A virtual inspection is a fantastic tool/solution for any organisation such as industrial, mining, commercial/construction site and government departments. In times of social distancing and remote connectivity, a virtual inspection is an ideal solution. They allow people to feel as though they are conducting a site inspection while in the safety of their home/office. Today we explore this technology and see how it helps with remote inspections, keeps people safe, keeps costs down and saves time.
Virtual Inspection: The Ideal Solution for Government, Industry and Regional Australia
What is a virtual inspection?
A virtual inspection is a site inspection that is conducted remotely through the use of technology. This is can be achieved by a 360 virtual tour or live streaming 360 video/traditional video. It allows the person inspecting the property to view the site/location from their home or office without physically attending the site/location. This is achieved by having someone local to the site guide them through a live stream and/or capturing the location in virtual reality (VR) so people can experience the site firsthand on their computer / VR headset.
Benefits of a virtual inspection
There are many long and short term benefits to hosting a virtual inspection. Firstly people can view the location from the safety of their home/office. This significantly reduces travel time to/from locations and is especially important for people who live interstate / overseas. The organisation can save a significant amount of time and money on travel alone. With lockdowns constantly occurring, a virtual inspection system will minimise any downtime to the business/government department. If a lockdown does occur, there is no need to reschedule appointments as the inspection can be conducted remotely.
When a virtual inspection is used for a tendering process (local/international), this minimises the local traffic onsite while maximising the number of people who can view the location. If the site is recorded as a high end 360 virtual tour, people can inspect the property any time of the day from anywhere in the world. You can also integrate additional information such as existing photos, information, video and more to add valuable and relevant information. Think of it as a built-in guide right inside the site inspection/virtual tour.
Types of virtual inspections
There are different ways to host a virtual inspection. Whatever method used is based on the requirements of the location, business/government body and the end-user and what they require to see/ask. Below are some of the most popular, effective and meaningful methods to conduct a virtual inspection.
360 Virtual Tour
A virtual tour allows clients to see and interact with an environment such as a building walkthrough, office tour, construction zone and so on. This will enable them to experience the full scope of the property right from the comfort of their home or office. Your clients will become fully immersed in an environment feeling like they are already there. Additionally, a high-end 360 virtual tour should be VR enabled and view the site inspection with a VR enabled headset. People will feel as though they are onsite at the location in person. The tour can also be highly customised by adding additional content information such as additional hotspot information, existing photos, video and more. A virtual tour can also incorporate floorplans, documentation and even the option of a live guided experience from a staff member/agent.
A 360 video is a good idea if you want to standardise the experience. By creating a 360 video, people can have a curated view of the site/location of the information, which means everyone will have the same experience. The other advantage is that you can use 3rd party video hosting solutions such as YouTube, Facebook, or Vimeo, which support 360 video and 3d ambisonic sound. This will significantly reduce the bandwidth required from your site as 360 videos are recorded in very high resolutions.
View the above 360 video in high-end 8k resolution or click here
360 live stream is as cutting edge and personal as you can get to a virtual site inspection with more technical requirements than the first two options. Unlike a 360 video, a 360 live stream is happening live. You will require a person onsite to conduct the tour, but you will be able to see the site live/firsthand. You can talk directly with the person on-site if the set-up is designed with the right tech, equipment, and system. Additionally, if the system supports virtual reality, you will be able to use a headset to see/hear and even talk to the person through your headset. It’s as though you are conducting a one on one personalised site inspection from your home or office.
Who are the people most likely to benefit from a virtual site inspection?
There are multiple industries, organisations and government departments that would benefit from a virtual site inspection. There are specific and various reasons for each business, industry or governing body.
Government departments vary quite considerably from local through to state and federal. Each has its own areas they look after, but these can be broken down into two main areas. Firstly public resources such as government buildings, facilities such as venue spaces, community facilities libraries and services such as cemeteries amongst others. The reason for a site visit can include remotely informing the public about the general facility and providing contractors remote access to quote pro a project in a tender process. Below is an example Wentworth Community Centre and Library in Parramatta wanted to showcase their facility but opted to create an interactive virtual tour for the general public due to constant lockdowns.
Double click in the virtual tour to make it go fullscreen, or click here
The other main reason is for internal purposes to check on facilities for regular staff inspections. Councils have a wide area with a lot of physical locations across their region. Having people constantly travel to each site is costly and time-consuming. This method allows people (even during a lockdown) to visit the site, update their reports and go to the next site without leaving their chair.
Industry sectors with remote workers
Multiple organisations that work state/nation-wide require staff to travel regularly to check their various facilities/infrastructure on a regular/semi-regular basis. This in itself is a timely and costly process. However, it is a requirement that is needed to make sure everything runs smoothly and to standard. Additionally, you may require a WHS (work health & safety) White Card to be allowed on-site in some instances. A virtual inspection allows any staff member to visit a construction site remotely without needing a white card. Below is an example of various sections from the M8 Opening Virtual Tour.
Double click in the virtual tour to make it go fullscreen, or click here
Regional Australia / Remote Sites
Australia is vast in size, and remote locations make it challenging for people who do not live close to visit/inspect. A virtual inspection is a great solution over lengthy distances. They take advantage of time and cost savings to inspect the site but also inspections can occur more often. No longer would staff have to travel to these remote locations, which could take hours or, in some cases, days. They can now see the site any time through a virtual tour, 360 video or 360 live stream.
Which is right for you?
There are many ways to conduct a virtual site inspection. Choosing the right one will depend on your needs and requirements. Contact Simply 360 for a virtual inspection consultation session, call us on 9674 9090, or fill out the form on this page to start a conversation about designing a virtual inspection to meet your needs.
Can you think of another way a virtual inspection can help? Does your business/government department conduct virtual inspections? Let us know down below in the comments and joining this cutting edge discussion 🙂