Having earlier today written briefly about the virtual world of Second Life (Daden post) and about two Australian companies (All Over Geo post; Tender.ly post), it somehow seems fitting to write about Urban Circus.
This Brisbane, Australia company (it also has a UK outpost) proclaims itself to be at “the cutting edge of 3D Virtual Reality“. Its solutions are used to support design, engineering and communication across industries, but particularly in transport projects, and it says:
Our valued clients are winning projects, managing teams and stakeholders, inducting and training, designing, validating and auditing, communicating and building projects faster, better and smarter.
Urban Circus apparently creates bespoke solutions to suit its clients’ needs, so it isn’t a populated, virtual world like Second Life. Instead, it appears to be a highly detailed, realistic, real-time 3D rendering that is created for specific projects, and, as such, requires more than a little computing power to display the resulting graphics effectively. Outputs include 3D virtual reality, VR videos, VR images, VR panoramas and – perhaps most interesting from my perspective – self-directed web or kiosk environments.
High quality but not Web 2.0
For projects requiring a highly life-like visual experience, perhaps to win client, regulatory or local community support, such a platform must be very powerful. It is easy to imagine how a building information model (BIM) might be created and re-used to show project stakeholders how the design might look, etc.
But the high quality imagery may not be enough for everybody. It isn’t clear from Urban Circus’s website how its technology might, for example, enable community feedback on proposals (the ‘communicate’ images seem to suggest that Urban Circus is used to support ‘door-to-door’ and ‘community hall consultations’, etc, where audience or stakeholder responses are presumably gathered by the presenter).
Other environments or applications, by contrast, may not deliver such fantastic graphics but by displaying adequate – and user-navigable – images might offer greater opportunities for democratic feedback, particularly via the web. For example, I have seen how Second Life or less graphic-intensive tools like Slider Studio‘s YouCanPlan can enable people to share context-specific comments openly and transparently with others in their community via a standard web browser.