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Paper convr-2013-36:
Virtual reality for meeting interaction in infrastructure construction projects

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Porkka J,Kuula T,Kähkönen K,Rannisto J

Virtual reality for meeting interaction in infrastructure construction projects

Abstract: Urban planning and infrastructure projects of varied sizes are increasingly utilizing model-based applications at planning phase. Although the use of virtual models has its advantages, there are multiple challenges that diminish their potential in project use. These challenges are related to either non-human or human topics. The non-human topics cover issues like deficient processes, practices and tools. The human-related topics include for example lack of communication and interaction between relevant stakeholders. The interaction is a key element in current design practice due to the high number of disciplines involved in design formation and decision-making. During the past years, many key stakeholders have experienced difficulties in changing the current way of working with model-based practices. Virtual reality (VR) has been found to offer promise for design visualisation to convey messages with reduced communication difficulties between stakeholders. This paper draws findings from observations in one meeting at an on-going large infrastructure construction project in Finland. In this case study, virtual reality has been used in project management meetings to facilitate communication and to support decision-making. We consider how the use of virtual reality actually influenced on group dynamics and make concluding remarks underpinning the use in a traditional meeting room environment. We have used activity theory as a framework to begin method development for observing and analysing the effects of virtual reality on interaction and related work practices. The empirical findings point out, that new visualization instruments have effects on the ‘division of labour’. Following five traditional meeting interaction characteristics showed changes at group dynamics. When virtual reality was used as a presentation tool, the interaction between participants became more balanced. Activation of all participants, most probably, leads to enhanced mutual understanding, and furthermore to better results in the whole project.

Keywords: Infrastructure construction,Virtual Reality,Meeting,Interaction,Decision making


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