Featuring Aaron Wright of Hoar Construction

How a leading commercial building company is employing augmented reality in construction project development, management and operations.




Tell us about yourself.

I love building and I love technology.  I am the VDC/BIM Director for Hoar Construction. I get to work with all kinds of companies who are developing new technologies to help evaluate how we can best use them in construction.


Tell us about your company – what do you build and where?

We have a great team at Hoar. Hoar is based in Birmingham, Alabama with offices across the southeast in Houston, Nashville, Orlando, Mobile and our newest office in Washington DC. We are a general contractor and program management firm, passionate about building better with technology. We focus on healthcare, commercial and industrial projects across the US. We like to say we are a group of progressive thinkers and principled experts. We’re on a continual mission to build better and change our industry.


What was your first experience with Augmented Reality technology?

My first experience with AR was with GE’s Ecomagination site in 2008, first shown to me by my dear friend Helen Gilliland. At the time, no one had ever seen that sort of thing before and boy did we get some mileage out of that!


How did you hear about SmartReality and when?

I have known James, the CEO of JBKnowledge, for several years and worked with him through the years. Last summer I received a call out of the blue and he was so excited about testing something that would blow my mind and he wanted me to test its development.


What has been your involvement on getting SmartReality implemented within your company?

We worked with James to provide the initial testing models for a rehab hospital that we recently completed. We wanted to be on the forefront of developing a use case for this technology.


What features of the mobile app influenced your company’s decision to get involved with the Beta development?

I thought the idea of SmartReality was cleverly designed and liked its simplicity.  I had the idea to really make it connect with construction experts by using a virtual 3D mockup of a complicated parapet detail that we modeled for the same rehab project. We used the mockup to evaluate quality control and the sequencing of building that detail in the field.


Which employees do you see using the SmartReality app within your company and how often?

The minute I showed SR to our quality and field superintendents they immediately connected with it. At first, they thought it automatically built a model from the plans because it made the detail seem to come alive! Since then, we are continuing to evaluate SR for our projects and are seeking more projects to load into the application.


What other innovative technology is your company currently using or testing?

Our company is on the frontier of using innovative virtual construction tools to help teams build better. Some of those tools include digital and mobile plan technology for document control such as PlanGrid and Smart Use; 5D model-based estimating and preconstruction such as Autodesk® BIM 360™ Glue, Trimble®  Vico; and Assemble and 4D applications using Lean Scheduling Methods and Flowline with Trimble’s® Vico.


How has your company’s use of technology evolved since you first started working there?

Technology has not yet converged and because it is developing at such a rapid rate, that pace is often overwhelming and difficult to keep current as well as implement the right tools when they are constantly changing and evolving. I see the way in which we work still changing, with us eventually arriving at a more complete and integrated solution. At the end of the day, it’s still the people that build, not the tools.


Over the next decade, in what ways do you hope to see augmented reality technology evolve, particularly in construction?

I think with wearable technology such as Google Glass we can build safer and faster in an ever changing world.