1) Hi. So let me start with a fundamental question. Why Trezi? And why a product for the AEC industry?
¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†Hi. Well to answer your question, SmartVizX has intrinsically been an architecture and design focussed company since its inception. The founders are both architects ¬†with over four decades of combined experience. The problems we are solving are actually problems we have faced right through our professional careers. We do not want to solve the problems for only ourselves, our passion and critical focus is on solving the problem for the entire industry.
Having faced challenges due to limited ¬†and static tools as a means to communicate our designs to clients, we conceptualised Trezi. Trezi is a culmination of architects struggling to explain their design ideas with 2D layouts and static 3D stills which repeatedly results in errors creeping into construction. And this is when clients really start losing serious money – ¬†in sorting out mistakes that could have been avoided right at the beginning. We wanted our clients (owners & tenants of offices and homes) to be actively involved in the design process so as to prevent any misunderstandings between the stakeholders vis-a-vis vision of the designers.
2) Where does Virtual reality come into play here?
The key was to provide the opportunity to immerse the user and buyer into the designed environments. We went with Virtual reality after some serious high voltage discussions with a number ¬†of game developers who had the understanding of game engines like Unity3d or Unreal. We could now understand the potential of Virtual reality and the impact it could have in the way visualization and collaboration was happening in the AEC industry. It just felt natural. It was like being there and seeing what the future was going to be. Virtual reality helps make designs more immersive and make the communication 2-way instead of a one way traffic between the designer and the client.
3) What are the challenges you faced when you introduced Trezi to the market?
There were significant challenges that came our way. When we started we wanted to provide the opportunity to design within Virtual Reality. But early feedback from the market suggested that the architects and designers were not ready for a complete paradigm shift. Existing 3D authoring methods had to be supported for ease of adoption.
Then the lack of standard tools was the other challenge. There are so many products that are currently used by the fraternity and practically everyone has their own ways of using these products. All of these actually contribute to massive time and cost losses. We decided on working with most commonly used products to maximize adoption. The product roadmap now will start incorporating support for other commonly used products and tools.
Also, there were challenges around VR too. It is still largely a very new technology. We consciously decided on starting in a services mode to understand the tech and customer behaviour as much as possible. Once we felt confident with it and gained understanding of user needs, behaviour, adjacent markets and other valuable insights; we bit the bullet and pivoted into the product journey.
The important thing to understand here is that Trezi is a product for the future. We believe, and the fraternity has validated this too, is that immersive design, visualization and collaboration is the future. The 2D way of working in design may not last out too long.
4) Let us talk about the traditional design process and how Trezi aims to reduce it?
Current processes do not facilitate real time collaboration and decision making and that is what Trezi does.
Using the power of Immersive computing and applying Virtual reality on real world projects with Trezi, we can actually ¬†reduce the stages of design.
The traditional design process is as follows –
Concept —————-> Schematic design ———————-> Design Development —-> Documentation
The process of Concept involves architects who pen down their vision in Pen and Paper using a various tools, even sketching. Once the concept is finalized , the Architect moves on to Schematic design which gives shape to the concept with more real time considerations being responded to at this stage. The final stage of any project is the design development when the plans, layouts, sections and elevations get finalised along with building services
While the time taken in each stage is significant, one of the biggest risks is that of lack of common understanding due to different levels of interpretations by different stakeholders
With Virtual reality, we are able to bring all stakeholders on the same level of understanding and even decrease the time taken to finalise design through traditional processes traditionally by immersive design and ensure ¬†better collaboration. The projects not only came out better, but the time for creating renders, took seconds (some were even instant) which was a huge change from days and weeks that they took earlier. The designs were also what the client had ‚Äėtruly understood‚Äô ¬†since in this case, the client was a contributing stakeholder and could actively view suggest changes in Virtual reality.
5) Hm. Very Interesting. Is the product addressed only at Architects or do you want to invoke other stakeholders as well?
Well, at this point we aim to bring ¬†more architects and designers onto the platform. But in very near future (in fact the onboarding has commenced already), with critical mass of Architects on Trezi, we will bring building product suppliers ¬†on the platform too and allow architects and designers, customers and suppliers engage with each other. This will be a place for vendors to showcase their products and avoid physical mockup and catalogues using the power of immersive visualization.
Architects will reduce errors, gaps in ¬†understanding and finish projects earlier saving huge amounts of time and resources. The advantages are numerous and those who have tried our product have given great feedback.
6) That is really great. As an Architect, I could definitely see the USP and would like to try out Trezi.
If you are an architect, please try our product right away. We have a free trial and if your system supports Oculus rift or HTC vive, then we would love to have your feedback on our product. Trezi was made to solve the problems of architects and designers and help them collaborate with building product suppliers and the customers. Each and every feedback means ¬†a lot. We do our best to incorporate every relevant feedback in the product for the benefit of the entire industry. Our agile methodology of product development commits to providing regular updates and new features in Trezi with every new release . We aim to make Trezi ¬†the go-to software for all stakeholders going forward. We are focussed on the workplace segment to start with as that is where the founders come from but subsequent releases will incorporate other design specialities too.