The founders of InsiteVR had a vision: use virtual reality (VR) technology and BIM (Building Information Modeling) to enable immersive design and construction coordination meetings. The idea was to let project teams “gather” in 3D design models to spot issues and collaborate to enhance designs before—or even during—construction. Where others were using VR for client presentations, InsiteVR created collaborative 3D environments. Many leading design and construction firms have adopted InsiteVR technology. They find that they can bring all project stakeholders together to work through issues. Plus, it’s easier to identify visual clashes that interference detection tools have difficulty spotting. Users like that InsiteVR works with sophisticated VR computing systems and standalone viewers, making it easy for any project stakeholder to join a meeting with a minimal equipment investment.
When InsiteVR launched, it included integrations with Revit building design software and Navisworks project review software. To start a meeting, users simply had to upload the latest design model to InsiteVR. Then InsiteVR optimized the data for VR viewing—but it was a process that took as long as 30 minutes for very large models. In addition, users occasionally forgot to upload the models prior to coordination meetings, slowing their ability to launch quick collaboration sessions. InsiteVR saw that many of these same users had already shared design models with BIM 360 online construction management software, so the InsiteVR development team decided to integrate with BIM 360 so that customers could more quickly access the latest design models for coordination meetings.
How InsiteVR solved it with Forge.
InsiteVR decided to try Forge APIs to make BIM 360 part of its immersive meeting workflows. The BIM 360 API did exactly what InsiteVR wanted, which was to seamlessly connect its solution to design models stored and shared in the cloud through BIM 360. As the InsiteVR team dug deeper, they realized that the BIM 360 API would help them quickly add features they’d planned to develop in-house, including integrated issue management and design option support.
With the BIM 360 API at the core of their effort, the team looked into other available APIs. They decided on the Web Hooks API to automate the process of knowing when to optimize model data for VR viewing, and the Data Management API helps manage issues and other data. While InsiteVR is a viewing solution itself, the team even found a role for the Forge Viewer: to provide preview model views of design sections, helping users visually navigate to the sections of models where they want to hold immersive coordination meetings.
Forge highlights include the following:
- Saving as much as 6 months of development time for issue management and design option support
- Helping customers launch immersive meetings instantly using the most up-to-date model
- Speeding the process of addressing visual clashes by making VR coordination part of BIM 360 workflows
"Replicating the work we’ve done using Forge would have required several additional developers." -Angel Say, CEO and Co-Founder, InsiteVR