AR in practice: remote assistance and e-learning
The world is constantly changing, as we have noticed in recent weeks with the corona virus. Within two weeks, companies experience a digitization that might have taken them years under normal circumstances. If you want to be at the forefront of innovation, you need a good portion of guts, common sense and a long-term vision. Innovation consists of trial and error, but always offers opportunities, for example to work more efficiently within your company, to save costs or to work more safely.
In this blog we show how Social Brothers has optimized business processes through Augmented Reality (AR). With AR, a virtual layer is placed over the physical reality. We wrote about it a while ago de possibilities of AR for marketing, but there are also many practical applications for your company. View an overview here† For example, Social Brothers uses AR to visualize ground measurements and drilling in 3D in dredging projects. However, many of the applications make remote working a lot easier. For example, think of remote assistance and e-learning.
AR enables remote working for industries where it's more complex than Zoom meetings. This way someone can go through the hololens monitor you remotely during repair work, for example. Because of the hololens you have your hands free to work and possibly get a good picture of the desired parts, while the other person has a good view of what is going on and what is happening. We call this remote assistance. One of our clients, Bureau Veritas, started this process with us half a year ago.
Bureau Veritas is an international B2B service provider. They test, inspect and certify products and business processes in the field of transport and infrastructure, including naval vessels. Bureau Veritas does this in more than 140 countries from some 1.400 offices and laboratories. They test whether products, business processes or installations comply with established standards and with legislation and regulations. These products are moved all over the world and are therefore often not in one place. The inspections must therefore be able to be carried out anywhere in the world. This means that testers and inspectors have to travel a lot. AR offers a solution.
Remote Survey for Bureau Veritas
Social Brothers has ensured that Bureau Veritas can also inspect remotely by means of the hololens. Bureau Veritas now performs part of the inspections from the Remote Survey Center in the port city of Rotterdam. This saves inspectors a lot of travel time and travel costs, while customers are helped quickly and without waiting time thanks to the livestream solution. Costs are reduced without compromising quality through an optimized process. The hololens is thus used as a production tool that ensures that Bureau Veritas can work more efficiently.
An employee at the product to be inspected, say a diesel generator, puts on the hololens and can thus visualize the generator at the remote inspector. At the request of the inspector, the employee can better visualize certain parts. The big advantage of the hololens is that the employee has his hands free and can therefore open things, twist things apart and so on. This way the inspector can get a good idea of the condition of the generator. The inspection can also be closed immediately at the end of the contact. This way you not only save costs, but also time.
AR as an educational tool
Augmented reality and education are a golden combination. After all, AR allows you to simulate training situations that seem much more realistic than any textbook. You can read so many times what to do in the event of an accident, that is no guarantee that you will actually react correctly. By letting people with AR experience a situation, you can clarify what they can or cannot apply in practice. This will make a much more impression and therefore stick better than a theoretical course.
Last Minute Risk Analysis and AR
With this in mind, Social Brothers started working for the Training and Course Center (TCC) in Rotterdam. TCC offers, among other things, training for a so-called Last Minute Risk Analysis (LMRA). This allows you to determine, for example in construction, whether there are any risks before you start your work. AR is very useful to ensure that you can learn this in a simulated practice. Social Brothers has developed an app for the hololens for this. The hololens projects colleagues into the physical environment. The intention is that the wearer of the hololens estimates where danger is in 30 seconds.
This can be a colleague without a helmet or without hearing protection, but also a colleague who is working with oil at a place where you have to go welding. The contact lens wearer lists these risks. A wrong assessment of danger has consequences in the AR. For example, an explosion can occur if you choose to weld near oil. This gamification of the training environment is much more concrete for the participants than other training methods. The consequences, such as an explosion, are also much more obvious and therefore have more impact. As a result, the material of the training remains better with the participants and it will also be easier to apply this in practice.
What are the benefits of AR?
As the two examples above already made clear, the benefits of AR are specific to the business process you want to optimize. In these times, the main advantage is that you can continue to maintain the service level of your company, even if you cannot physically visit your customers. This way your business processes can continue. The ability to inspect remotely also saves travel time and costs. This in turn ensures that your customers have less waiting time, so that you can provide faster service. You also reduce the chance of errors, because you can better analyze what is going on in advance.
Incidentally, the hololens is not necessary to use AR. The ability to use AR is built into modern smartphones. This offers the possibility to apply AR in a low-threshold and fast manner in B2C customer service. For example, you can very easily and concretely show a customer whose internet is not working how to reset the modem. It also offers opportunities for sales, for example by showing how a piece of furniture looks in your living room, as in this campaign for Piet Boon.
Now and in the future
What is certain is that AR will be used much more in the future and that the whole world will change. But as the examples make clear, there is already a lot that you can do with AR. There are also numerous options in the field of remote assistance or e-learning for other industries. By implementing AR in your company now, you are ahead of your competitors and your company is ready for the future. Visualize products such as furniture for your customer, involve customers in the building design process, share 3D drawings with your colleagues during the construction process, interact with remote partners, display traffic congestion in a time-lapse to tackle the congestion problem: this is just a selection of the possibilities that are already available. Read more about Social Brothers' future vision on AR here.
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