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Virtual reality

Digital Construction Week 2017

Our BIM Manager Ashley Williams recently attended Digital Construction Week 2017 at the ExCel Centre in London. The exhibition featured an array of presentations, showcasing industry leading technology and its implementation on projects. The key features from the exhibition for D2 Rail, were presentations at the BIM and Visualisation seminar stages and the discussions being held at the BIM Clinic.

During the 2 day event there were many talks which were heavily focused on Level 2 Compliance, Common Data Environments (CDE) and their management, and single source of truth.  This allowed Ashley to concentrate upon the engineering industry’s common views on BIM strategies and also explore the BIM level currently being achieved by different companies.

Part of the crucial development of D2 Rail’s BIM team, is the knowledge that the guidance we are providing is in line with the rest of industry.  On returning to HQ in Manchester, Ashley sat down with D2 Rail’s Programme Information Manager Sarah Barnes, to discuss his findings. The BIM team are delighted to report that its operation and the delivery of its BIM services match or exceed those of whom we spoke with at the event, and that the BIM team will continue to deliver its services under the same precedence.  D2 Rail’s Information Management team recognises the value in maintaining a well-structured CDE, as it acts as the foundation of all the good work the team does to ensure that all client engagements are managed effectively.

Alongside the presentation and clinics being held on BIM, Ashley also had the opportunity to attend talks on the latest visualisation tools being utilised today, and interact with Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) devices. The use of VR headsets was largely apparent at the event, with many of the stands demonstrating its application. With VR now being utilised within the rail industry, it was interesting to understand the different approaches companies throughout the engineering sector were utilising VR for. Many of these can translate between allied sectors and have sparked some great ideas that D2 Rail’s Visualisation team look forward to implementing on future projects.

With VR becoming more common, it was fascinating to see the introduction of Augmented Reality. Ashley was able to gain some first hand experience with the new Microsoft HoloLens, which is now coming to the latter stages of its development. The use of AR is something the visualisation industry within engineering has been discussing over the recent years and the introduction of the HoloLens is an exciting prospect.  D2 Rail’s Visualisation team will be keeping a close eye on the development and release of AR kits such as the HoloLens and hope to add these to the evergrowing list of visualisation services and techniques that they can provide.

On returning from the event, D2 Rails BIM Manager Ashley Williams had to say:

“It has been a successful 2 days spent at Digital Construction Week 2017 and incredibly useful to learn that our BIM and Information Management teams are working in tangent with other industries in their approach to BIM, as well as discovering new techniques for Virtual Reality and new Augmented Reality hardware.

We look forward to what next year’s conference brings.”

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