Though computer-mediated communication technologies such as immersive virtual reality (IVR) have recently shown considerable promise, their effectiveness as methods of communication among the participants in construction projects has yet to be systematically investigated. This study helps fill this gap via a detailed comparison of traditional face-to-face (FtF) discussion of Building Information Modeling (BIM) information displayed on a monitor screen against IVR-based communication with BIM information embedded in the immersive environment. The results of experiments in which groups of participants discussed and chose optimal design options indicated that there is no large statistical difference in IVR-based and FtF communication in terms of discussion quality (level of effectiveness and satisfaction experienced), communication richness (detailed responses and vivid messages), and openness (enjoyableness and open-mindedness) during the communication. However, for the accuracy of communication (information communicated correctly and understood properly), FtF communication was better than IVR-based communication, which is assumed due to weak human-human to interaction in IVR. In addition, the communication appropriateness (behavioral acts such as politeness or social norms), IVR-based communication was significantly less than FtF communication, indicating that communicating with others only seeing virtual avatar could make it difficult to discern participant’ reactions or identify appropriate moments to speak. These results could confirm certain advantages of adopting IVR-based communication while further improvement for real-like interaction between people needs to be made for more effective use of IVR communication.
- communication effectiveness
- construction projects
- face-to-face (FtF) communication
- immersive virtual reality
- visual communication
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Civil and Structural Engineering