Visualizing Complex Data in Augmented Reality
Tokyo based mixed reality company HoloLab leverages XR streaming technology to meet the requirements of customers in manufacturing and the AEC market.
Augmented reality (AR) is disrupting the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry. The technology provides design and construction professionals with realistic, detailed views into ongoing projects. However, visualizing complex data like 3D CAD, Building Information Modeling (BIM) or Point Cloud models on mobile AR devices present a challenge.
“Our customers often want us to render entire buildings or complex plants and pipe systems – not knowing that the local rendering capacity of a mobile AR device is very limited,” said Takesen – Takehisa Ito, Co-Founder and COO of HoloLab. The Japanese company has developed the cloud-based SaaS solution mixpace, which provides a precise 3D reviewing process of 3D CAD, BIM, and Point Cloud models in augmented reality. Size and complexity of the content can lead to unstable rendering, jittering motion, lower fps, and an unacceptable user experience or software crashes.
“Before integrating the XR streaming Hololight Stream, we needed to align customer needs to the performance limitations of mobile computing devices.”Takesen – Takehisa Ito, Co-Founder and COO of HoloLab
Surpassing the Limitation of Mobile Computing
HoloLab’s general construction and civil engineering customers seek out AR viewing tools for improved design review and construction verification. For example, they may want to overlay BIM and 3D CAD files to ensure the proper placement of walls, beams, or pipes. Point clouds, datasets that precisely represent objects and space based on photogrammetry or drone photography, also have become important data resources for retrofitting and reconstruction.
“We have found a technology that enables us to support these kinds of large data,” Takesen commented. HoloLab integrated the XR streaming solution Hololight Stream by fellow extended reality (XR) company Hololight. Hololight Stream is a software development kit that enables real-time streaming of entire AR/VR applications via powerful servers or the cloud to a HoloLens 2, Oculus Quest 2, or Android device. “Implementing Hololight Stream in Unity is extremely simple,” said Takesen. “It took us less than 20 minutes.” Now, outsourcing the rendering process brings potentially unlimited performance for HoloLab and its customers and enables the experience of 3D content in unprecedented detail and complexity.
High Visual Quality and Data Security
“XR streaming is a new technology for many AR/VR developers and users. In using the technology in an impressive way, companies like HoloLab are advocates in helping customers see the difference between local and remote rendering,” affirmed Philipp Landgraf, Head of Technology at Hololight. HoloLab, for example, was able to visualize with Hololight Stream 3D mesh data of the Shuri Castle with around 5,000,000 polygons as well as an even larger point cloud with around 25,000,000 points of the Miyakonojo Civic Center.
Many of HoloLab’s customers also rely heavily on on-premises solutions because of asset management and data security reasons. With Hololight Stream, HoloLab is free to decide (according to the customer’s needs), whether the application is running on a local workstation, on-premises server infrastructure or in the cloud. Confidential data is also only streamed and not stored locally on a XR device. Potential data privacy problems and entryways for hackers can thus be prevented.
XR Streaming Benefits
HoloLab is now able to visualize their customer’s models that are only suited for high-performance processing, empowering a new era for spatial analytics in augmented reality. Streaming the whole application also allows all basic app operations like interactions and user interfaces. Just as the app would run on the mobile device. Asked about the benefits of choosing Hololight Stream as the XR streaming solution, HoloLab Co-Founder Takesen Ito reiterated:
- Flexible on-premises and cloud support according to customer needs
- High data security as 3D data is streamed and not stored on the end device
- Ease of use through one provided client app
- Seamless integration in Unity
- Point cloud rendering support
A Look Ahead to 5G
XR streaming is the solution to surpass the limitation of mobile computing and visualizing huge and more complex 3D data in augmented reality. “We are talking to a lot of customers about the possibilities of XR streaming in conjunction with 5G application. We want to propose Hololight Stream to Japanese 5G carriers as the remote rendering solution”, Takesen disclosed.
“The low latency and high bandwidth that 5G brings is crucial in making higher quality experiences available to a broader audience. We will have a lot more XR streaming opportunities ahead.”Takesen – Takehisa Ito, Co-Founder and COO of HoloLab