It was evident straightaway that a VR solution would provide a number of benefits to this world leading design consultancy. Astheimer’s roots come from transportation design including cars, boats, planes and even trains. From there they have grown to serve numerous industries meaning that their designs can range from a mobile phone to a 55-meter yacht, but their process of development of the designs is the same, no matter the differences in real life scale.
“Computers have given the designer great power to develop a product from start to finish independently, but with the computer the designer has lost scale, the life-size scale of a product. In the past when we put pen to paper, all drawings were to scale. Computers took that away, but VR is bringing that back”
Carsten Astheimer, Director of Astheimer.
Utilizing VR in their design process has provided Astheimer with a powerful work flow and presentation tool. The design team can be hands on with life size virtual mock-ups and prototypes, evaluating designs with their clients throughout the whole design process.
“Being a leader in product design, it is imperative that Astheimer always remains at the forefront of the latest relevant technology. We always knew VR would be the next advancing technology that we would invest in,” says Carsten.
Astheimer started their investment with VRED Presenter render software, from Majenta Solutions and they continue to invest in our VR presentation solutions. Nick John, our Visualization Manager, develops presentation files for Astheimer, optimizing the product designs so that they are ready to present using VR to their clients. They have since invested in a HTC Vive headset and we continue to work with them to develop how VR as an application supports their processes.
Since adopting VR within their design and development process, Astheimer have not only reduced time and costs for themselves but transferred this saving on to their clients. A large portion of their project time and budget was taken up creating prototypes. They can now view the life sized prototypes through VR and include the client throughout the design process, providing more opportunities to make changes rather than creating numerous physical prototypes.
“We recently took on a project to design a large commercial vehicle, the quote was based around using VR within the design process, this allowed us to keep the cost down for the client and won us the business,” shares Carsten.
Because of their successes Astheimer appear to be a large consultancy, however they have chosen to remain a small, flexible dynamic studio with around 10 designers, so must make their investments in advancing technologies wisely. Both Majenta Solutions and Astheimer were transparent with costs and budgets right from the start.
Carsten commented, “Majenta Solutions have been the key to success with implementing VR into our workflow, Nick has been fantastic in helping us and Ben (Ben Homa, Account Manager at Majenta Solutions) has been accommodating with our requirements. Both have enhanced our client offerings.”
VR and AR will be fundamental in the future of Astheimer. VR has already given scale back to their design process, provided a more effective decision making process, has saved both the agency and their clients time and money, and has kept Astheimer at the forefront of product design.
Carsten shares, “If we can start modeling in VR and 3D, it will allow us to design on our feet, interacting with each other and away from a screen. We can shape the design with our hands, not by using a mouse; it will become an engaging activity, which is just how product design used to be, before we sat in front of computers 24/7.”
When speaking about the future of VR Astheimer provided an interesting, thought provoking idea: that VR will not just be about ROI, it will be about well-being. Using VR takes a person away from their desk, it uses their senses in a way a computer screen does not, it gets them moving around and interacting with their designs. A vast amount of research has been conducted on the negative impact that gaming is having on youngsters, as well as the mental and physical effects from sitting at a desk all day. VR and AR can, if developed and used responsibly provide huge advances in product development, business, from retail to engineering, medicine, gaming, and many other aspects of life.
On a philosophical note Carsten adds, “Companies have a responsibility to consider the work environments of their employees, the future of VR will, if used and developed in the right way, have a positive impact on our work environments. Businesses considering investing into VR should not just consider the ROI and saving money, but the positive effects for the user.”
“My advice would be to try VR out, you need to try these things first. You can then discover whether it is relevant to your workflow, whether it would improve your processes and how it could impact your business. It is only after you review VR within your business that you can distinguish how tangible it is. Being able to trial VR is a valuable part of what Majenta Solutions can offer and being able to do this allowed us to make a conclusive decision to invest in VR through Majenta Solutions.” Carsten Astheimer.