The cloud platform AKULAR aims to connect the advantages of communicating 3D construction models with the technology for their effective conversion and visualisation. AKULAR is responding to low rates of digitalisation and ineffective processes in construction, enabling the rapid visualisation of all types of 3D models in augmented reality (AR). On standard mobile devices, the platform is able to visualise 3D models of buildings and infrastructure in real size and directly in the context of its surroundings before actual construction has begun. As a result, the technology streamlines decision-making, planning and construction processes. For a wide range of stakeholders including architects, project managers, developers and clients, as well as the public, AKULAR provides visualisations of multiple project alternatives, thus reducing the need for costly physical mock-ups and can save project costs in the hundreds of thousands of euros.
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The vision of the company is to develop an effective communication platform, whose implementation of modern technology provides the conservative real estate market with increased transparency, process efficiency and thus real economic savings and value for all stakeholders.
TRADITIONAL VISUALISATION IN REAL ESTATE
Traditional communication of construction models is fragmented, time-consuming and opaque. Average project delays are by 20% and average budget overruns up to 80%. Working versions of architectural (BIM) 3D models are created using dedicated software and subsequently communicated to clients (developers, project managers, etc.) through series of personal meetings and time-consuming and costly customised presentation videos or physical mock-ups, which also require significant additional resources with every alteration to the project.
Furthermore, stakeholders in real estate are not only architects and developers – a significant number of additional parties have a direct or indirect interest in the construction lifecycle including cities and municipalities, regulatory bodies, citizens, wide-ranging networks of contractors as well as multiple different architectural and development firms participating on the same project.
The familiar challenge of delays and budget overruns in construction is thus also a result of highly complex communication processes between these parties and a lacking universal and inclusive channel for collaboration.
PRODUCT – THE AKULAR PLATFORM
The company’s product, AKULAR, is a simple and integrated digital platform providing all stakeholders an accessible tool for the communication of complex 3D models of construction projects. Using a browser interface, a user (architect, developer, project manager, etc.) is able to upload their 3D model, which is subsequently converted through the AKULAR cloud platform and optimized to be viewed in AR on a mobile device through its free app. The owner of the given model can grant access for other users to view it on their device, enabling instantaneous collaboration via the cloud in AR. Users are able to view their models in real size and directly in the context of its future geographical position as well as on any selected place or surface (e.g. conference room table).
ADVANTAGES OF AR IN REAL ESTATE
The simple and accessible interface of the AKULAR platform aims to provide a new communication standard for the real estate industry. By implementing AR, the communication of construction models becomes faster and more productive – following upload, an architect is able to share their models with other users, who are instantly able to access it. The platform enables users to view model variations (façades, linings, etc.), view the model from all angles and alter lighting. Crucially, AKULAR also enables the geo-location of a model to its precise geographical position and visualisation in the context of its real surroundings, allowing for better decision-making on behalf of clients and urban planners, while the platform comes at a fraction of the cost of custom studio visualisations. The result of more effective communication is faster and better decision-making, leading to faster construction cycles and cost savings in the range of hundreds of thousands of euros.
TARGET MARKET – USA
The company spent nearly a year surveying and building its reputation in the United States – the world’s largest commercial real estate market – and closed prominent visualisation deals with leading US developers including Boston Properties, JBG Smith and Plaxall. This cooperation provided AKULAR not only with positive references, but also direct access points to the $3 trillion US commercial real estate market.
The company intends to use its experience and references and launch the final and fully commercialised version of its platform in the US. The company’s strategy is to build on existing partnerships and subsequently expand into additional large and mid-sized development and architecture firms.
RESULTS AND PROJECTS TO DATE
AKULAR IN THE MEDIA: