NBBJ and Visual Vocal to Develop Virtual Reality-Based Productivity Platform
SEATTLE, WA NBBJ announces a new business partnership with startup Visual Vocal to incubate and develop a breakthrough virtual reality (VR) productivity platform. The new tool will allow distributed project stakeholders to immerse themselves into unbuilt environments and provide instantaneous feedback to inform a collaborative design process.
Currently, distributed teams design buildings using 3D modeling software. But when it comes time to share those designs with clients, traditional communication methods such as email often result in time-consuming and inconclusive rounds of feedback. By combining VR with mobile and cloud-based communications platforms, the new tool has the potential to transform workflows within the architecture industry and beyond.
"NBBJ's decision to launch Visual Vocal is representative of our ongoing mission to find more informative and inspiring ways to engage clients in the design process," said NBBJ Managing Partner Steve McConnell, FAIA.
NBBJ and Visual Vocal will leverage current-generation VR and augmented reality (AR) systems, with a near-term focus on mobile VR platforms for optimal accessibility and scale. While a number of firms in the design industry have examined the promise of VR, this partnership marks the first instance of an established design firm incubating a VR startup inside its own offices and developing new tools to improve decision-making and remove waste from the design process. Beyond architecture, the framework can eventually power immersive conversations in industries such as aerospace, product design, and biotech that also make heavy use of 3D models.
"Visual Vocal is building a platform for distributed conversation, collaboration, and decision-making through the power of immersive computing technologies," said Visual Vocal Co-Founder John SanGiovanni. "For the past year, we have worked closely with NBBJ's technical, creative, and project leadership to understand the complexities of distributed collaboration. Together, we have forged a new VR framework aimed at making 3D decision-making more accessible, enjoyable, and efficient."
External venture financing for Visual Vocal is now underway, with strong initial support from several prominent angel and super angel investors. .
Visual Vocal will launch the beta version of its platform as an NBBJ exclusive later in 2016, and NBBJ will pilot the Visual Vocal software on design projects for healthcare, corporate, and urban planning clients. Ultimately the tool will then become available to the greater architecture, engineering, and construction industry.
By applying existing and emerging technologies to the unique needs and challenges of its clients, NBBJ is able to create better-performing buildings that support human connection and productivity.