Having looked at collaboration for viewing marketing collateral, etc, I have just read a fascinating AECbyte by Lachmi Khemlani. In Exploring Second Life and its Potential in Real Life AEC, she describes her (or her avatar’s) first steps into Second Life – the online virtual reality “alternate” world.
She describes how one US architectural firm, Crescendo Design, created a virtual model of one of its design concepts in Second Life:
“It then lets its client access this virtual model in Second Life and spend as much time in it as they want, get a sense of the design, and provide their feedback. It conducts meetings in virtual “real time” where both the architect and client meet in the form of their respective avatars at the virtual site and tour it together.”
This is a fascinating, and collaborative, alternative to walk-throughs in 3D models, but as an industry we are still a long way from fully embracing 3D CAD let alone BIM or virtual worlds such as Second Life. As Lachmi says:
“virtual worlds can be a powerful and exciting new medium for design review as well as for collaboration. It would be terrific if the vendors of modeling tools used in AEC can work with the creators of virtual worlds like Second Life to ensure that building models created in professional practice can be seamlessly published in the virtual world, complete with all details and textures. When that happens, Second Life can really take off in AEC.”