/ML), and the potential of the metaverse in the architectural visualisation sector.

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality:  

VR and AR technologies have gained traction within the architectural visualisation industry as powerful tools for showcasing designs. Stakeholders can now visualise and interact with building designs in a real-world context, offering an immersive and engaging experience. The survey indicates that a significant portion of respondents (33%) already offer VR/AR services, with an additional 20% planning to implement these technologies within the next 12-24 months.  

The adoption of VR/AR enables professionals to win more work, stand out from the competition, and improve communication with clients.

Artificial Intelligence, Diffusion Models, and Machine Learning:  

The integration of AI/DM/ML technologies is revolutionising the 3D modelling process in architectural visualisation. These technologies offer the potential to automate repetitive tasks, optimise designs based on specific parameters, and improve decision-making efficiency. The survey reveals that 39% of respondents anticipate a significant impact on the industry within the next 12-24 months due to the adoption of AI/DM/ML. Moreover, 20% of participants have already begun exploring the implementation of these technologies in their workflows. By leveraging AI/DM/ML, professionals can achieve time and cost savings while enhancing the overall quality of 3D models.

The Metaverse:  

The metaverse, envisioned as a fully-realised digital world, is yet to fully capture the attention of the architectural visualisation industry. The survey suggests that the majority of respondents (75%) do not foresee its immediate impact within the next 12-24 months. While uncertainty prevails, 17% of respondents express interest in exploring metaverse applications, recognising the potential for future business opportunities. The industry cautiously awaits client demand and further understanding of the metaverse’s advantages before venturing into untested territories.

Challenges and Opportunities:  

The survey highlights several challenges hindering the wider adoption of emerging technologies in architectural visualisation. High costs associated with creating VR/AR experiences pose a barrier, particularly for smaller firms operating on tighter budgets. Additionally, a lack of in-house expertise in AI/DM/ML implementation impedes progress. To address these challenges, the industry needs more affordable software solutions and investments in training and hiring skilled personnel.

Mr. Michael Shaw, CEO and Founder of EnvisionVR, acknowledges the challenges faced by architectural visualisation studios in adopting AR/VR technologies. He emphasises the company’s commitment to enabling more studios to embrace these transformative technologies. In a statement, he says, “At EnvisionVR, our goal is to make AR/VR adoption accessible and cost-effective for architectural visualisation studios of all sizes. We understand the financial constraints faced by smaller firms and are actively working on providing affordable software solutions.”

To overcome the lack of in-house expertise, Mr. Shaw adds, “We recognise the importance of creating a seamless workflow for architectural visualisation firms, eliminating the need to upskill staff on different modelling software. EnvisionVR is investing heavily in our 3ds Max plugin and automation process to allow any architectural visualisation firm to offer VR and AR to their clients. We aim to bridge the gap and drive widespread adoption of these technologies.”

The architectural visualisation industry is witnessing a transformative phase as emerging technologies reshape its landscape. The survey findings underscore the increasing adoption of VR/AR and AI/DM/ML, driven by the industry’s pursuit of innovation, improved efficiency, and competitive advantage. While challenges exist, industry leaders like EnvisionVR are actively working to address them by providing affordable solutions, fostering expertise, and facilitating seamless integration of AR/VR technologies into existing workflows. By embracing these emerging trends, architectural visualisation professionals can position themselves at the forefront of the industry, opening new avenues for growth and success.