Bill Schmidt is the Director of System Integration, Detroit, for AVI-SPL. We spoke with him about visualization and the role it can play for companies.
TD: What is Advanced Visualization?
Bill Schmidt: Advanced Visualization is usually descriptive of display system solutions which can immerse individuals and groups into simulated environments.
TD: Is there a difference between 2D and 3D visualization?
Bill Schmidt: Both types tend to have the common denominator of very high resolution measured in 10’s of millions of pixels. The 3D visualization component also adds the additional sense of depth, which is sometimes a requirement depending on the content being displayed.
TD: Why would a company want to utilize visualization?
Bill Schmidt: Let’s use scientific visualization as an example. These days data is very easy to come by. It’s very inexpensive to acquire. What becomes difficult is taking that data and utilizing it in a useful fashion. If you visualize the data, usually through the use of a variety of software tools, it then becomes easier for groups to collaborate and gain consensus on whatever it is they’re investigating.
Another example would be visualization used for automotive design work. Automotive companies use advanced visualization tools in their design process because it allows them to augment the use of traditional clay modeling. With the use of visualization for virtual car modeling, many more permutations of their design can be evaluated in much shorter periods of time.
TD: How does visualization help these companies learn and/or operate better?
Bill Schmidt: Usually through time savings that results in lowering operating costs. Also, making better use of the data they do gather because visualization promotes collaboration for analysis and decision making.
A perfect example of this is oil and gas exploration in the energy sector. Geophysical data visualization is now very commonplace. Exploration teams can evaluate more efficient extraction methods because they can visualize what’s underneath the earth. In the past this was done from sheets and sheets of numeric seismic data, but now with the use of data visualization, they see a much clearer picture of what the data represents.
TD: Do companies use visualization for more general practices, such as marketing and sales?
Bill Schmidt: There are some companies in the financial sector that have looked at that. With the ability to put people into virtual environments that don’t necessarily exist in the real world there are seemly endless possibilities for simulated experiences. There is a great deal of work now being done in the medical field for example. Through the use of virtualization some really astonishing things are being done in medical training for patient safety for instance.
TD: Is data visualization something that can be done with software, or should companies be seeking out extra help?
Bill Schmidt: Advanced Visualization isn’t just the hardware or software alone. There’s a variety of different system configurations that are more or less appropriate for different types of visualization.
It’s really important to not look at it as just a software component or a hardware component. It is much better to address the benefits of visualization organizationally by trying to understand what you need to accomplish with the technology. We always like to say that technology in and of itself, is useless if there isn’t careful deliberation of the intention of the user community that it is suppose to assist.
Start with the need versus the machinery. You want to work with a company like AVI-SPL that will listen to you in a collaborative way, in order to develop a solution from a holistic approach and you’ll likely achieve a much better result.