How can technology support your communication with stakeholders and help you manage their needs? It starts with converting your technical designs into a format that is easily shareable and understandable by your stakeholders. Start creating your digital progress record by adding your 3D model renderings so that your stakeholders can almost step inside their project in 360°, right from their web browser, wherever they are, from any device that’s connected to the internet. When that digital progress record includes 360° renderings of selected viewpoints of your BIM models and 360° photos instead of complex 3D models that are hard to share or just unstructured 2D photos, stakeholders can better interpret what you present to them and get a better sense of the scope and scale. Whether it’s the late stages of construction or early concept design, a digital 360° view opens your project to more meaningful stakeholder communication and collaboration with a real perspective.
Taking communication and collaboration to the next level
The digital progress record evolves through the project phases with more and more detail to communicate and collaborate with. If your stakeholders struggle to understand what your drawings are telling them, you run the risk of misunderstandings, delays, and poor decisions. Contrast that to a 360° perspective which everyone can interpret accurately. You reduce your risk, can manage your stakeholder’s needs more efficiently, and make more confident decisions.
The way you use the 360° photos to communicate with your stakeholders will depend on their specific needs, but there are some common practices being used in the industry today.
Get buy-in and commitment
Even before you win a project, converting your concepts into 360° images helps your potential clients see your vision. Once a project begins, the tools can also help them visualize the impacts of key design decisions. Tools like side-by-side comparisons with SplitScreen are an effective way to compare what you see in the drawings to either early stage 360° renderings or actual onsite conditions in real-time.
Instant remote site access
Give stakeholders access to a URL for instant access to 360° photos or even the live job site with 360 SiteStream if necessary. Different virtual walkthroughs can be created for different stakeholders based on their needs but they can all view the full 360° view in their browser. Managing all digital progress records in your company or region happens from a designated place, the Enterprise Dashboard, which is your central point of access with an intuitive user interface for account and project administration. Secured with advanced technology like single sign-on (SSO), even the largest companies can easily manage all departments, cost centers, teams, or regions within one overall company environment from their web browsers.
Documenting issues and annotations
During a virtual job walk, it’s possible to capture information like comments, issues, or markups spatially within the 360° images. This means you could instantly document stakeholder feedback into actionable items for your team. It’s also a valuable tool for your Quality Assurance process and staff. 360 MarkupLists are created in the system so everyone collaborating on the team understands the next steps.
Demonstrating progress and issue resolution
A virtual walkthrough is a valuable tool for daily, weekly, or bigger progress meetings for either the project team or with stakeholders. During these meetings, everyone can see the project in 360° and the markup list helps demonstrate the status and progress of the project. All the comments and issues are organized spatially so your team or your stakeholders can easily check on the status of a specific item if they choose. For example, they may want to confirm something as simple as the delivery and installation of windows in a room, or as significant as a major milestone or revision in a project. Those same issues documented in your 360° environment automatically link to your Autodesk BIM 360 Field issues or Procore RFIs and Observations to simplify management for your team.
Virtual meetings with Microsoft Teams
More and more meetings are happening via video calls these days and this opens up new possibilities for collaborating with stakeholders virtually to get them on the same page using your 360° digital progress records. For example, if you are using a video conferencing tool like Microsoft Teams, you can simply create a new tab in the application for each of your projects and will be able to directly see site progress in 360° right next to your other documents and communication. It streamlines your workflows, eliminates the need to switch between different applications, and is an easy way to spread information about site progress within your team.
Set-up a Microsoft Teams call with your stakeholders and walk through the site together online as if you were there.
When you and your stakeholders are on a video call, you can also make use of the remote control functionalities, so that the stakeholders themselves can take control of the 360° interface. This gives them the opportunity to directly navigate to where they think clarification is needed and point towards issues instead of giving instructions on what they would like to see. This makes the remote site visit more interactive and allows for resolving disputes even faster.
Over time you establish a 360° history of your project evolution. This not only demonstrates project progress but also lets you backtrack to early stages without having to rely on drawings only. For example, you may want to confirm what was inside a wall before it was finished or where support structures were placed. The information is invaluable during the project, but also for as-built documentation at client turnover. This documentation can also help with dispute resolution if needed.
Building your digital progress record — a simple process with a huge impact
Creating a digital progress record by integrating your BIM model renderings with 360° photos, leverages your technical design work into a job site perspective for stakeholders. In the early design and planning stages, this means rendering 360° images from viewpoints within your BIM models in Autodesk Navisworks or Revit.
Your 360° design renderings can be imported into your digital progress record and linked to their correct position on the floor plan. In later stages, actual 360° progress photos captured at the job site will be added. This opens the possibility to compare site photos and BIM renderings side-by-side, connecting the real-time project with your design.
Capturing photos on-site simply requires a 360° camera and mobile device, like a phone or a tablet, to run the JobWalk App. You can determine how much of the job site to capture, how often to capture it, and whether there are areas you want to have accessible 24/7/365 with site streaming. The JobWalk mobile app lets you capture photos as quickly as you can walk the site. It also lets you designate instructions for specific areas during the capturing process. So, if certain areas need to be captured for an upcoming stakeholder meeting, for example, you can give specific instructions for your team in the field to do so with the JobWalk Planner.
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Getting started with Construction Progress Management, powered by 360° photo capture
Using 360° image technology is exciting progress for the design and construction industry. More and more, it’s being applied in meaningful ways that secure real ROI for you and your stakeholders. Getting started is as easy as 1–2–3 and you will immediately get a feel for the ease of use and application in your business. Once you, your team, and your stakeholders try using virtual job walks during your regular meetings, it’s likely that you won’t turn back.
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What are your experiences with managing stakeholders remotely? Which technologies are you already using in your day-to-day and which new ones seem most promising? Let us know via email to firstname.lastname@example.org!
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