Design and engineering in real-world projects is often influenced by reduction of the problem definition, trade-offs during decision-making, possible loss of information and monetary issues like budget constraints or value-for-money problems. In many engineering projects various stakeholders take part in the project process on various levels of communication, engineering and decision-making. During project meetings and VE sessions between the different stakeholder’s, information and data is gathered and put down analogue and/or digitally, consequently stored in reports, minutes and other modes of representation. Results and conclusions derived from these interactions are often influenced by the user’s field of experience and expertise. Personal stakes, idiosyncrasy, expectations, preferences and interpretations of the various project parts could have implications, interfere or procrastinate non-functionality and possible rupture in the collaborative setting and process leading to diminished prospective project targets, requirements and solutions. We present a hybrid tool as a Virtual Assistant (VA) during a collaborative Value Engineering (VE) session in a real-world design and engineering case. The tool supports interaction and decision-making in conjunction with a physical workbench as focal point (-s), user-interfaces that intuit the user during processing. The hybrid environment allows the users to interact un-tethered with real-world materials, images, drawings, objects and drawing instruments. In course of the processing captures are made of the various topics or issues at stake and logged as iterative instances in a database. Real-time visualization on a monitor of the captured instances are shown and progressively listed in the on-screen user interface. During or after the session the stakeholders can go through the iterative time-listing and synthesize the instances according to i.e. topic, dominance, choice or to the degree of priority. After structuring and sorting the data sets the information can be exported to a data or video file. All stakeholders receive or have access to the data files and can track-back the complete process progression. The system and information generated affords reflection, knowledge sharing and cooperation. Redistribution of data sets to other stakeholders, management or third parties becomes more efficient and congruous. Our approach we took during this experiment was to [re]search the communication, interaction and decision-making progressions of the various stakeholders during the VE-session. We observed the behavioral aspects during the various stages of user interaction, following the decision making process and the use of the tool during the course of the session. We captured the complete session on video for analysis and evaluation of the VE process within a hybrid design environment.

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