Multiuser immersive virtual reality application for real-time remote collaboration to enhance design review process in the social distancing era

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Tea, S
Panuwatwanich, K
Ruthankoon, R
Kaewmoracharoen, M
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Purpose: The purpose of this study is to develop and assess the real-time multiuser virtual reality (VR) application that can be used in the design review process. In particular, the application was aimed to accommodate the design review meetings conducted among participants who are in different locations, which has become commonplace during the COVID-19 outbreak. Design/methodology/approach: This paper presents a methodology for the development of a real-time multiuser immersive VR application, to support remote collaboration during the design review process. The developed application can immerse remote project participants into the same virtual environment and provide virtual face-to-face discussions. An experiment was conducted with 44 university students to investigate the applicability and performance of the developed application by comparing it with the traditional approach. Findings: Results indicated that the group of students who used the developed immersive VR application outperformed the group that used the traditional approach. This was measured by the percentage of correctly identified design errors during a building inspection experiment. Originality/value: The difficulty of bringing remote stakeholders together in a virtual environment has impeded the implementation of VR technology in the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry. Most research has focused on the improvement of a single user’s experience. Most of the previous multiuser VR studies were conducted in other industries while similar research in the AEC industry is limited. The study presented in this paper contributes to the AEC industry by presenting the development of multiuser immersive VR applications for real-time remote collaboration and the empirical evidence to substantiate its potential benefits.

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Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology

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Built environment and design

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Tea, S; Panuwatwanich, K; Ruthankoon, R; Kaewmoracharoen, M, Multiuser immersive virtual reality application for real-time remote collaboration to enhance design review process in the social distancing era, Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology, 2021