A developing trend that we’ve been noticing (and encouraging) is the “democratization” of technology. What we mean by that is that there are a number of technologies that were once considered so complex and expensive that only a tiny number of people in an organization had access to them (and those people, of course, had a lot of power). But now, the cost and (apparent) complexity of these sophisticated technologies have come down so much that they are widely accessible to people throughout an organization.
3D Virtual Reality (VR) is a perfect example of this trend. For years, a few shipbuilders have used VR for design review, customer review, supply chain collaboration, project scheduling and other applications. Unfortunately however, this technology, including the generation of the virtual models from existing CAD tools has been too costly, complex, and rigid to be widely implemented.
That is changing.
It’s changing because a method now exists to dramatically simplify the creation of VR models, making it practical and cost effective for more people in shipbuilding to utilize VR.
SSI and Autodesk are helping make this possible by providing a seamless workflow to generate Virtual Reality models in Autodesk Navisworks from a ShipConstructor model.
And people have started to use this relatively inexpensive technology for all sorts for innovative applications that were once thought only possible in the largest organizations.
We’re starting to see some really interesting developments, including having production workers use terminals to view 3D assembly sequences on the shop floor. This technological trend is giving more power to more people in an organization and allowing them to be more efficient and effective in their jobs. It’s democratization of technology, and we strongly support it.
In fact, SSI wrote a paper about this topic and presented it at the International Conference on Computer Applications in Shipbuilding (ICCAS) in Korea. Check it out.