The Unity Engine in Business Contexts: some Ideas Explored

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The technology world is full of surprises that take even battle-hardened industry pundits by surprise. There are areas of IT that are pioneered well away from the hothouse environment of the DevOps department; solutions, and cutting-edge platforms that push boundaries.

Take as an example, the esoteric buzzword that is IoT (internet of things). In the technology sphere, we think of carefully baked system-on-chip devices controlling smart cities and helping feedback data from futuristic autonomous vehicles powering around their streets. But the long-term groundwork for what we as technologists think of as cutting edge has been a daily reality in the engineering and manufacturing industries for decades. IoT devices (strictly, IIoT devices) have been attenuating and controlling machinery since the mass introduction of solid-state devices in the 1960s and 70s — and arguably, earlier than that.

The same type of surprise waits for us in the technologies of 3D modelling, virtual, augmented and extended realities. As practical business-minded professionals, we like to think about the specific use cases where 3D imagery could be used to – say, create overlays to explain complex industrial facilities, for example.

These types of solutions are only viable because of the work done for the last thirty years by that (apparently) most frivolous waste of peoples’ time — the gaming industry. Whether or not readers of Tech Wire Asia class themselves as “gamers,” the huge advances in real-time visualization in 3D have been made primarily by games designers and the software companies behind them.

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Perhaps it’s not surprising, especially when we consider the economics. The games industry turns over more than the global film and music industries combined. There are literally billions of dollars pumped into games studios, whose developers use the very latest in software to bring their creative imaginations to life in silicon and data.

No shock, therefore, to learn that the world’s leading platform for creating and operating interactive, real-time 3D (RT3D) content, Unity, now forms the core of thousands of business-critical applications that are a long way from games but use the same accumulated knowledge and the millions of hours that have gone into making the Unity engine the world’s most advanced 3D modelling platform.

There are specific industries that have been, for many years, reliant on 3D — CAD design of components, buildings, and objects of all types has been around a long while. Now, thanks to Unity, those engineering drawings can be rendered in real-time, bringing the imaginations of the world’s most exciting designers, architects, and technicians to life.

In business settings, what has often slowed down developing realistic 3D animations, models, and overlays (essentially, data representing objects) has been time-consuming manual creation, texturing, and animation of elements. The Unity Industrial Collection takes CAD data to create and publish real-time 3D applications. The Unity toolset allows models to be quickly textured and brought to life, removing many of the highly manual, repetitive data point entries that have “traditionally” categorized 3D modelling workflows.

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Source: Unity

The Industrial Collection fits right into the industries mentioned in passing above: manufacturing and engineering. Imagine developing flexible digital twins of complex plant and machinery that can be manipulated in real-time, for the training of staff, problem-solving, or testing out new functionality without the overheads of creating prototypes and working physical models.

Creating iterative revisions to existing devices is an incredible cost-saving, but the same facilities are being used already in R&D all over the world in multiple industries. Companies use Unity to visualize and validate concepts, accelerating the time from creativity to viable creation, in collaborative workspaces that exist only in silicon.

For customer-facing roles, the speed and ease that applications can be created with Unity’s tools create potential for organizations to significantly “wow” would-be and existing clients. Product configurators and visualizers that redraw and move in real-time are leveraging the technology used in today’s triple-A games, making mixed reality and product walk-throughs a daily norm, not an esoteric element to a more traditional campaign. Creating photo-realistic environments is the bread and butter of games developers — the tech is waiting there for mainstream use by organizations that want to make their offerings literally jump off the page.

Training new staff or personnel about to go into dangerous environments can massively cut costs for both businesses or first responders in many industries and verticals. Even for experienced staff, learning and training should never stop. The 3D modelling technology that can create teaching materials that bring subjects to life can now be part of the developer’s toolkit, meaning companies get to upskill and onboard new staff fast.

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Source: Unity

On a final note, this article began with a mention of several technology industry buzz phrases where tech has evolved significantly in unexpected places. Right up there with IoT and IIoT is AI — where cognitive models self-teach and run on the arrays of graphic chipsets beloved of the gaming community. The intersection of 3D modelling and graphics hardware creates huge possibilities for the everyday use of AI in every workplace. The technology exists, is readily available, and thanks to Unity, is massively more accessible to developers, organizations and creators that want to leverage machine-based learning models.

Game
s designers worldwide use the Unity engine to bring their imaginations to (virtual) life. With the Unity Industrial Collection, the same facility is available to every business function in every organization. Like the games programming wizard, the results are only limited by the imagination.

To learn more about Unity and how your company can open its horizons into the 3D space, get in touch with a representative today.




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