Leveraging new technology to improve construction industry inspection efficiency and project traceability
Oyanagi Construction Co., Ltd. and Microsoft Japan have partnered on Holostruction, a project that will make use of Microsoft HoloLens, the world’s first self-contained Windows 10-powered holographic computer.
Oyanagi Construction is working with Microsoft Japan to develop concept models for improving the efficiency of construction industry planning, works implementation and inspection, and for visualizing maintenance traceability. The company will continue to develop the models with the aim of utilizing them in actual operations moving forward. Oyanagi Construction is the first construction company in Japan to use HoloLens to improve productivity and traceability.
Owing to increasing construction demands related to projects such as the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics and the planned 2027 opening of the Tokyo-Osaka maglev train service, Japan’s construction industry expects to face a labor shortage of 470,000 to 930,000 workers in 2025, making the development and deployment of labor-saving construction systems a top priority. With the rollout of the Japanese government-led i-Construction initiative (promoting the extensive use of ICT in construction as well as concrete engineering standardization and construction period leveling) and other factors, construction companies will be required to adapt quickly to a wide range of issues and new standards.
HoloLens, which Microsoft started to offer to businesses and developers in Japan from January 2017, is a new device that delivers mixed reality (MR) that combines real and virtual worlds to utilize the best of both worlds by overlaying holograms on the real world in front of the viewer’s eyes. Unlike virtual reality (VR) devices, MR devices like HoloLens enable the user to view and manipulate holograms within a visible, real-world context. Because such devices combined with audio and video would enable online conferencing between geographically separated employees while sharing the same mixed reality world, Oyanagi Construction realized from even before its release in Japan that HoloLens and Microsoft cloud services could be used to resolve or mitigate a wide range of construction industry issues. The company accordingly joined Microsoft’s global HoloLens development program, and has since worked with Microsoft Corporation and Microsoft Japan’s consulting services to develop its concept models.
Overview of Oyanagi Construction’s Holostruction project using HoloLens
Oyanagi Construction is using HoloLens to develop the following three concept models, and is considering various ways of using these models with the aim of deploying them in actual operations moving forward.
1. Improving operations traceability
As a construction company, Oyanagi Construction will be required to digitize a wide variety of data to ensure transparency of its projects and operations in line with the Japanese government’s i-Construction initiative. Oyanagi Construction has accordingly developed a concept model for visually ensuring operations traceability, including a mechanism for dynamically displaying reference materials according to the date chosen by the user on a timeline slider.
2.BIM/CIM* data utilization trial
Japan’s construction industry suffers from a shortage of construction site works inspectors and onerous inspector workloads. Oyanagi Construction is accordingly endeavoring to develop new, intuitive inspection standards that make use of BIM/CIM data, and measures for lightening inspection document preparation workloads. For this concept model, the company is developing mechanisms for the 3-D visualization of blueprints in a way that also incorporates the data and documents required for inspection so that they can be promptly displayed whenever needed.
* BIM (building information modeling)/CIM (construction information modeling): mechanisms for utilizing all data, including 3-D data, contained in a model of the whole life cycle of a building from design to construction and maintenance
3. Trial of new communication ideas
Construction operations invariably involve both a large number of companies and personnel, and areas within building sites that are difficult or dangerous to physically access. Because HoloLens can enable the monitoring of construction sites irrespective of such physical limitations, and the sharing of such information between geographically separated personnel, Oyanagi Construction thinks that the device could contribute to construction site safety and speedier communication. For this concept model, the company is developing functions for sharing drawings projected onto HoloLens as 3-D graphics, for enabling personnel to virtually insert themselves into and experience a site on a life-size scale, for simulating the deployment of construction equipment and workers from the design stage, and so forth.
You can watch the concept video of Holostruction here:
Oyanagi Construction is committed to using Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform, Office 365, Dynamics 365, and other cutting-edge technology and tools together with HoloLens to develop, operate and eventually deploy these concept models with the aim of driving the digital transformation of all aspects of construction industry business, operations, and activities.
Microsoft Japan will work with TK Net Service Co. Ltd., an Oyanagi Construction and Microsoft Japan partner, and Microsoft Corporation to provide technical assistance for the practical implementation of solutions using HoloLens and MR. In the context of Oyanagi Construction’s implementation of digital transformation, Microsoft Japan is committed to providing its continuing support on technical aspects of bringing Oyanagi’s concept models to fruition, including R&D and support for enhancing scenarios.