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FuseYork joins companies to create high-tech architectural reality
Two York natives are "fusing" together multiple companies in an attempt to ultimately create virtual and augmented reality experiences for architectural purposes, such as walking through a building before it's been built.
Anthony Billet, president of abSketches, and Chris Coulson, owner of Coulson Technologies, have worked together and separately for about 10 years.
They've become partners to co-run FuseYork, an office space they're coining as "collaborative in-sourcing."
The space is located in a former post office at 31 Mills St. in Springettsbury Township. They're offering it as an alternative to the co-working environment, for those who want more privacy.
"Co-working spaces can be invasive, loud, and you have no real sense of place," said Billet, who has previously worked in co-working environments. "So we started thinking about how you can get companies we work with under one roof without worrying about being in a loud, hectic place."
Billet and Coulson, who currently work out of the Kingston Center in Springettsbury, have already successfully recruited four other companies to operate in the offices of FuseYork. They plan to bring in one or two more.
Renovations: The building, which also houses Epic — A Michael Allen Salon, is undergoing final renovations. Billet said he hopes everyone can move into the offices in November.
Hamme Associates, an architectural design and planning firm, is one of the companies relocating.
Ed Michalak, the company's general manager, said the idea appealed to his company because it would streamline communication with other companies with which his firm does business.
"Having everybody under the same roof makes it so much easier to start a project," Michalak said. "The downtime goes away, and we can now use that time for more productive purposes."
Vision: Every company — which includes Billet's architectural visualization company, Coulson's IT company and a marketing company — will be involved with Billet and Coulson's 3-D architectural vision, which they've been working on for about two years.
The duo is working with wearable devices for virtual reality (which creates computerized environments users can interact with) and augmented reality (which allows users to walk through actual environments while seeing computerized information and making changes).
"The goal is for our client to experience their building in real time, immerse themselves in it and be able to see exactly how everything will look and feel before any final decisions are actually made," Billet said.
The devices, including Google Cardboard and Oculus Rift, already exist, Coulson said.
It's up to him, Billet and others at FuseYork to work with the technology as it continues to improve, creating a draw for potential clients.
"(The architectural) bids are so competitive, and this can really separate us," said Billet, whose company works on projects all over the world. "Plus, it's just really tech-y and cool."
Billet and Coulson, both born and raised in York, hope to be able to share their love of technology with the local community, they said, adding that FuseYork will include a classroom to teach interested students and potentially bring on interns.
— Reach David Weissman at firstname.lastname@example.org.