A female site engineer holds a 360° camera and tablet as she captures site photos using HoloBuilder

5 Ways to Update Your Progress Capture Process with SpeedMode

Oct 31, 2019 | Feature/Product Overview, HoloBuilder, Progress Tracking

360° reality capturing has revolutionized the way the construction industry tracks project progress. We understand that what you value most about it is the time that you save. Thus, we are working hard every day to reduce that capturing time even further. After countless field tests, we finally found a new way of capturing which also is the most efficient and fastest way to create organized and structured documentation to date: SpeedMode for automated progress tracking!

The Basics: What is SpeedMode?

Making use of your device’s Augmented Reality (AR) capabilities, SpeedMode locates yourself on your Sheet¹ in the JobWalk App that is connected to your 360° camera, allowing you to automatically track your location during job walks on the construction site. This way, you can simply walk from one capture point to another while the JobWalk App automatically triggers your 360° camera when you arrive at the location. It ensures that the exact same locations are captured during each job walk, keeping images in an organized structure that allows for perfect TimeTravel and higher data quality. Besides, the automated process reduces the need to interact with the app and speeds up capturing significantly. Once you upload the data, it will instantly appear online — with no cloud post-processing time needed! Based on these technological advancements, we would like to show you five ways you can update your progress capture workflow with SpeedMode.

¹ Sheet, Waypoint, JobWalk App and other capitalized words refer to objects in the HoloBuilder products and their user interface.

1. Walk and Talk to Coordinate Work On-Site

What’s the main reason you conduct job site visits? The main part is usually to view site progress, check defects and make sure everything is going according to plan. 360° reality capture helps you document site progress faster and more organized than traditional standard 2D photos. But what if you could focus even more on being present on-site, spend less time interacting with the capturing devices and more time on coordinating work on-site?

This is what SpeedMode with automated progress capture enables you to do. SpeedMode allows you to identify exactly where you are on your Sheet and simply walk from one Waypoint to another. Every time you come near a capture point, the 360° image is taken automatically once you arrive! If you are just starting with your site documentation, we recommend doing one round of reality capturing with the regular JobWalk App workflow beforehand, to determine the spots that are best suited to be captured during future job walks. After the first run, you can work perfectly with SpeedMode. It helps you ensure that all capture points you determined during your first job walk will be captured again in the exact same location ─ and even twice as fast, with significantly lower interactions with your capturing devices!

SpeedMode is already field-tested and field-approved.

Capturing all important locations on-site automatically once you arrive, while not capturing every single step you take in-between, provides a structured data set with relevant information for your team and simultaneously keeps the data lightweight. As SpeedMode does not record on an ongoing basis, you can also simply stop and add markups, 2D close-up images, or any other notes to the 360° images. Or you can conduct a “Walk and Talk” as you answer some questions from your colleagues or discuss a task at hand. With SpeedMode you can be more present and thoughtful on-site because you are not busy tapping on your phone to capture the site progress. Thanks to the auto-trigger, images are taken automatically as you come near a capture point, which will also be visible via Augmented Reality on your display when you hold the phone upright!

2. Utilize Augmented Reality

SpeedMode makes use of your phone’s Augmented Reality features to locate you and also allows you to see capture points projected into the real world when you are looking at them through your phone in an upright position. But how does this work?

After several field tests, we came up with a unique solution: A combination of your device’s sensors and Augmented Reality! Using not only the in-built gyroscope, accelerometer, and compass of your device but also its camera, makes it possible to determine both your position and your movement within the 3D-room with an accuracy in the centimeter range. Through the camera, the JobWalk App is able to recognize the floor and walls and thus knows where you are and where you are going. Maybe you have already heard of Google Maps AR? SpeedMode offers the AR-navigation pendant for construction sites.

Google Maps AR introduction, courtesy of Engadget, that gives you a great idea of how Augmented Reality enhances navigation, somewhat similar to the technology that SpeedMode uses.

AR comes in handy when you need to find the same spot to capture the 360° images every time you go on your job walk. As mentioned briefly, the unique, auto-adjusting display technology changes transparency according to the orientation of the device. It either provides you with the loved and trusted Sheet view when holding the device parallel to the floor or with an interactive, almost fully transparent and innovative AR view when holding it upright. Once you come near a capture location and hold your phone upright, the Sheet becomes semi-transparent and the camera becomes active behind it so that you can see your real-world surroundings through your phone. The next capture location will be projected as a virtual circle that overlays the real world. That’s how you know where your next capture point will be — all you need to do to go there to have the trigger activated. Our testers loved to say that if you play SpeedMode right, it’s akin to the good old Pac-Man game, where you need to get pass all dots.

With SpeedMode, you can simply walk from one capture location to another and the JobWalk App automatically triggers your 360° camera when you pass a Waypoint.

The big advantage of using AR here is the guarantee of always hitting the exact same location when taking 360° images on a regular basis. Even if you have different team members doing the site documentation, they will still always capture pictures at the same locations, as the technology knows where they are and when they reach the capture point. This improves the quality of your captured data tremendously as it provides a reliable basis for accurate comparisons between different dates. The implementation of AR will help you navigate through your job site documentation and supports you with an even more organized and structured workflow.

Once you put your phone in an upright position when using SpeedMode, the Sheet in the JobWalk App becomes semi-transparent, showing what’s behind the phone through its camera. You can see an AR marker of your next capture spot and simply walk towards it to start the automated progress capture.

And this is just the beginning of the usage of Augmented Reality: There are so many more things where AR can help you to upgrade your photo documentation…Stay tuned for what’s coming next!

3. Integrate New Workflows with Existing Ones

We would like to encourage you to combine your favorite JobWalk App features with the new SpeedMode workflow to maximize efficiency. For example, the JobWalk Planner combined with SpeedMode makes a powerful tool to pre-plan job walks for your teams from the comfort of your office and guarantees that all spots will be hit exactly as planned.

When heading to the site, your team can then simply activate SpeedMode via the lightning icon on the Sheet view in the JobWalk App, let it recognize their location and capture all pre-planned locations automatically by walking across the Waypoints that you have set for them.

They can either use the Sheet view for orientation or the AR “look through” view to navigate to the next capture location. In the AR-view, all existing Waypoints, as well as all Location Markers, are highly visible and allow for faster capturing than ever before. The Sheet becomes transparent so that they can see all Waypoints through the camera of their mobile device. That makes it easy to find the nearest Waypoint around. The exact location of the Waypoint is marked and they only have to go there to capture the 360° image. By doing this each time they are on-site, your team will be able to create TimeTravels from the exact same locations and make SplitScreen comparisons in the Web Editor more accurate.

Using SpeedMode is pretty straightforward. Watch the video to learn how it works.

4. Keep Your Hand Free

If you are a tablet user, does this sound familiar to you? You are on your job walk, holding a tablet in one hand and a 360° camera in the other. You have arrived at your capture spot, but it’s kind of tricky to hold the camera high up while tapping on your tablet. This is finally a matter of the past: With the new auto-trigger, your hand is now free as we remove the need to manually trigger your new captures.

“[It] feels like you’re actually ‘walking the site’ and feels less cumbersome as less UI interaction is required to get the same amount of work done,” says one of our customers during a SpeedMode test.

Easily clip your tablet, for example with the RUNNUR Tablet Belt Clip!

The decreased interactions with your mobile devices open up the opportunity to keep your hand free while on the job walk: If you mount the 360° camera on a handy monopod/selfie-stick with which you hold the camera above your head in one hand during your job walk and clip your mobile device on your belt, you need not worry about juggling too much equipment anymore and can fully concentrate on what is actually going on on-site, while the 360° camera does its job whenever you walk near a Waypoint. You’d only need your mobile to check if you are following the right path in between the captures. Holding your mobile device as you use the Sheet as an orientation lets you know exactly where you need to go so that the corresponding 360° image can automatically be taken.

5. Measure your Results

When it comes to testing out new workflows, measurement of results is always important. In the case of SpeedMode, the indicator of how it performs is the time spent on capturing the site. You can easily measure the total job walk completion time with the traditional “walk — tap — capture” mode, compared to the new “walk — capture” mode.

Internal tests have shown a time saving of 200% (twice as fast). Feel free to email us your personal results — we are always happy to hear from you! Giving us feedback also helps to optimize the feature, so please let us know if you are encountering any challenges while using SpeedMode so that we can improve and provide an even better workflow for you.

“From my usage of HoloBuilder with the SpeedMode update, it has elevated the user experience into a streamlined reality capture tool. One of the hallmarks of the HoloBuilder interface has always been the simplicity of allowing users to capture structured data and deliver that in near real-time to all project stakeholders. With the addition of SpeedMode, the user is able to capture the project data points as they naturally navigate through their jobsite and more accurately hit repeatable points in the environment allowing for better timeline captures and reducing the overall time of capture by 50%. With SpeedMode, application interaction is significantly reduced to a few selections made upfront thereby increasing safety and environmental awareness of the user,” explains William Plato, VDC Manager at an ENR TOP 20 General Contractor after using SpeedMode with his teams.

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What do you think about SpeedMode? Please let us know your thoughts! And if you would like to suggest an addition to our portfolio of features that would make your life much easier or if you have suggestions for improvements, please send us an email to buildingtogether@holobuilder.com.

We are looking forward to hearing from you! Thank you 🙂