Skolkovo resident VR Concept has developed a VR prototyping solution that was recently picked up by the American corporation Microsoft for its “Gorod Innovatsii” program (Urban Innovation). The project is aimed at industry with the goal of increasing efficiency, particularly with regard to communication, but also for virtual prototyping, analysis, and so on.
VR Concept solution for the oil & gas sector. Screenshot: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1RmFMciRPg.
The partnership with Microsoft will give the VR Concept team the opportunity to develop its sales both in Russia and abroad, and the fact that the American company has added the solution to its collection indicates the growing interest in virtual reality prototyping technologies. VR Concept already has over 30 clients in Russia, Europe, and Asia as well as 300 prospective clients, and its market sectors are construction, engineering and education.
The main feature is to combine the capabilities of virtual prototyping and collective remote interactive work with a wide range of building information modeling (BIM), computer-aided design (CAD), and computer-aided engineering (CAE) data. Using the solution, you can create a virtual session for a project from BIM/CAD/CAE models and run it on virtual and augmented reality desktop systems; it allows users with VR systems to connect to a given session via a local network or via the Internet, in spite of geographic location. VR Concept is built on its own engine using algorithms that can reduce the need for resource performance and implement the creation of 3D models and scenes on client equipment from native 3D models from BIM, CAD and CAE packages.
VR Concept solution in education. Screenshot: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3QiOAGGKsKE.
VR Concept is a software developer that creates prototyping applications to solve industrial challenges, aiming to provide users with a quick, convenient and relatively simple VR application for collaboration and for visualizing scalable CAD models. The project began as a spin-off of VE Group four years ago, when it was registered as an LLC. While the company only became a Skolkovo resident in 2019, its team of fourteen specialists has fifteen years of experience behind it.
The new collaboration with Microsoft is a major step for such a young company, although it isn’t its first collaboration with a large corporation. VR Concept’s solution has already been used with the Russian energy giant Gazprom Neft in a move to help the company implement its internal digitization program; the collaboration ultimately reduced business trip costs. Another joint corporate project was with Sinara-Transport Machines Holding, one of Russia’s largest holdings for transport engineering. VR Concept’s solution was used in this case to improve the locomotive design process, a completely different field to the Gazprom case. The result was a reduction in the time it takes to design new locomotives, while the technology is being applied and scaled to other divisions within the company. Aside from corporate projects, the company also applied the solution in the academic field during a collaboration with Belgorod State Technological University named after V.G. Shukhov, which increased the training speed and quality of BIM specialists with skills working with digital tools and VR.
The virtual reality technology market was estimated at around $10.3 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach $15.8 billion by the end of 2020, although VR Concept focuses on the VR prototyping market. The market is projected to continue to grow steadily over the coming decade. The Russian VR-prototyping market accounts for about 2-3% of the total VR market and, according to VR Concept, the company currently has few domestic competitors. Its stated main advantage over rival companies is the solution’s ease of use, productivity, focus on solving industrial challenges, technical support, its speedy implementation according to client needs, not to mention its competitive price.
The CEO of VR Concept Denis Zakharkin stated that “We are glad to become a part of the Gorod Innovatsii platform. The inclusion of our project into Microsoft’s collection of partner solutions only speaks of the increased interest in optimizing industrial activities with the help of VR. The virtual reality market continues to grow and we are sure that we can meet the needs of our clients in this direction. The partnership with Microsoft will give us the opportunity to develop our sales both in Russia and abroad. We value the support and collaboration with Microsoft.”
Weighing in on the news of this new collaboration between a Skolkovo resident and a major foreign company, Mikhail Burenkov, the project manager of the advanced production technologies cluster, underscored the key feature of VR Concept’s solution, saying that “it is a convenient tool to use while working with BIM models during the approval stage and for project ergonomics. Its defining feature is the ability to display a large number of objects in a virtual room, but also the ability to work with a group of over 20 people using a single model.”
Mr. Burenkov went on to say that the solution is relevant to today’s challenges, especially for the construction of industrial facilities involving a large amount of engineering communication.
“The VR team is the deserved winner of numerous innovation-themed competitions and is actively supported by the Skolkovo Foundation," said Mr. Burenkov. "We are glad that the company is now among Microsoft’s partner solutions. It will make the current solution more accessible to a broader circle of clients.”