Ninad Athavale, Senior Manager for Global Real Estate and Store Development at GAP, has piloted Avatour 360° Remote Presence within his team, resulting in improved productivity, less construction downtime, reduced costs and less business travel.
AVATOUR is a new form of communication. Our platform allows remote participants to experience a real place, and to interact in real-time with the people there, in 360. We call this new experience Remote Presence. We caught up with an Avatour customer, Ninad Athavale, to discuss his experience.
GAP is an American worldwide clothing and accessories retailer. GAP products are available for purchase in more than 90 countries worldwide through about 3,200 company-operated stores, nearly 450 franchise stores, and e-commerce sites.
RETAIL STORE DEVELOPMENT
Ninad, Senior Manager at GAP, is part of the Global Real Estate and Store Development team – tasked with managing the construction, building, and development of 150-300 new stores a year in North America. Multiple sites are under construction at the same time, and GAP personnel, especially the 12 managers on the construction team need to be frequently on site to sign off on progress and share updates with stakeholders.
MOVING PIECES & PEOPLE
Ninad’s team is constantly traveling to multiple sites to approve and properly move projects along. Project Managers might be from San Francisco, the Engineer might be from Los Angeles and leadership can be on either East or West Coast. These site visits are costly, and not just in terms of money. Ninad estimates that two hours of productive time spent on site can cost an average of 8 hours of unproductive time spent away from the office.
After experiencing Avatour at a tradeshow in San Francisco, Ninad decided to pilot it amongst his team and on-site contractors. General contractor personnel on site were given a 360° camera, tripod and mobile device. Now, when Ninad and his team need to be on site — no matter where they are — they can create an Avatour session instead. With a VR headset they can see everything the General Contractor sees in real time, as if they were there.
“I would definitely recommend Avatour to anyone that has a construction site far away from where they are, or have people that need to share access to the site. Avatour should be able to reduce travel by 50%.”
– Ninad Athavale, GAP
OPPORTUNITY: A SOLUTION TO A PROBLEM THEY DIDN’T KNOW EXISTED
Ninad’s team didn’t realize they had a problem that could be solved. They used the two options currently available to communicate & approve construction site progress. First, inperson travel to see a place, and second, videoconference platforms such as Zoom and Facetime. Each of these options has significant drawbacks:
- In-person business travel is costly, productivity is lost and projects can be delayed waiting for key stakeholders to travel to a construction site.
- Facetime & Zoom don’t always give the whole picture and do not offer a replacement to an in-person business experience. Ninad emphasizes, “The contractor controls what I’m looking at – I want to control what I’m looking at.”
Avatour offers a new solution that combines the best of on-site visits and videoconferencing. It allows Ninad and the GAP team to manage without being on site physically all the time but instead visually, while talking to them in real time. In Ninad’s words, “Anytime we are able to improve efficiency, we actually solve a problem.” With practical application of the latest immersive technology, Avatour creates a new substitute for business travel.
“It’s really like actually being there, and it’s a far cry from Facetime or Zoom. We’re able to do our business faster, cheaper and better by having visibility on site in a way that is comprehensive and where we have control over what we’re looking at.”
– Ninad Athavale, GAP
THE RESULT: REDUCED COSTS, REDUCED DOWNTIME & INCREASED PRODUCTIVITY
The result of bringing new innovation to any construction site is that you find new solutions to problems you might not have known existed. GAP’s deployment of Avatour allowed key stakeholders to visit multiple construction sites from their main office. They are able to see through the eyes of others and talk to them in real time, without having to be there. Avatour has the potential to help businesses reduce construction downtime and travel costs. With the extra time saved from less business trips, that time can be used elsewhere – improving overall productivity.