You will soon be able to use Visio to create 3D scenes that you can walk through using mixed reality hardware!
3D and Mixed Reality
The Visio team was busy this week showing off some Coming Soon Goodness at the Hannover Messe 2018, “the world’s most important industrial trade show” in north-central Germany.
At the booth, the team were demonstrating the new 3D features coming to Visio
- Generate 3D views from 2D plans using the new MixedReality and 3D features coming soon to Visio.
- Walk through the 3D models using virtual/mixed reality headsets and gear.
- Incorporate data-connected Visio plans with Power BI dashboards to create hybrid visualizations that show data not only as charts and graphs, but as overlays that are part of the Visio detail drawing as well!
- Visio Online is enabling even more people to participate in diagram and visualization creation, be it via viewing, commenting or editing files in the browser.
Visio Partners Helping Out
Let’s give a shout out to the Visio Partners (and long-time friends) that were helping out at the show:
FaciWare GmbH – a facilities management solution that works with Visio to visualize FM-related data, and is used by more than 300 companies in administration, banking, trade and industry.
X-Visual Technologies – a Visio-based P&ID (piping and instrumentation diagrams) solution that can generate BOMs and other lists in Excel, as well as connect instrumentation shapes with live, factory-floor data.
Sieht gut und sicher aus!
Article and Video
In parallel, Microsoft published a news article about the show announcements, in German:
But you can read Google’s translation to English here:
A nifty video accompanies the article, which is also in German. You can get the gist of it just by watching, but I’ll translate the major points below the embed, for über-curious readers:
- Suppose you’re a factory floor manager in a manufacturing facility…
- Maps of your plant are great, but you sill have to do the mental translation into 3D to understand what it represents.
- Of course, people stick with 2D, because the tools for creating 2D plans are easier (and cheaper) to use than 3D modeling software.
- 2D layouts can be over-simplified, depending on what your job is, so you could be missing important details.
- New features coming to Visio will enable 3D views from 2D layouts!
- Imagine a scenario where the production in region “B2” of the factory needs to be increased.
- A new machine shape can be added to the plan, surrounded by a safety area demarcation shape. Both can easily be copied.
- With the click of a button, the updated 3D view can quickly be seen.
- Even with 3D, checking thousands of square meters through a small window on your screen can still be hard to do, so strap on your virtual reality (VR) headset and take a stroll through the plant!
- You can check details and get a feel for the design before any real-world actions are taken.
- You can walk through the area or teleport to distinct locations.
- You can turn layers on and off, and the 3D objects show and hide!
- Example: Let’s turn on the test stations to check that the testers are working at a safe distance from the new machines. (Looks good and safe!)
- With 2D to 3D magic, it is easier to test designs and quickly discover unexpected problems that could have huge costs if detected after-the-fact.
- There are many different use cases for this technology, such as: office spaces, retail stores, warehouses, laboratories, date centers, etc.
- More is coming from the Visio team, so stay tuned!
Visio + 3D solutions have been created by partners a few times before, but it is interesting to see that Microsoft is incorporating it into the product. Hopefully the new additions won’t be to damaging to existing businesses, but I think it’s about time this happened. I think good things will come from this.
One benefit that often comes when new features are added are corresponding automation hooks. As a Visio Programming Nerd myself, I hope that there are new API methods for working with the 3D features. As it stand right now, I imagine there is some sort of mapping process where users need to assign a 3D model to a 2D shape. For large libraries, this could be tedious for end-users. But for developers, this is an opportunity to pre-package solutions, or build tools to make the process easier or unnecessary for end-users.
And also, Visio had no choice, since Microsoft already added 3D to Paint!