By Alexandre Lacoursière, VP Sales and Marketing, SmartPixel
Smartpixel is a company specializing in the development of real-time, 3D interactive touchscreen applications for real estate developers, constructors, architects, engineers, as well as those involved in asset management, infrastructure, energy, and manufacturing. Currently, what we do now is called “serious gaming” — applying and developing technologies from the gaming industry where powerful visualization tools are required, and applying them into corporate cases. As an example, residential real estate buyers need to see and feel before choosing the right property, so many developers come to us in pre-construction phases where units need to be sold before being built. We then centralize all key elements of a project in a single user-friendly “wow” experience that helps potential buyers make an informed decision. Users can select units according to search criteria and highlight, visit and customize unit interiors, see global floorplans, common areas, amenities, surroundings, views, and panoramas, lighting conditions through the day and night, and much more.
At Smartpixel, we create interactive 3D landscapes that can be used to view details of any project or product, from condo towers to infrastructure projects, factories or manufactured devices. Any 3D object can be connected to a corresponding database (APIs, CRMs, ERPs, BMS, BIM, digital twins, technical info, etc), so that virtual copies of projects are connected to their real-time informational data, ultimately centralizing the data. Powerful interactive visualization tools really help people have a deeper understanding of any type of project in a more realistic and intuitive manner, whether in the design phases, sales, communications and marketing, training, or management.
We are currently working on a product where users can automatically import 3D objects into procedurally generated landscapes, such as placing real estate assets in their geolocalized context, view them in any angle, and connect them to databases to see related info such as availability, prices, surface, usage, plans, or connect them to their building management systems. It’s all about gathering all important information in a single platform that can be viewed and updated by any stakeholder.
Interactivity and real-time 3D are much more efficient than still images, renders, and videos to understand a project — we can display any information on any component by a simple touch of the fingertip. The video gaming industry has always been at the forefront in terms of visuals, realism, intuition, collaboration, and connectivity. It is time we bring this to the AECOO world.
The fast paced evolution of the tools used in the AECOO industry brings up constant challenges, and the quantity of data is one of them. A simple Revit file with BIM data can be very heavy in terms of data, containing an unlimited amount of details (from a global perspective of a project to the very detailed, milli-metric components of building mechanics), all of which have a data table. Viewing these files in a real-time fluid manner requires a lot of processing power. It is easy to install powerful gaming computers and 4K touchscreens in a real estate sales office, but it’s another thing to bring such processing power to a construction site. However, edge computing is a very promising solution for multi-platform in-situ connectivity.
We began as an “artisanal” startup, creating custom solutions for custom problems. With a necessity to standardize and automate our “assembly line” we developed strong intellectual property and stable workflows to be able to improve our production velocity, helping us reduce costs and stay at the leading edge of innovation. Smartpixel was started by a group of friends in an apartment, and has now grown to house more than 65 people in our Montreal headquarters, with satellite offices in Toronto, Bogota, and Paris. Our company grew organically from the beginning until very recently, when a strategic investor joined the team. We are also working on another round of financing to be able to enlarge our R&D dept and convert our core intellectual property into a license based product, so that anyone — architects, cities, developers, constructors, asset management firms, etc. — can develop the type of software we do, for themselves, without having to write a single line of code.
We are seeing success in all technological challenges we have faced so far, which can be benchmarked by the constant recurrence and growth of our client base. People come to us with problems and challenges, we provide them the solutions they need. We believe that democratizing real-time 3D “game type” development would be a revolution for the AECOO industry, not just in one phase, but for the whole life cycle of a project, from conception and construction to operation and management.