What is the Metaverse, and How Does it Change the Building Industry?

Collaborating in the metaverse will be imperative for AEC teams to keep up with changing client expectations, an evolving talent pool, and fierce competition that is already multiplying productivity using the metaverse.
Austin Baker
November 1, 2021

The metaverse has changed how your AEC firm will share ideas

Meta (the new corporate brand that comprises Facebook, Messenger, Oculus, Instagram, and WhatsApp) recently coined the term “metaverse.” Metaverse is essentially a 3D evolution of the internet, representing a virtual universe that can be experienced like the real world. 

Meta’s new brand represents a significant shift in how we connect to one another. There’s a lot we’re still defining in this “Web 3.0”, but the metaverse has major implications for how we collaborate and work together in the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industries. 

Embracing work in the metaverse will be imperative for AEC and VDC teams to keep up with changing client expectations, an evolving talent pool, and fierce competition that is already leveraging the metaverse’s ability to multiply their productivity in sharing ideas. 

In this article, we’ll walk you through how your firm can take advantage of the benefits of the metaverse and not get left behind..

What’s the difference between “the internet” and “the metaverse”?

“It’s the difference between peering through a window and actually being there right in the moment together.” - Mark Zuckerberg

While it’s difficult to even define the internet, our consumption of it has primarily occurred in 2D forms. Phones, tablets, computer screens, and TVs—these are all the first generation of “connected devices” that brought us into experiences together through the internet.

Our latest generation of “connected devices” are shifting into more multi-sensory forms such as augmented reality glasses, virtual reality headsets, and more—primarily focusing on 3D immersion, a sense of physical presence, and interactivity with our real world.

Using these latest “connected devices”, the metaverse moves content from the internet into 3D immersive environments that can be shared and interacted with by multiple users (often taking physical form as avatars.) Read more about Extended Reality (XR) here.

How the metaverse gives your AEC/VDC teams superpowers

The metaverse takes every important asset in our daily work—3D models, conversations, media, data visualization, project management, webapps—and brings them into a shared physical space that can be interacted with by our hands. It’s a new HQ that gives every employee “superpowers,” and it can be accessed from anywhere in the world. These superpowers can take the form of instant 3D massing, manipulating assets, or even interacting with building layers and BIM data on a virtual clipboard.

Using VR in The Wild for instant retail design prototyping

There are many platforms in the metaverse such as The Wild and Prospect by IrisVR that connect our work into these shared experiences. Each platform has a different specialization, such as immersive prototyping and design reviews in The Wild, or 3D issue tracking and BIM coordination in Prospect.

These platforms give a better understanding of the spaces we build and make our communications around them more efficient. By immersing our teammates and clients in 3D spaces, it’s possible to eliminate the need for in-person design review meetings and business travel, while speeding up approvals to shorten design-to-construction timelines. 

Platforms like The Wild and Prospect can even reduce costly RFIs up to $10,000 or more per project. Curious how much you could be saving? Take this quick quiz to find out.

Bringing Revit, SketchUp, BIM360, and more into the metaverse

Connecting Revit model to instant VR group meeting in metaverse

All of your standard work tools are just a few clicks away from the metaverse. Collaboration platforms like The Wild and IrisVR have direct integrations to bring your work from tools like Navisworks into shared spaces that can be accessed from anywhere.

In addition, these platforms’ integrations like Autodesk Construction Cloud ensure that your work stays updated with the latest versions from either desktop or virtual reality. Changes will perpetually synchronize to immersive experiences with the newest changes from Autodesk tools.

Practical benefits of working in the metaverse for AEC

Here’s just a few of our industry’s workflows that have now been completely changed using VR and AR in the metaverse:


  • AEC teams and clients can stay aligned from any time or place in the world using VR, leading to fewer meetings, less business travel, and faster approvals. 


  • From site planning to architectural variations, you can rapidly experience a multitude of iterations with your hands, saving materials and getting to final versions quicker. 


  • From immersive issue tracking to BIM/VDC inspecting & layer visibility settings, VR provides full life-cycle coordination. 


  • Whether reviewing site facades with AR or tweaking materials for clients, you can test every option in lifelike context to ensure you'll land on the right version together, allowing for co-creation and reduced design cycles. 


  • VR/AR allows you to curate full-sensory presentations that speak to every learning style, winning new clients and racing projects forward for full-team approval. 

Learn more about the problems these workflows address and how your AEC team can implement them using VR and AR in the metaverse.

What’s next? The first step is considering what type of platform makes the most sense for your team’s immersive collaboration. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to get started—with VR headsets costing less than $300 and 1-click integrations to bring your existing work into the metaverse.

If you’d like to try one of the leading VR/AR collaboration platforms for AEC teams, try The Wild for free for 2 weeks. For the best in BIM Coordination and Issue Tracking, start your free trial of Prospect by IrisVR.

Other FAQ

Who owns the metaverse? 

  • Despite their name, Meta does NOT own the metaverse, although they do focus on building technology that helps connect us into it. The metaverse is open-sourced; it’s owned by everyone that interacts with it, including 3D art creators, game developers, immersive collaboration platforms, or even VR headset owners.

Isn’t this just focused on gaming?

  • Sure, gaming is one of the largest entertainment industries and has historically been an important business driver to fuel investment in immersive technologies like VR. However, beyond just recreational use, the metaverse can connect people in any form of socialization, work, art, fitness, spirituality, and more.

Does the metaverse replace the internet?

  • No. The internet is, and will always be, an important infrastructure to connect ideas together. The metaverse expands on that by using the internet to connect ideas into more sophisticated shared experiences using immersive devices. You could consider your body the primary device that connects your mind into physical reality, and other immersive devices like VR headsets connecting into other realities in the metaverse.

What is the difference between XR and the metaverse?

  • Extended Reality (XR) is an umbrella term applied to the different spectrums of “realities”, including Virtual Reality (complete immersion), Augmented Reality (imposed immersion in the real world), and Mixed Reality (a combination of the two.) All of these XR forms take place in the Metaverse, the connected existence of all immersive realities.

Is the real world part of the metaverse?

  • Yes.

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