The arrival of the Oculus Quest is a game-changer for designers because it represents a sharp reduction in the friction required to join together in VR from anywhere, as The Wild chief executive officer and founder Gabe Paez tells VRWorldTech
Virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) collaboration platform The Wild, aimed at architects, designers and engineers of every vocation and creative pursuit wishing to work together in real time on a particular project, has moved to the Oculus Quest, just as appreciation for what immersive technology can achieve is increasing across enterprise and business.
For The Wild’s target user base, be it product designers or construction project managers, there is a need for VR and its potential for ideation and time and resource savings, but introducing it into the working day—and keeping it there—remains a challenge. The arrival of The Wild on the Oculus Quest changes that.
Gabe Paez, chief executive officer and founder of Portland, Oregan-based The Wild, says: “Prior to the launch of the Quest, most of our customers viewed virtual reality as a conference room solution. This is similar to how computers were viewed in the early days—an expensive, cumbersome, shared resource that IT sets up and requires scheduling to access. That’s a start, but also incredibly limiting. The result is less use by fewer team members.”
“The Wild is an immersive collaboration platform for teams to work together in XR, from anywhere in the world. The key points are immersive collaboration from anywhere. To fulfill that promise we must reduce friction as much as possible for our guests. We need to move from VR as a conference room solution to The Wild at every single desk.”
“The Oculus Quest is the first standalone headset to market that combines high-quality, low technical barriers, precision, usability, and an affordable price point. This combination is a game-changer for designers because it represents a sharp reduction in the friction required to join together in VR from anywhere.”
This mission is also apparent when you enter The Wild on the Quest. With your project pre-loaded via any one of a number of integrations, such as the recently announced partnerships with Autodesk BIM 360 and Igloo Vision, you take hold of the portal with your controller and pull it over your head, immersing yourself in your work.
The demo I tried featured the model of a house—a bedroom, kitchen, living room and garden. Teleporting straight into the model, I was able to move around and explore its design, rendered in minute detail. Everyday objects, from stools to kitchenware, were interactive. And once I’d finished touring one area, I could easily teleport to the next.
The tools at your disposal allow you to measure the size of objects, sketch directly onto whatever surface you wish, tweak colours, and more. You can also record your progress, take pictures and—of course—speak to and interact with others.
“The Wild is a hub at the centre of the design process and is intended for use as a part of ideation, presentation, review and coordination,” Paez explains. “We achieve that by integrating with other software tools that our customers already use.”
“For instance, an architectural project can begin with sketching and massing studies in The Wild and then roll into a concept design in SketchUp, presented to their client in The Wild. As design development unfolds that building can be constructed in Revit and stored in BIM 360 where internal design reviews can occur in The Wild. Presentations to the client can be used throughout this process in virtual reality or desktop on Mac or Windows in The Wild. Finally, coordination with a general contractor can be conducted using The Wild onsite on an iPad in augmented reality with remote participants joining from virtual reality or desktop.”
The integrations are key to making immersive technology a part of a designer’s standard toolkit, because it slots into their day, rather than taking it over.
Paez says: “Our integration with BIM 360 was an important step for us because it is our first example of a workflow that eliminates the import and export steps. When using BIM 360 with The Wild there is no uploading of files or updating as iteration occurs in the design tool. Your content in BIM 360 stays up to date in The Wild once you link it into a space. Also, you have access to all your content that is stored in BIM 360 Docs while inside VR, so companies that use BIM 360 as a content management system for all of their shared resources will have access to all of that content directly in a VR headset or on an AR device in The Wild.
“This is our first integration with a content management system, but we have plans to extend this to other software in the coming months. If you have a suggestion for a new integration, please reach out to us at thewild.com.”
The arrival of The Wild and collaboration platforms in general demonstrates a utility to immersive tech that will be enticing to potential users that desire an efficient means of effecting partnership and cooperation. Losing a tether with the Oculus Quest, or import and export steps thanks to The Wild’s integration with content management systems, promises to make VR and AR new and more attractive ways of doing old things.
A powerful example can be seen in The Wild’s partnership with HTC Vive, which saw the companies help sportswear giant adidas create a virtual retail space to serve as an immersive testing ground for internal stakeholders, with easy-to-access assets and information for upcoming product launches.
With this virtual solution—a combination of HTC Vive’s hardware and The Wild’s software—adidas’s internal teams, including product merchandisers, trade marketers and salespeople, can now conduct work in a shared space—in the words of HTC Vive, “they develop, assess, alter, and reassess all in 3D”.
HTC Vive summed up the immediate potential of immersive tech and platforms such as the The Wild in its case study: “Storytelling and product offerings have the potential to evolve far more quickly, with a much more cost-effective review process. Sales information regarding these new initiatives is disseminated with relative ease, now that teams can explore the ideas together in a live environment.”
Image credits: The Wild