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Author's profile photo Robert Merlo

3-D Visual Communications: A Better Way of Sharing

By Robert Merlo

SAP Visual Enterprise


This month, the
earliest examples of using images to communicate were confirmed to be on the
wall of a Spanish cave known as El Castillo. According to the Associated
, tests show that the red sphere and handprints painted on the wall
date back 40,000 years, making them the oldest in the world. These early
paintings provide additional evidence that people are genetically wired to
respond to visual communication.

of scientific research support this idea by confirming that people retain
graphical information better than text. In fact, the old adage “the words went
in one ear and out the other” is actually true. A study by the U.S. Federal
found that 83% of human learning occurs visually and people
retain only 10% of what they hear (versus 65% of what they see and hear). This
is because words are processed by a person’s short-term memory, whereas visual
images are etched into the long-term memory. Anecdotally, this makes sense
because we know, for example, it’s easier to learn how to draw a circle when
someone shows you than if someone attempts to explain it verbally. Psychologist
, who has written extensively about the brain confirms, “We are
visual creatures, with a third of our brains devoted to vision.”

Migration from Text to
Graphics: The power of visual communication, combined with the growth of
technology, has led to more and more information being presented in graphical formats.
Today’s computers and sophisticated software can quickly convert thousands of
data points into easy-to-interpret visuals. Consequently, word-intensive media
like newspapers are declining in usage, while video sites like YouTube are growing exponentially.
Visual learning specialist, Stuart
, explains that today’s generation of users are “comfortable online,
well-versed in video games, eager consumers of graphic novels, and have become
naturally reliant on the language of visuals to transmit and convey
information.” In response to this increasing demand for visual communication,
3-D visualization technology has been developed, which transforms all types of
information into interactive graphics or videos.

Visualization Technology: 3D visualization tools, currently used mostly by
corporations, take data from in-house programs, such as CAD, PLM, manufacturing
execution systems (MES), or ERP systems, and combine them with
ultra-sophisticated visual software to create amazing, comprehensive 3Dimages.
These images have a variety of advantages, in addition to improved comprehension,
that help companies streamline operations. For example, visual graphics can be
universally understood and eliminate the need to duplicate information in
multiple languages. They are also highly leverage-able, which means visual
graphics can be used by anyone, in any department, without IT assistance. From
visual repair and maintenance handbooks to prototype development, 3-D visual
communication is becoming more and more prevalent throughout the corporate
world. In the words of award-wining scholar, Robert
E. Horn
, “Visual language has the potential for increasing ‘human
bandwidth’– the capacity to take in, comprehend and more efficiently synthesize
large amounts of new information.” It is the way people expect information to
be conveyed today and closely aligns with how human beings have always taught, learned
and shared. Modern research and ancient history concur; using images is simply
a better way to communicate.


Visual Enterprise
Solution Marketing

“What you see is not
what you get – it’s everything”

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