The nearly one-year-old company VisiWorld has developed an object-oriented three-dimensional visual and dynamic database that connects work processes and data to equipment and systems. Based on a combination of visual representation and product data models (PDMs), the program can be run from ordinary PCs.
Its purpose is to streamline the flow of information between participants in complex projects as well as to improve planning and implement changes sooner. The aim is to reduce costs and improve resource utilisation. Savings of 10 percent of total costs are within reach, according to players involved.
The concept involves using three-dimensional representations of installations and individual elements to provide a new understanding of the data, compared with traditional flat site plans and technical drawings. The user can navigate around platform models in real time, select a module and zoom in on small details. By clicking on an object the user can access all the technical details and drawings, maintenance routines etc, pertaining to that particular object. Alternatively, the model can highlight objects on the 3-D model, such as the type of equipment or active work orders or special plans and cost information. The user can also go from the actual description of the object and call up visually where it is located in the design.
The system can also contain instructions, manuals and videos and be part of an e-training system for users.
Three pilot projects have been carried out: a test on BP's Gyda platform, a pipeline project under the auspices of Statoil and a project to develop new equipment for National Oilwell.
For VisiWorld it was absolutely essential for the company's further development that a project in collaboration with BP on the Tambar platform be selected as a Demo2000 project under the auspices of the Research Council of Norway. The project is also being supported financially by Telenor and BP. On this project VisiWorld is also collaborating with Aker Kværner, which has designed and built the platform.
The project began in November 2001 and will be completed sometime during 2002. NOK 20 million in public funding has been earmarked. VisiWorld's development costs total NOK 50 million. The company expects to earn money on this product over the course of next year.
According to Ola Johansson, the managing director, the company sees a great potential for the construction industry in streamlining the flow of information. "However, the offshore industry is probably more ready to put new tools to use and collaborate between technical areas and companies. Future development will involve managing processes on the platform and integration with control systems. BP's vision is to create a virtual organisation that can control its unmanned platforms in the future."
"Our biggest challenge lies in people's attitudes towards changing the way they work. Sharing information is a key concept. In addition, integrating the tools that are used in the industry presents a challenge. Today there is little standardisation of information in the construction and offshore businesses as opposed to the electronics and automotive industries, for instance," says Johansson, who has two employees in Oslo and nine in Stavanger to continue to work on developing the product.