Spanish ConstrucTech ArqVR “Our Tool Breaks The Isolation Inherent In VR Experiences”

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ArqVR offers a way for multiple users to experience the same design in real-time. We spoke to Co-Founder & CEO Fernando Drumond about creating VR experiences allowing architecture, engineering, and construction companies to build, enhance or modify their designs at will.

How would you describe ArqVR in a few words?

ArqVR is a platform to remotely guide presentations in virtual reality (VR). We help architects, interior designers, and real-estate agents to explain and sell their projects in the most realistic and straightforward way for all stakeholders.

What inspired you to create the startup? How did it all start?

When we first tried VR, we immediately realized its potential not only for the entertainment industry but for various other industries, too. We thought about different solutions for businesses and came up with opportunities for the architecture, engineering and construction sector (AEC). These industries missed a tool that improves the communication process between teams and clients. VR can be applied as such a solution, leveraging the decision-making process and ultimately saving time and money.

At first, we offered a service to generate virtual reality tours for architecture projects. However, we learned from our clients that, despite offering a better understanding of their projects, the virtual reality experience was often distracting as they lacked control of their clients’ attention during presentations. That’s when we decided to develop our own product, that would allow AEC professionals to guide the experience while presenting their projects.

Spanish ConstrucTech ArqVR "Our Tool Breaks The Isolation Inherent In VR Experiences"Working in architecture, engineering and construction requires a lot of effort in terms of communication. You already teased how your solution supports this process – can you share more details?

For a start, the immersive visualization of architectural projects in VR helps professionals fill the gap between their vision and that of other stakeholders. Quite often, clients don’t share the same ability to interpret tridimensional spaces just by looking at 2D plans and 3D renders. Through the VR experience, they can preview a space and fully understand its dimensions.

Additionally, ArqVR provides a presentation interface that is in itself a communication tool. Rather than just offer a visualization of their projects in VR, AEC professionals can guide the experience, giving them more control over their audience’s attention. Namely, presenters can use features that allow them to teleport, select and move objects, as well as point to surfaces. Our solution can be used remotely through an integrated voice chat, assisting geographically dispersed teams to save travel costs that are normally associated with these kinds of presentations.

You say your solution results in results in better designs, shorter timelines, and a more effective process. Apart from that, what makes ArqVR stand out from the crowd? What is the key differentiator?

Our main differential is our remotely guided presentation tool, that allow architects, designers and real-estate agents to direct their clients and teams members attention, while connecting them in the same immersive visualisation. As a result, it breaks the isolation inherent to VR experiences at the same time that it offers a collaborative solution for teams that work together remotely.

Furthermore, ArqVR’s team comes from a strong background of creating interactive experiences for different sectors (under the brand Antiloop). This sets us apart from other companies in our industry who are currently migrating from offering 3D render services to offering VR experiences. We know how to design and develop the intuitive and seamless user experiences that are essential to meeting the potential of virtual reality.

What is the biggest challenge that the company has faced?

Our biggest challenge so far has been recruiting the best talent for our team. Finding the right people that fit our company is hard and human resources are expensive. Besides, we need to have enough resources to boost production in order to take advantage of the current state of the market, while there are fewer competitors. In order to overcome this challenge, we’ve been looking for funding, which will aid us in focusing our efforts on the platform development.

You’ve recently been featured in our Breakdown on Startup Driven Innovation in the construction industry. In your opinion, what promising innovations will this sector experience in the near future?

Other than virtual and mixed reality, in which I obviously see a strong potential, I believe that machine learning is one of the technologies that will have the most impact on our experiences in the short- and mid-term. The ability to automatically offer custom content and interactions to users that improve over time will definitely result in increasingly pleasant and engaging experiences.

What’s next for ArqVR?

We have been collecting feedback from clients and professionals in the industry, and the potential of VR applied to AEC is evident. Our next challenge is to further explore this potential, closing bigger projects and clients, and disseminating the use of this technology in the sector. And, of course, we intend to expand the current features and improve the multi-platform support of our tool.

Besides that, we are excited about the announced launches of low-cost standalone VR devices such as Oculus Go and Vive Focus, which, we expect, will make VR more affordable and portable, helping it to reach a wider public, without compromising performance.

As a Spanish startup, what would you wish for in improving the European startup ecosystem?

Some European public funds are very focused on technologies that have an environmental or educational impact. As important as these causes are, and we agree they should receive enough funding, we wish that the EU would also designate funding to support disruptive technologies that can have an enormous impact on other industries, such as VR for AEC. In addition to changing the way professionals work, it will have repercussions on teams’ displacement and on the resources spent building pilot projects or on mistaken implementations.

What’s one piece of advice you can give to fellow founders for their startup?

I sincerely think I still have a lot to learn before going around giving advice. If I may share my thoughts, I believe becoming successful takes a lot of hard work and a lot of working with the right talent, which can be very difficult to find.



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