Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

H2020

IMERSO Report Summary

Project ID: 712268

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - IMERSO (IMERSO - Virtual Reality System)

Reporting period: 2015-12-01 to 2016-05-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Imerso’s innovation project studied the feasibility of a new Virtual Reality (VR) system aimed at lowering the adoption barriers of VR technology for professional applications.
VR technology has been used for decades by large firms with well-documented economic benefits, but the required equipment remains too expensive and cumbersome for SME’s and Public Actors. Our unique product concept was created to disrupt the established high-price VR market by democratising this technology to organisation of any size.

The main objectives of this feasibility study were to minimise technical and market acceptance risks and to improve Imerso’s market readiness.
The objectives of this Phase 1 study were:
- Assure a user-driven development process using prototype demonstrations and secure customer pilot projects for 2016
- Use customer feedback to define key system requirements and features
- Design Imerso’s value chain through partner meetings and negotiate an initial low-volume production of Imerso test versions
- Evaluate alternative cost-structures and commercialisation strategies to design an optimised business model

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

We have started the project with a series of assumptions regarding customer needs that could be met with the adoption of VR technology and Imerso’s VR system. This feasibility study enabled the demonstration of our prototypes to several prospective customers and stakeholders in diverse industry segments, involving them in the development process, and evaluating our initial assumptions regarding their needs, our product’s value-proposition, and product roadmap.

The study was carried out through four main activities: Customer study, Product study, Partner study, and Economic study. The objectives of the study were met positively. During its course, our team has achieved:
1) a user-driven development process, involving customers via prototype demonstrations;
2) customer feedback to transform application requirements into key system requirements; and
3) an optimised business model from evaluating alternative value-chains and cost-structures.

Throughout the Phase-1 study, the team has engaged in several prototype demonstration meetings with the objective of clarifying customers’ current challenges and technical requirements for our product. We have also engaged with electronics development firms and B2B 3D Content vendors, exploring the further development work required to bring our demo units into a small-volume production of pilot-testing units. Finally, the team involved international investors and seasoned entrepreneurs in refining Imerso’s business model and value-proposition, by comparing alternative product concepts and respective commercialisation models.

The biggest outcome from this Phase-1 has been the decision to narrow Imerso’s scope into a standalone product based on the software components of our VR system, rather than pursuing the commercialisation of the VR system as a whole. During the study, our team took notice that our initial product concept could more effectively be re-designed upside-down: instead of a VR system with an integrated 3D scanning feature, a more promising product concept seemed to be that of a 3D scanning software product with integrated VR features. This resulted in a more scalable product concept with lower investment needs, lower development risks and market barriers, and a customer-driven value proposition (namely, to address the high costs of surveying the conditions of properties and project-sites within the Construction segment). This refined product concept was quickly prototyped based on the work already in place from Imerso’s VR system, and used for further customer demonstrations and on-site tests. As a result, the team acquired several sign-ups from architecture, engineering, and construction firms willing to participate in our Early-Access programme to test our current beta-version, prior to the market launch of our product. The team will conduct these pilot-projects throughout the year, with aim to release a commercial version of Imerso in Q4 2016.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

Interviewees, in particular within the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) segment, consistently took a major interest in the ability of the prototype to analyse the 3D space surrounding the user. This interest, we found, correlated to the current labor and cost-intensive methods for surveying site conditions of a construction project.
The majority of AEC companies still rely on manual surveying methods, using pen, paper and measurement tape. This methods is not only labor-intensive, it is also prone to human-error and information gets easily lost resulting in miscommunication and mistakes during a construction project. Research by the Construction Industry Institute CII reveals that direct costs caused by rework average 5% of total construction costs and contributes directly to waste of resources that could have been avoided.

Imerso’s objective it to help companies save time and resources spent on surveying and documenting site conditions by transforming mobile devices into affordable and widely available Reality-Capture devices. Our unique algorithms for reconstructing the real space are based on our team’s expertise in computer-vision, computational mathematics, and applied physics alongside with the work previously conducted on Imerso’s VR system prototypes.

By allowing companies of any size to use this technology throughout a construction project, our product eliminates non-value adding activities (such as manual measurements, re-visiting, re-work etc.) by virtually bringing the project site back to the office. Besides cost and time-saving, reducing error and related re-work allows significant savings in construction material. Identifying how many mistakes, and subsequent costs and waste, are avoided will be part of the upcoming pilot tests.

The construction sector contributes to the European Union's highest volume waste types, using more than 50% of all materials extracted from the earth and generating 500 million tonnes of waste per year. Our solution contributes directly to the European’s Commission Waste Framework Directive (2008/98/EC) and Europe’s 2020 Resource-efficient Flagship initiative. Democratising reality capture technology allows AEC firms to mitigate avoidable waste of resources created through error and unnecessary re-work.

Related information

Record Number: 190200 / Last updated on: 2016-11-09