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A new SmartReality Beta mobile app by information technology services and products provider JBKnowledge, Inc. is providing unprecedented augmented reality capabilities for the construction industry.

The app allows users to point a tablet or smartphone mobile device at printed 2-D construction plan files and view the corresponding 3-D model of the project on their screens—helping contractors to bridge the gap between project design and visualization. In addition, it allows owners, investors and other project participants to visualize a structure from a two-dimensional blueprint.

Within just two months of its release, nearly 450 builders from around the world downloaded the mobile app. Nine months later, the commercial construction industry is still buzzing about its advanced capabilities.

“The possible uses of this tool are mind boggling. From feasibility study to onsite supervision, the chances of getting the message right are enhanced by 100 percent,” says Roberto Astobiza, an architect at BIM Iberica in Madrid, Spain.

Matthew Hoff, integrated construction coordinator at Mortenson Construction, has been working to incorporate the mobile app into his company’s U.S. operations. “We have put this technology in front of our owners and senior leadership, and we’ve received an almost ‘mind-blown’ response. We recently implemented this technology during interviews and I have no doubt that showing off this level of innovation had a part in winning us those projects.”

Adds Greg Hughes, president of Contract Construction: "We primarily build schools, and the time portal created by SmartReality allows for anxious parents and students that will be attending the new school to visualize everything about their classroom, front desk, kitchen, cafeteria and media center before we complete the construction.”

TURIS Systems, a BIM solutions provider, recently worked with Contract Construction to use SmartReality for a pitch to a school board.

Since the unveiling of the beta app, test users and the JBKnowledge mobile development team have released improvements to the app every month. The latest updates to both the iOS and Android apps include the ability to add animation, such as exploding detail of a layered wall in slow motion, and time dimensions, such as showing the progression of a building frame through the first few weeks of a project.

Anyone can download the free app, print out the provided demo targets, and try it out at no cost. More than a dozen beta users already have been selected to upload their own construction projects and 3-D models for use within the app. Later this year, the much anticipated official launch of the app will allow all users to upload targets (2-D plans) and 3-D models directly to the web portal and pay per project to have them paired for visualization on their mobile device.

James Benham, president of JBKnowledge, recently spoke about his experience with augmented reality technology at the Augmented World Expo on May 29 in Santa Clara, Calif.

Technology Report Survey

Also, on June 9, JBKnowlege launched its annual Construction Technology Report Survey to measure industry technology adoption, covering topics ranging from IT investment to cloud security and wearable technology. To participate in the 2014 survey, visit: http://sbn.cc/2014-jbk-survey.

JBKnowledge specializes in enterprise applications and databases, electronic data interchange, strategy consulting, mobile solutions and web development for the construction and insurance industries. Makers of the SmartBidNet, SmartCompliance and SmartReality cloud and mobile solutions, JBKnowledge is based in Bryan/College Station, Texas, and serves construction clients internationally.

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