Sweco’s VirtualSite service illustrates Lumon’s balcony glazing solutions with remote connections – visualisation of rain of great interest in Central Europe

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Sweco’s VirtualSite service illustrates Lumon’s balcony glazing solutions with remote connections – visualisation of rain of great interest in Central Europe

11 May 2020
International glazing solution provider Lumon was looking for new ways of presenting their product ideas to customers, finding Sweco’s virtual reality service VirtualSite™ for solution. The solution gives Lumon the competitive edge since virtual models can be used to concretely illustrate for example extreme weather phenomena caused by climate change to residents, architects and property developers.

Lumon specialises in balcony façades and patio products and has now found a solution to illustrate the benefits of balcony glazing on the challenging global market in cooperation with Sweco.

“The concept of glazing balconies is not established abroad yet. We need to work hard to help people understand what we are talking about,” says Lumon Development Director Risto Kivioja. “Previously, we used videos and printed material to explain our products to customers. However, we are now looking for a way to allow the customer to experience the end result in the here and now. An agile tool to support video negotiations, for example.”

Sustainable solutions perceptible: rain, noise, pollution, energy consumption and wearing all able to visualize

Balcony glazing is far more commonly used in the Nordic countries than elsewhere in the world. In Finland, the changing weather conditions have already helped the market for decades, but the all-round use of balconies and the wearing of structures in an increasing number of countries is gaining more interest. Climate change increases global interest in balcony glazing.

“The service life of balconies is increased, both in terms of seasons and years, as the changing weather conditions do not prevent people from using their balconies and the balconies remain in a better condition. This is not news to those of us accustomed to the four seasons, and in many Nordic homes, glazing has meant that the balcony can provide additional living space long into the autumn. Now, people in Central Europe, for instance, have realised that wind, storm and rain can occur more frequently and be stronger than before. Glazing protects the balcony, and we can illustrate these weather conditions with the virtual model,” Kivioja continues.

Virtual modelling is a versatile combination of data from various sources. The model contains different weather conditions (rain, wind and sun glare), terrain photographed with a drone, detailed balcony glazing models, data models and animations. When combined, the end result is a unique, life-like experience of the impact of balcony glazing.

“Balcony glazing also reduces the energy consumption of the apartment, extends the life cycle of the balcony and building, keeps impurities of the city air outside and reduces the noise that reaches the home,” adds Niklas Satola, Marketing Director of Lumon. “We can also use the virtual model to illustrate this fact to architects, property developers and the residents, in particular.”

Forerunners promoting digital leap in the construction industry

Cooperation with Sweco started in the summer of 2019 after Kivioja had seen the Sweco VirtualSite™ service at a construction trade seminar. Both parties are happy that their cooperation has created a tool that helps the construction industry move forward. It supports planning, decision-making and marketing – also with remote connections.

“Suddenly the whole world is working remotely and face-to-face meetings have rapidly become rare. Different operators in the construction industry have also made a huge digital leap – although our sector already was a pioneer with many digital solutions. The tool we have developed together can be easily modified for video meetings and workshops, and with support from Sweco, we have created different versions in order to easily illustrate our products in different channels and to different target groups,” explain Risto Kivioja and Niklas Satola.

Sweco’s Chief BIM Officer Antti Hämäläinen also praises the cooperation and Lumon’s innovative approach. “Our cooperation has been continuous and open. Excellent brainstorming and fruitful interaction with the customer made it possible to achieve a very comprehensive modelling experience,” says Hämäläinen, who was in charge of guiding the modelling work and testing the virtual models.

Lumon tested the performance of the VirtualSite™ service for the first time at the digitalBAU 2020 event in Germany. Customer feedback was encouraging: the virtual tool made the Lumon solution very life-like and easy to understand. “We got the reactions we were looking for. The service met our needs,” Kivioja says. 

From now on, Lumon is going to continue using VirtualSite™ at trade fairs and will also use it as a tool in video meetings and remote workshops. “We no longer need to build immense physical models to be able to showcase our products. Instead, we will be presenting our products virtually, at least to some degree,” Kivioja crystallises the benefit of the service. 

“Our specialists can present our solutions to customers anywhere since the virtual model is available both as a VR headset version and a desktop version,” Kivioja describes the added value of the virtual tool. 

“Our vision is to be the best and most desirable operator in our field, and this solution is a perfect fit for our goal. We believe that this virtual solution will support our business,” Kivioja sums up.