3D Repo and Freeform transform HS2 training with 4D tools
A new customisable online training tool is now in development by specialists in cloud-based BIM and digital twins, 3D Repo, in collaboration with 4D consultancy, Freeform, and Balfour Beatty Vinci JV.
The new tool will replace generic training videos and presentations with live walkthroughs of site-specific 4D (construction sequencing) visualisations based on existing BIM models that can be understood in any language.
Generic safety training will be replaced by real-time, site-specific visualisations delivered via an easy-to-use cloud-based user interface. Health and safety aspects will be coordinated with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Discovering Safety Programme, to enhance opportunities for compliance and reusability across other contractors.
Funding for the new training system is provided through a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) innovation competition funded by High Speed Two (HS2) and managed by Innovate UK. The competition aims to deliver innovation that will drive project efficiencies and process for use during the design and construction phase of HS2.
Dr Jozef Dobos, CEO at 3D Repo said: “Inductions and onboarding in UK construction are usually delivered using generic PowerPoint slides, pre-recorded videos and printed questionnaires. Our new training solution will enable site personnel to quickly and easily generate engaging site-specific induction materials that are easy to comprehend and therefore reduce accidents and near-misses through better quality training.”
Dan Fawcett, Head of Innovation & Transformation at Balfour Beatty Vinci, added: “Our number one priority is to be ‘Be Safe and Well’ when constructing HS2, and BBV’s work on 4D Constructability Reviews with 3D Repo to date is a great example of innovating to improve health and safety. Introducing further collaboration with Freeform and HSE to build on this work is yet another step forward in ensuring no injury, ill health or incident is caused by our work activities.”
James Bowles, Founder of Freeform, said: “4D models use graphical and non-graphical project information including time, resource, and logistics management to create more predictable, robust plans and sequences. With 3D Repo, we are developing a novel online tool which allows for simple planning and visualisation of intricate tasks to improve health and safety not only on HS2, but for the entire construction industry.”
Using the power of the cloud, the new training system will also provide centralised tracking of induction performance with full audit trail and reporting to measure effectiveness.
Work on the new 4D health and safety tool began in March 2021 and follows on from a recent announcement about adoption of new SafetiBase 4D technology which allows workers to safely identify and resolve issues using immersive 360º screens.
XYZ Reality receives £20m to develop Assisted Reality
Founded in 2017, XYZ Reality aims to "revolutionise" the construction sector with its Engineering-Grade Augmented Reality (AR) solution, Holosite.
Designed to enable an on time and on budget delivery of construction projects, by eliminating building errors, HoloSite has been available to select customers through an early access programme and has already been used on projects totalling a value of over £1.5bn in the last year.
With approximately 98% of construction megaprojects facing cost overruns or delays and 7-11% of project costs being spent on correcting errors, XYZ Reality’s purpose-built integrated AR solution directly addresses these issues.
With its safety certified AR hardhat, cloud platform and in-built proprietary software, Holosite accurately positions high fidelity 3D design models on construction sites, enabling teams to build it right, first time. The technology system has been used on complex construction projects including data centres, pharmaceutical facilities and airports.
This funding will be used to accelerate the company’s ambition of transforming projects by preparing for HoloSite’s commercial launch in the USA and continuing investment in strengthening research and development. The company is also growing its London team to include key hires across technology, manufacturing, sales and marketing.
David Mitchell, Founder and CEO of XYZ Reality, said developing its engineering-Grade AR solution helping construction teams identify errors in real-time is just the start.
"The next phase is Assisted Reality, where our spatial computing technology will have the intelligence to automatically detect and report issues in the field. And ultimately, the goal is builders building from holograms. Our vision of developing world changing products aligns with Octopus Ventures’ mission of investing in companies that are powering the next industrial revolution. We look forward to building history.”
The latest round of funding is led by Octopus Ventures, one of the largest and most active venture investors in Europe, known for its commitment of investing in companies and founders that are changing the world. Octopus Ventures has a strong track record, spanning investment in health, fintech, consumer, B2B software, and deep tech. This includes WaveOptics, one of Octopus Ventures’ early investments in Augmented Reality, which was recently acquired by Snap Inc.
Rebecca Hunt, early-stage investor at Octopus Ventures, said: "We’ve always invested in entrepreneurs leading industry change and XYZ is doing just that. It's solving a massive problem that costs the construction industry billions every year, using its Engineering-Grade Augmented Reality solution to spearhead a shift in the sector’s approach. The founding team of David, Umar and Murray have deep domain and technical expertise, which we believe makes XYZ uniquely placed to drive this transformation.”
XYZ Reality also announces a new partnership with Mace, for the construction of a hyper-scale data centre in Europe. With speed to market being particularly essential for mission critical builds, HoloSite’s AR technology will have a significant role in supporting an accurate and time effective build for Mace, which last week appointed Jon McElroy its new Managing Director for International Technology.
Mace Technical Director, Stephen Henley, said: “Mace has built a reputation of redefining the boundaries of ambition, always bringing efficiency, innovation and responsibility to our projects. With the implementation of XYZ’s groundbreaking AR system, we continue to be committed to delivering projects faster, safer and better than ever before.”
Five years ago, Heather Bellini of Goldman Sachs Research expected virtual and augmented reality to become an $80 billion market by 2025.
But according to new research by global tech market advisory firm ABI Research, nearly 28 million augmented and mixed reality smart glasses will ship in 2026, while the total global AR/MR market will surpass $175 billion in the same year.
"Major tech players across hardware, software, and services look familiar in the consumer space, contributing to strong and consistent overall growth," says Eric Abbruzzese, Research Director for ABI Research. "Those big tech names, with active investment and product ranging from already available, to announced, to all-but-announced, are creating a consumer AR market that will be dynamic and welcoming rather than struggling and immature."