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Metaverse Concept: 3D GPS technology that revolutionizes on-site technical work

Sustainable mobility
28/01/2016

A start-up specializing in 3D modeling and which won a call for projects focused on making it easier to conduct technical installations and repairs in complex buildings: such is the story behind Metaverse Concept, a young startup from Saint Flour whose 3D modeling solution proved persuasive enough to be adopted by the Auvergne office of ENGIE Cofely.

It all starts with identifying the needs of one of the office’s hospital clients. In the hospital, ENGIE Cofely needs to install and repair technical equipment at all times, nights and weekends included. While the usual technicians are familiar with the building's complexity, sometimes on-call technicians have trouble finding the equipment they need to work on and do not have contacts on site.

It’s a problem also faced by other customers in both tertiary and industrial settings: the buildings are often complex, with multiple levels and equipment that can be difficult to locate.

The need that has been identified is twofold:
- The ability to geolocalize technical equipment within a complex building with several levels, for example. GPS systems currently work very well in 2D but cannot indicate the notion of relative altitude.
- To provide the technician responding to a call with technical information to assist operations and decision making: device specifications, history of work done, program settings, etc .

There was an additional constraint: the use of a tablet was obligatory; starting in 2015, all ENGIE Cofely technicians have to be equipped with one.

To meet these needs, ENGIE Cofely launched a call for projects on the Group platform for innovation, OpenInnov by ENGIE (link).

Thomas Chambon, the local office’s sales manager, was pleasantly surprised by the responses to this call for projects: fifteen projects were submitted, mainly from France, but also from the United States! The diversity of responses led him to find out about potential solutions from within the field and throughout the world.

Of these 15 proposals, three project teams were selected to present their solutions in Clermont-Ferrand during an Innovation Challenge that was jointly hosted by La Montagne, ESC Clermont and Auvergne ICT during the ENGIE Innovation Week in June 2015.

The startup called Metaverse Concept was selected following the pitch session. Metaverse Concept has developed a 3D universe that corresponds perfectly with the 3D modeling aspect of the call for projects, and the startup was also able to integrate document management and a highly precise solution for geolocalization.

Pascal Angelini, Metaverse Concept’s president and cofounder, looks back on the startup’s history: "We came from the world of theatrical productions, which led us to develop the 3D part. Since then we have created a platform that includes all the diverse aspects of “reality” (weight, temporality, etc.) in a virtual simulation. Gradually, we began specializing in technical buildings with high added value. "

Development of the application pilot

Over the summer, the application pilot went into its deployment phase at the head office of Limagrain, the French leader in seeds and cereal products. The site’s facility management functions, which are operated by the Auvergne office of ENGIE Cofely, will allow the Group to test various situations to see if the application responds well to all the requirements. Metaverse Concept also had to focus on making sure the tablet version worked as well as the one originally developed for PC.

The product will be presented to the client over the next few weeks and will be tested on site during the first quarter of 2016.

A last question for Thomas Chambon: what criteria were used to choose Metaverse Concept as the winner of the call for projects?

First of all, it’s their technology. Their 3D universe addresses the issue at hand, includes BIM (building information modeling) and allows for additional developments in document management. The possibilities making the tool evolve and develop are almost infinite.

Also, their solution has the potential to provide real value for our customers, since they can use it to meet their own needs. A senior real estate manager could use the application to manage her buildings, for example.

In short: Metaverse Concept met our initial requirements while ultimately also enabling us to offer new services to our customers.

Source: Christine Leroy