Taking Chances

There is always a risk. It doesn’t matter what profession you’re in or what your job title is, at some point you’re taking a chance on something. Whether you’re an intern architect at a “big-box” firm debating whether or not it’s worth it to remind your boss you’ve been working your butt off and need a raise, or you’re the boss debating whether or not it’s worth it to battle the client on a design element you personally added in, you’re taking a risk. In our case, we took a risk on some new industry technology.

You may have noticed the “AR Media” tab that was recently added to our blog menu. If you read through the instructions and had no idea what the heck they’re for…well, here you go. Augmented Reality (AR) refers to programs that digitally enhance the natural world. Its applications are practically limitless – from education to gaming to marketing, companies across the globe have been trying to tap in to the power of AR technology to advance their business. In the Architecture/Engineering/Construction (AEC) industry, AR is a relatively new and unexplored territory. But why? Architects build 3D models all the time, don’t they? So why not build one digitally, and present it to a client via their tablet or smart phone? Seems much more practical than carrying around a foam-core board, doesn’t it?

It sounds great in theory, and it’s that theory that we worked off of as we began implementing AR technology into our practices. We’re a long way off from showing clients AR versions of their projects on-site via GPS coordinates, but we’ve definitely made strides with showing off a couple of our current projects. One of the problems we ran into was the debate over whether AR media is “gimmicky” and whether it’s effective. Are these digital models showing off our design capabilities properly? Do our clients understand that we use state-of-the-art industry technology to develop their projects in the most affordable and efficient way possible? And that this technology is just another way to show that?

Since we’ve just started using AR, we don’t have enough feedback yet to answer these questions. Right now, anyone can follow the directions on the AR Media tab above. Just download the AR Media app, install the DMA building files, point your smartphone or tablet at the DMA logo, and check out either the Institute of American Indian Arts Welcome Center, or the Navajo Nation Division of Transportation Office Complex. Or both. And if you feel particularly inspired, let us know what you think – are we on the right track?