By Michelle Mittelman, AccuLynx.
Virtual and augmented reality games may have originally been developed as entertainment, but are finding new applications across different industries every day. Innovative uses for these emerging technologies are starting to carve out quite the spot within the construction and roofing sectors as a way to help homeowners visualize their projects, and for contractors to provide more accurate estimates and safety measures for their crews.
The most accessible application of virtual reality in the roofing industry for homeowners is the ability to see products and visualize projects ahead of time without having to visit the store or job site.
It’s not until the project is finished that you know what it’s actually like to stand in the space. By that point, of course, it’s too late to make any meaningful changes. [source]
Technology has already significantly evolved the shopping process for homeowners looking to repaint or re-shingle their homes. Online applications like the GAF Virtual Remodeler are giving homeowners the ability to visualize the changes using actual photos of their home to help them make decisions alongside their contractors, giving them greater control over the process.
Roofers who can provide virtual reality tools during their sales process can help homeowners make educated decisions regarding their homes, and ensure that they feel comfortable working with a professional contractor.
Virtual reality can be used to help educate homeowners. GAF’s virtual reality feature includes interactive teaching points that can help explain different roof structures and products to customers. It allows you to point out exactly what is wrong with a roof and actually show homeowners why it is a problem. This feature is helpful in ensuring that homeowners understand what is going on with their home and makes interactions with your client more informative and professional.
After discussing why a roof needs replacing, your sales team can use augmented, or computer generated virtual reality technology to digitally overlay recommended products onto a house at the job site as part of a sales pitch. As part of your customer service model, helping homeowners make informed decisions for their home with the help of virtual reality can give your company an edge when compared to basic paper estimates.
“By engaging clients early on it prevents costly fixes later and keeps clients interested in the project. They can see their vision, they know they’re heard, and they know work is being done. It makes augmented reality in construction a major investment in reducing costs for re-work” [source].
This augmented reality can also be used to the advantage of your estimators and sales team.
“3D modeling acts as a crystal ball, allowing contractors to look into the future and spot errors before they’re made. Simply by exploring the 3D model with virtual reality glasses, [roofing] professionals can spot errors and tweak designs before the work crew starts”. [source]
Another aspect of virtual reality that makes your job easier is removing the problem of scheduling conflicts. Homeowners cannot always be around to meet with someone from your team and vice versa, so it can be difficult to schedule a time when both parties can meet. Some companies are using virtual reality to resolve this problem by offering virtual estimates.
“3D modeling and BIM programs, which made huge advancements in the field of project modeling, can now be adapted to VR tools, to visualize a fully virtual representation of an idea in a new dimension at a relatively low cost point. Put simply, the user sees a 3D display through a headset and can get an ‘all-round’ view by turning their head to the side, up and down”. [source]
A drone operator take images of the house that the contractor uses to create an estimate and leaves behind virtual reality goggles. The homeowner can then use the goggles when they have time to view a virtual tour that explains the estimate. Both your company and the homeowner can do their part when it is convenient for them, resulting in a more efficient process that skips over any messy scheduling
Providing these 3D models to your foreman and crews can also help your team visualize the project before it begins, so they see and understand what the homeowner does –
“Many of the problems found in the construction industry are directly correlated with the inability of field personnel, designers, architects and engineers to truly experience a project before it is built.” [source]
The uses for virtual reality are growing everyday, especially in the roofing industry. Virtual reality allows your company to show what a project will look when its done, educate homeowners with ease, and prevent schedule conflicts, proving its usefulness. Ensure you stay up to date on the newest technology by employing virtual reality at your company today.
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