Collaboration in VR is among the top use cases for immersive technology. According to a 2020 industry report by the XR Association, collaboration is among the top five enterprise applications of AR/VR, with implementation in 47 percent of organizations.
VR could power 3D photorealistic environments where professionals come together to work together and develop new ideas. It also allows us to visualize design blueprints and prototypes in astonishing detail, simplifying the product development process.
There are several photorealistic VR solutions available driving collaborative workflows:
Hi-tech company NVIDIA launched its photorealistic VR collaboration platform in 2017. Holodeck provides users with a virtual environment where to develop 3D replicas of designs with exacting detail.
Before the launch, architects, designers, and NASA engineers tested the platform for product development. Its primary use cases are in manufacturing, particularly in the automotive, transportation, and aerospace and defense sectors. Its key features include:
- Supports photorealistic graphics at a life-size scale
- Artificial intelligence (AI)-compatible to deploy digital humans for product testing
- Design review and feedback workflows
- Model imports and exports from Autodesk and SOLIDWORKS
Unreal Studio is a photorealistic VR design solution from Unreal, part of Epic Games. It first launched in 2019 to help architects, engineers, and product designers reimagine their design process.
Users will be able to access the VR development tools included in Unreal Engine as well as the Unreal Editor interface. The platform can render images of real-world objects and 3D designs photorealistically in a VR environment. Its key features include:
- Interoperability with CAD and 3DS Max data
- Datasmith, a workflow toolkit that automates import processes
- 100+ substance materials, industry-specific templates, and learning videos
- Mesh editing, metadata exposure, and non-destructive re-import of data
Trezi is a virtual reality design software for the architecture, engineering, and constructions (AEC) industry. It includes two core products – Lens for architects and designers and Showcase, which help building product manufacturers showcase their offerings.
Non-VR users can also participate in Trezi sessions and collaborate with users in a virtual environment. In 2020, Trezi further expanded its platform and launched Trezi Academy for design students and aspiring professionals. Its key features include:
- Support for external users even without a Trezi account
- Design visualization in real scale, color, and texture
- TreziViewer to load data from the web and provide an immersive
- Design collaboration and co-authoring in real-time
Brio is an interactive AR and VR creator platform that offers users a no-code, cloud-based design environment. Its primary use cases span retail, e-commerce, brand design, and marketing, and the company is part of the AWS partner network.
Brio is ideal for creating 3D renditions of e-commerce products instead of the traditional 2D catalog. Once designers collaborate, develop, and finalize their work, they can publish it on the web and share it on social media through a connected workflow. Its key features include:
- Drag-and-drop design functionality and minimal technical skills
- Compatible with all major file types and industry-standard software
- 3D scene viewing and publishing without any downloads, installation, or plugins
- Asset and template library with thousands of professionally designed objects
The Wild is a VR design platform that first launched in 2017. It has gained new momentum in the last two years, raising $2 million in fresh funding in 2021. It offers a collaborative design environment for the building industry, with photorealistic VR capabilities.
It is a cross-platform solution and compatible with all major VR headsets, AR on iOS, and desktop environments. The Wild is purpose-built to inspect and render building information modeling (BIM) data. Its key features are:
- Speech-to-text comments to communicate and collaborate asynchronously
- Integration with Revit, SketchUp, BIM 360, and all major 3D file types
- Native sketching tools for rapid prototyping in VR
- Supports up to eight designers or collaborators in a single VR workspace
VISIONxR is an immersive platform that allows multiple collaborators to work together in a virtual space, logging in via VR, AR, desktop, or mobile devices. It features use cases across industries, including the retail, gaming, and entertainment sectors as well as training and education.
Users can easily import their design assets to the platform and share them with others to power real-time collaboration. It supports unlimited users, although the number of maximum concurrent users is available on request. Its key features include:
- Multi-platform compatibility (iOS, Android, Vive, Rift, Quest, Windows)
- Bespoke environmental control to finetune the workspace
- The option to access AR and VR elements together, in a mixed reality environment
- Discounted pricing on an annual license
KeyVR is a design platform by rendering, animation, and lighting technology provider Luxion. While KeyVR helps import 3D assets and visualize them in a virtual environment, KeyVR Connect is meant for multi-participant collaboration.
It supports a wide range of files, and once the user imports them into the platform, other meeting participants can view them in real-time. The environment offers multi-material support, along with animations. Its key features include:
- Foundational design aids like measurement, move, and measure and snap tools
- Intuitive user scaling to explore product designs from every vantage point
- Customizable graphic settings and environments
- Supports all major Oculus, SteamVR, Varjo, and any Windows Mixed Reality headset
VR collaboration is one of the most promising applications of immersive technology in the enterprise, and additionally, there are a variety of general-use VR environments that can double-up for design and collaboration.
For example, Meta’s Horizon Workrooms can enable tailored workspaces where remote professionals can meet, brainstorm, and create. Spatial is another such collaboration platform for VR that’s best suited to virtual meetings and events.
The advantage of the top seven tools is that they provide photorealistic capabilities, meaning that design renderings are precise and accurate, and ready for conversion to real-world prototypes. They have the underlying computing power necessary to render high-quality graphics at scale, without any loss of detail.