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Logistics industry partners with local college to build a virtual reality port

AV Dawson, owner and operator of Port of Middlesbrough, has worked with a local college to create its port in 3D virtual reality to enable prospective customers across the world to view its facilities. Students at The Northern School of Art, which is based in Middlesbrough, took part in the competition to develop 3D designs of the port and its facilities.

The students aged 17 and 18, who were enrolled on the college’s 3D visualisation course, worked in teams to design one of two locations at the port – the quayside and the automotive metals distribution centre. The project ran over four weeks during January, allowing the students to practice their design skills and pitching skills, while working on a live brief to help them prepare for the next stage of their careers.

The Teesside logistics firm is now looking to use these designs for its business development activities with prospective clients.

AV Dawson’s group managing director, Charlie Nettle said: “It’s been great working with the students on a project that has the potential to revolutionise the way we showcase our facilities to customers, key stakeholders and suppliers. The 3D models will open doors to potential customers, allowing them to really visualise precisely what our facilities look like and how they operate. It will be fantastic for customers – especially overseas customers – to experience what our port is like without necessarily having to fly over to visit it for themselves. We’re a people-focused business, so we’re certainly not suggesting that face-to-face discussions are not important. This just gives prospective customers the option to view our site virtually or for us to visit them and take the technology with us. These options provide a more time efficient solution for customers.”

The students worked with the port operator for a total of four weeks. During this time the students had the opportunity to learn more about Port of Middlesbrough and its facilities through undertaking a site visit. This enabled the students to gain a better understanding of what the facilities looked and felt like – before beginning the design process.

In the final week, students were invited back to Port of Middlesbrough to pitch their ideas to AV Dawson’s marketing team and the group managing director. They had to present the process of building the design, before using a virtual reality headset to showcase their creations.

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