Augmented Reality and what it means to the Construction IT community.

As our world becomes increasingly digitized, so does our ability to connect with it. Imagine if you could search your surroundings the same way you search the web. Augmented reality(AR) is one such technology which enables us to interact with the real environment. The recent Apple keynote gave us a real sneak peek into how common augmented reality would be in the future. 10years back Apple showed us a device, which revolutionised the way how we interact with technology. And now, 10 years later, there is a high probability for AR to bring on a new revolution on how we interact with the digital world. Some of the readers of this article might have a question in their minds, “what is Augmented reality?“ Augmented reality is the real-time integration of digital information with the user’s environment. Unlike virtual reality, which creates a totally artificial environment, augmented reality uses the existing environment and overlays additional information on top of it. An explanation of augmented reality cannot be complete mentioning the reality virtuality continuum. Figure 1 represents the reality virtuality continuum as proposed by Milgram et al.(1995). It defines augmented reality in a space between a completely modeled and an un-modeled world i.e. in between a real and virtual environment.

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BIM implementation in India

In India, Architecture, Engineering, Construction and Operation (AECO) industry is the second largest industry after agriculture industry. Indian AECO industry employs more than 35 million people, has second highest inflow of foreign direct investment after services sector, and contributes to about 11.1% of India’s GDP (Mohideen 2015). Recent initiatives set by Indian government, such as Make in India, is serving to grow the AECO industry. There are many mega projects undertaken recently, e.g. high-end road ways or express ways, metro train projects and proposed bullet train project between two cities of India, i.e. Mumbai and Ahmedabad. The initiation of these projects necessitates focus on various technical and non-technical aspects along with technologies, especially the infrastructure for these initiatives (Amarnath et al. 2016).

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Benefits of diffusing BIM technology and workflows in AECO projects.

   There are several benefits of diffusing BIM technologies and processes with set of protocols adopted while delivering Architecture, Engineering, Construction and Operation (hereinafter AECO) projects. Few of the uses while diffusing BIM in the process of delivering building projects (well known as BIM Uses) are improved visualization, enhanced planning, accurate cost estimation, model based simulation and analysis, construction tracking, safety planning, etc. BIM Uses are the project deliverables that can be expected from the process of generating, collaborating-on and linking the building models to external databases. In simple words, the BIM Use represents the interactions between a user and a modeling system to generate building model-based deliverables (Source: The BIMe Dictionary). 

For the BIM project to be successful, it is well known for the Global AECO industry that, BIM project and its deliverables are the end products which needs to be delivered by the AEC organizations to the owner organizations as expected. And, it is essential to confirm that: which are the BIM uses expected by the client? What BIM tools need to be adopted while delivering expected BIM uses? Who are the stakeholders need to be involved while delivering each of these BIM Uses? In which stage of the project does these BIM Uses delivery occur? How to deliver these BIM Uses asper client expectations? And many more questions arise that needs to be answered during the BIM project delivery.

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Educational and research issues while delivering BIM education in Academia.

This study is undertaken to identify issues involved while delivering BIM education in academia and regarding which BIM field players need to play an active role in resolving them. Globally, policy field players are integrating BIM education into academia. And, during this process of BIM incorporation in academics, policy field players had come across several complications. In the past, few active BIM educationalists & researchers had attempted to identify issues associated with BIM education & established few strategies to overcome them. However, efforts are essential towards collecting the issues involved while adopting BIM education in academia and to categorize these issues, for identifying which BIM field players must invest their efforts in resolving BIM educational issues. Our study assembles the BIM educational issues & categorize them into three different field issues, i.e. policy, technology and process as presented in Fig 1. These issues that has been generated while delivering BIM education in academia, need to be addressed by respective BIM field players for effective BIM diffusion into academia.

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The BIM Knowledge, Skills & Behaviors that AECO Discipline Students Must Possess

AECO industry is inclined towards employing graduates with exposure to BIM tools, techniques and processes. In line with today’s AECO industry necessities, universities are running a wide range of BIM courses, for exposing AECO students to this new paradigm shift. However, today’s academic BIM education is not completely integrated with other AECO programs in Tertiary Education System (TES). BIM education in academia has a history of almost two and half (2.5) decades.

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Tertiary Education Framework for Delivering Academic BIM Education.

Nowadays, mega projects are mostly located in developing countries with emerging economies. And, outsourcing of engineering works has been relocated to overseas facilities which are able to offer lower wages for best value. The success of such construction project depends on the ability of individuals to work together in an open and trustful environment (Becker et al. 2011). To educate and train AECO discipline students for these works, tertiary education programs are designed to discuss unique project types, with application of innovative means and methods.  Building Information Modeling (BIM) promotes trans-disciplinary, inter-level, multinational collaborations with different project stakeholders across the project life cycle (Eastman et al. 2011). And, BIM courses are essential in tertiary education system (TES) for producing ‘BIM-ready’ graduates, who can work in collaborative working environments. Continue reading “Tertiary Education Framework for Delivering Academic BIM Education.”

The Approach of Global Field Players in Delivering BIM Education.

Globally, architectural, engineering, construction and operation (AECO) industry is delivering complex projects with Building Information Modeling (BIM) in the project processes and workflows. And, AECO industry is inclined towards employing graduates with exposure to BIM tools, techniques and processes. In line with today’s AECO industry necessities, universities are running a wide range of BIM courses, for exposing AECO students to this new paradigm shift. However, today’s academic BIM education is not completely integrated with other AECO programs in Tertiary Education System (TES). Hence, this study draws on a review and analysis of publications related to BIM teaching practices in academia. Here, textual and content analysis methods were employed to arrange qualitative textual data into similar sets of entities or conceptual categories to analyze current global BIM education trends. In this study, review and analysis of BIM education related publications indicated that, BIM technology and processes related knowledge is currently at different levels of realization across the globe. Continue reading “The Approach of Global Field Players in Delivering BIM Education.”