VitAmIn: Managing requirements virtually with a customer-integrated innovation process

Challenge

The VitAmIn project aimed to integrate customers into the virtually supported innovation and development process at a very early stage. To do this, researchers developed methods and tools and summarized them in the VitAmIn method.

Method

The VitAmIn method delivers a systematic approach for using virtual reality (VR) to derive requirements. The method unites client selection, requirements engineering and virtual reality and then links them along the product development process in a manner that facilitates innovative, customer-integrated project development. As part of the holistic VitAmIn method, researchers developed a VR session methodology that can be used on a standalone basis and helps users conduct VR-supported meetings in a particularly efficient, results-oriented manner that is suitable for the application at hand.

Result

Development engineers at Gebr. Becker, a building services company, conducted an intensive VR session with their in-house customers in assembly. During the session, they used a virtual prototype of the latest Becker product to discuss the requirements that the product had to meet. In another VR session a customer of Schmersal, a safety technology company, offered his point of view to help define the requirements for a Schmersal door locking device. Both VR sessions took place in Fraunhofer IAO’s Immersive Engineering and were organized and executed by Fraunhofer IAO. In both cases, not only did the session result in a more exact definition of product requirements, it also convinced the partners that achieving this higher degree of precision earlier in the development process can save on development time.