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Carreira, P, Castelo, T, Gomes, C C, Ferreira, A, Ribeiro, C and Costa, A A (2018) Virtual reality as integration environments for facilities management: Application and users' perceptions. Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, 25(01), 90-112.
- Type: Journal Article
- Keywords: information systems; simulation; integration; decision support systems; information and communication technology applications
- URL: https://doi.org/10.1108/ECAM-09-2016-0198
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to explore the use of virtual reality environments (VRE) for maintenance activities by augmenting a virtual facility representation and integrating relevant information regarding the status of systems and the space itself, while providing simple ways to control them. Design/methodology/approach The research focuses in the implementation of a VRE prototype of a building management system using game engine technologies. To evaluate the prototype, a usability study has been conducted that contrasts the virtual reality interface with a corresponding legacy application showing the users perception in terms of productivity improvement of facilities management (FM) tasks. Findings The usability tests conducted indicated that VREs have the potential to increase the productivity in maintenance tasks. Users without training demonstrated a high degree of engagement and performance operating a VRE interface, when compared with that of a legacy application. The potential drop in user time and increase in engagement with a VRE will eventually translate into lower cost and to an increase in quality. Originality/value To date no commonly accepted data model has been proposed to serve as the integrated data model to support facility operation. Although BIM models have gained increased acceptance in architecture engineering and construction activities they are not fully adequate to support data exchange in the post-handover (operation) phase. The presented research developed and tested a prototype able to handle and integrate data in a flexible and dynamic way, which is essential in management activities underlying FM.