Today, construction companies have more choice than ever before when it comes to technology. Not only are software solutions proliferating construction businesses, but innovative hardware is becoming prevalent on the jobsite.
Twenty years ago, technology-forward companies were setting up infrastructure to have laptops and internet at jobsites. Ten years later, we saw smart phones and tablets becoming an industry standard. Now, wearables and extended reality (XR) devices are becoming increasingly common on jobsites.
One company providing these wearables is RealWear, delivering ruggedized wearable, hands-free assisted reality devices (on the XR spectrum, but closer to physical world) to improve safety and efficiency. And Permasteelisa Group, is one of those innovative companies driving technology forward. Permasteelisa Group is a global leader in the engineering, project management, manufacturing, installation and after-sales service of advanced building facades, architectural envelopes, and interiors.
Part of Permasteelisa’s promise to its clients is to leverage integrated and digitized processes that help ensure high quality and safety while improving management of the large amount of information that characterizes modern curtain wall projects. Permasteelisa has used Autodesk Construction Cloud products for many years to connect design and field teams to solve challenges posed by “free-form” projects such as the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao or the Olympic Fish in Barcelona.
Permasteelisa Group specializes in curtain wall projects, where there are multiple control activities that must be carried out on exposed areas, or in some cases, on the floor edge at considerable heights and in confined spaces, where handling a tablet can be dangerous. The need to access information and capture notes is still present on projects like this, but it is also crucial to maximize the safety of workers on site.
In a recent press release, RealWear announced a new and exciting integration with Autodesk® BIM 360™, built in collaboration with Permasteelisa, to solve exactly that challenge. The result was a connected, multimedia device that allows repetitive control operations to be carried out onsite using voice commands, keeping the operator’s hands free for the work. The integration with BIM 360 has helped them optimize time spent in high-risk spaces on the jobsite, reduce the risk of errors, and improve collaboration between all different stakeholders.
“Running BIM 360 on a RealWear device will be a gamechanger, keeping us on the cutting edge of technology and innovation,” said Gordon Earle, Group Operations Executive, Permasteelisa Group. “We are excited to deploy the devices to empower and retain our best workers by outfitting them with a full solution that will make them safer and more productive, delivered by two of the leading technology players in the field.”
The primary reason Permasteelisa approached RealWear to develop the integration was to enable the execution of hands-free checklists. With this seamless integration, the team can inspect the quality of a curtain wall project while at great heights and maintain employee safety, helping to ensure safe quality deliveries for their clients.
With this integration, teams can now also hands-free videoconferencing and live sharing of high-resolution images or videos. The project’s field team can bring their colleagues from the other side of the world with them to the construction site for a virtual general inspection or to observe a specific detail.
“Delivering BIM 360 on the RealWear HMT-1 hands-free assisted reality device means that worker safety is enhanced,” says Gordon Earle. “During the pandemic, this has also helped us limit travel as much as possible, which has been crucial to mitigate the virus and keeping our teams safe.”
Looking to the future, leaders at Permasteelisa also see this as a great way to avoid international travels for simple, half-day meetings on site that can now be executed virtually with a wearable.
The advantages, in terms of collaboration and efficiency gains from an integration like this, are evident. For example, the Senior Designer of a project can check the construction site as soon as a potential issue emerges, in real time—resolving field issues remotely from the office. Travel times have been significantly reduced, keeping projects moving forward more efficiently. The video conferencing also allows a seasoned manager to scale across multiple projects and teams, by avoiding in-person meetings. Teams located in different countries can work in real time, favouring collaboration across the different time zones. Thanks to the integration of BIM 360, RealWear HMT-1 and Permasteelisa’s internal systems, the information captured by the field team is immediately available to colleagues, regardless of location.
If you’d like to learn more about the RealWear and Autodesk BIM 360 integration, you can check out their RealWear’s press release here.