Thinking Outside the Cardboard Box

by Balfour Beatty
Over the past several years, many contractors—Balfour Beatty included—have begun integrating hardwired Virtual Reality (VR) headsets into the early stages of preconstruction and design, with most use cases centering on creating 3D renderings of Building Information Models (BIM). While the adoption of hardwired VR headsets is revolutionary, the hardware’s weight and cost often limit its applications. Balfour Beatty teammates in the Carolinas have pioneered the use of cardboard VR headsets, developing new and exciting applications for this technology that enhance our clients’ construction experience.

Cheaper than Starbucks - Cardboard headsets cost approximately $6 per unit, compared to $400-$800 for traditional VR headsets.

Simple as a Smartphone - Virtual renderings are created in the fashion of a 360-degree, stereo panorama image and then configured into a QR code. Users scan the QR code with a free smartphone app, place their phones into the cardboard headset, and are instantly transported into the project.

Satisfaction and Savings - These headsets can be used in preconstruction to allow owners and facility managers the opportunity to step into a digital model of their project and provide feedback regarding design and constructability modifications. Quick adaptations to plans and materials can prevent costly change orders after construction has commenced.

VR On the Go - The cardboard headsets do not require a connection to a super-computer, which allows for easy transport and application in presentations and meetings.

On Your Own Time - With such ease of transport, these headsets can be taken back to owners’ offices and conveniently referenced to facilitate ongoing project dialogue.