Ahead of the curve: How early tech adoption facilitated business continuity and innovation during COVID-19
In March of 2020, organizations around the world were forced to quickly pivot to a new way of working. Responsible for designing and managing major construction, environmental, and infrastructure projects, Arcadis turned to already-adopted digital tools to continue engaging their clients and protecting their workforce.
Already well-versed in the value of 360° photo capture, Arcadis employees frequently used the technology to advance projects and connect team members in different geographies. With 360° photo capture implemented, Arcadis was able to continue providing pivotal engineering expertise and move projects forward despite the pandemic. Their teams captured photos of sites using fewer crew members; allowed remote, virtual access to those who needed it; and were able to simplify stakeholder communication. Without physically traveling to the site, team members used HoloBuilder tools to review progress, identify issues, and make informed decisions. Clients stayed engaged and informed which is critical to Arcadis’ goal of delivering memorable, positive client experiences.
Memorable projects and lasting outcomes
Arcadis is committed to delivering a positive experience for their clients during the pandemic. Fortunately, they had already laid the groundwork for further 360° photo adoption for projects where clients needs or availability changed.
Prior to COVID-19 Arcadis had prioritized establishing best practices around 360° technology and its use on projects. Their team developed guides for capturing photos on-site and to set up the process for a project. Digital champions raised internal awareness of technology and tools like HoloBuilder so it was easier and faster to scale company-wide. These efforts helped them implement the technology quickly and seamlessly once COVID-19 restrictions were put in place.
Arcadis teams found that 360° photos contributed to exceptional client outcomes by organizing pre-construction planning, offering virtual site walks, documenting construction activities, supporting inspections, operating and maintaining facilities post-construction, managing assets and using them as a collaboration tool with stakeholders.
Arcadis learned from these early success stories to continue finding new value for the technology with health and safety restrictions in place. Common success stories include:
- 3D designs: Combining 3D model technology with 360° photos allows the Arcadis team to compare the 100% design model to the actual site conditions.
- Progress documentation: One of the more frequent uses of HoloBuilder on Arcadis projects is to monitor development over time. Documenting site progress lets them go back in time and look at things during an earlier stage to see what is behind a wall for example.
- Rendered 3D objects: Arcadis has used the technology to place small design elements into 360° images for stakeholder review. For a green infrastructure project, the team placed components of the design into a 360° photo of a residential neighborhood to give stakeholders a better understanding of the final outcome.
- Asset management: Once a project is completed, Arcadis uses HoloBuilder to tag every asset at the site including its nameplate, barcode, etc. They create an interactive site tour available to everyone who needs it, giving them the ability to interact with it after the build stage.
From the initial phases of a project to ongoing management after completion, Arcadis uses 360° photos and HoloBuilder technology to continue engaging clients and moving projects forward, regardless of where stakeholders or team members are located.
Shaping construction’s digital future
360° photos and other digital technologies are instrumental in helping companies like Arcadis maintain their competitive edge. However, to get the most value from the tools and produce positive outcomes, the implementation has long been a hands-on process.
“We solicit feedback from clients and staff and encourage outside-the-box thinking when it comes to new ideas and uses for this technology,” said Allison Yanites, Immersive Technology Lead for Arcadis. “Virtual tools are becoming more accepted in the industry and we believe 360° photo capture absolutely has a role to play. As an organization, we’ve committed fully to understanding the value this technology can play for our clients and in helping them achieve their ultimate goals smoothly.”
Prior to COVID-19 Arcadis knew the sheer number of people who can have a virtual presence on-site without the time and cost of travel, providing a return on their investment in 360° site capture and HoloBuilder. With today’s site restrictions, the ability to access projects with the technology has amplified its value. In many cases, employees were able to continue working on projects that would have otherwise been completely inaccessible. At the Festival of BIM & Digital Construction, Yanites spoke about other ways 360° technology created value for their organization.
With HoloBuilder, Arcadis is able to:
- Improve safety with fewer people on-site
- Reduce costs for time and travel to visit sites
- More efficiently document progress with photos that are automatically stored in one, easy-to-retrieve location
- Speed up decision making. Team members can now virtually visit a remote site in near real-time, which is often necessary to make informed decisions.
- Enhance communications using tools to add notes, to embed details, and to communicate within the project design. This is especially important when working with large project teams.
While pandemic restrictions amplified the need for 360° photo capture and HoloBuilder technology across Arcadis’ organization, the safety protections, cost benefits, and client engagement opportunities will continue to transform projects positively well into the future.
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