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Major ICEreality® Update Better Supports the Design Process

Explore your future space on your mobile device, with anyone from anywhere

Next-level collaboration. Increased accessibility. An extremely user-friendly interface. And a relentless pursuit to provide our clients with an exceptional construction experience. That’s what drove the latest version of our ICEreality® mobile application, available to all clients and project stakeholders building a space with DIRTT. Our latest innovation was demonstrated this week at our annual gathering of Construction Partners from across the globe. It moves ICEreality further into the future by removing barriers to provide an even more powerful experience. All with the goal of helping take away some of the headaches that come with construction. How did we achieve this? ICEreality is now cloud-based. 

The power of ICE

If you’re unfamiliar with the platform, we’ll get you up to speed. Our ICEreality app is a virtual reality tool DIRTT developed to give clients complete certainty on their future spaces. It does this by translating design elements into a digestible walk-through experience, hosted from a mobile device. ICEreality takes away the guesswork that comes with interpreting 2D drawings by giving people a full view of how their completed project will look, feel, and function. And it’s a social process – allowing multiple people to walk through together. This helps teams better communicate a project’s design intent and ensures the same vision is shared.

Overall, it helps give clients complete confidence to sign-off on their design, ensures they’ll be content with their completed environment, while eliminating pricey change-orders during construction. It also eliminates the need for costly and wasteful physical mock-ups. It’s important to note that in ICEreality, people aren’t just viewing a 3D model. They’re connected directly to the manufacturing information, in real-time. Since ICEreality is directly linked to our ICE® software every change made in ICEreality has a material impact on what will be manufactured and delivered to your project site.  

Pushing it to the next level

The update to ICEreality also improves collaboration no matter where you are. Individuals can walk through their designs in our virtual reality app with people located anywhere in the world. 

IMAGE CREDIT: James John Jetel

The app uses a cloud-based approach to deliver an accessible experience for anyone with an internet connection. It’s a tool that can get everybody on the same page, even when they aren’t in the same room. An ICE user can open a design file on their computer and host a walk-through by sending a nine-digit code to colleagues, clients, or friends in different locations. When other users launch the app and type in the code, it allows them to join the virtual mock-up. 

Think of a video call where people can meet inside their virtual mock-up with all the same data that will be sent to our factory floors. They’re able to see and hear each other as they explore their design in real time as a group. This allows project teams (clients, architects, designers, and general contractors) to share a VR experience from different buildings, cities, countries, or even continents. And all you need to have to take part in this experience is a mobile device, making it extremely accessible and user-friendly for participants.  

Why does it matter?

If you talk to any general contractor or architect, they’ll tell you that good communication is vital to a successful construction project. Most of the hurdles they face on a job site come from a breakdown in communication. Whether it’s among teams, between team members, or anywhere down the line. Designers and architects are working with the client. Contractors are working with the trades. If the information doesn’t make it to the end of the line, things get messy. Maybe the space doesn’t look like the client wanted. Or maybe a big-ticket line item gets overlooked. These things happen, more than anyone wants to admit. 

Experiencing ICE in VR

Inside the virtual environment

This ICEreality update opens a world of collaboration that no other design and construction company can provide. Through this innovation, we’ve made seamless communication a core element of the design experience. Advanced tools and voice connectivity bolster the experience. The result is powerful collaboration and total design certainty. When design collaboration is seamless, those spaces are more thoughtfully planned. As a result, designs will have a more meaningful impact on the way people live, work, learn, and heal. Imagine spaces that help medical staff give better patient care. Environments that cultivate critical thinking skills in students. Collaboration areas where great ideas are triggered. 

Behind it all

Our ICEreality app directly links to our proprietary software called ICE®. This means all of the data (exact pricing, engineering information, manufacturing specs) that ICE generates, runs on the back end when these VR walk-throughs take place. Design changes can be made in real-time. Clients will then see these instantly in their virtual mock-up and all of the back-end data is calculated simultaneously. Why is this significant?  

Imagine you are walking through your design and you want to see how widening a hallway will impact your entire project. ICE lets you make the design change in a matter of seconds. Plus, it instantly calculates all the engineering, pricing, and manufacturing information. You can evaluate the look against the new price to see if it’s a change you want included in your final environment.

ICE software showing 2D and 3D views

In conventional construction, making a design change like this means waiting for a drawing or render to be made, then having it quoted, which could take one to two weeks. By integrating ICE and ICEreality into the design process, the result is more efficient decision making.  And because this same data runs machines in our factories, what you see is what you actually get. 

Take it for a spin

If you’re the type of person who has to see it to believe it, try out the  new app. Getting started is simple. Visit Apple’s App Store on your iPhone or iPad, and search ICEreality. Once the app is downloaded, open it up and view the user tutorial. You’ll then have the option to choose between a public or private experience. A private experience takes place when an ICE user hosts their own ICE file design. A public experience is an open experience hosted by DIRTT and is available to anyone with the ICEreality app. If you select the public experience, you’ll be able to walk through a list of previous DIRTT projects that are publicly available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Make sure you introduce yourself when you meet others in these public spaces, as anyone in the world can tour these virtual mockups with the ICEreality app. Feel free to invite someone else to join from a different location and see how you can meet up virtually. 

We’re excited to see the impact this new upgrade has. It brings more efficiencies to our client teams. It’s just one of the ways we’re bringing construction into the future to help people build faster, cleaner, and smarter.  


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