Author - Dr. C. S S Bharathy
Founder - Fusion VR
Certified Industry 4.0 Professional
Publication - Business World
Date - July, 2020
Read From Source: Business World
Nothing tests an organization’s true character than a crisis and the ongoing pandemic is no different. With the plummeting economy and loss of several lives, COVID-19 has impacted every aspect of businesses and lives as we know it today. Organizations in various industries that form the backbone of our economy such as Oil & Gas, Power, Automotive, Construction etc. have been badly affected due to the crisis.
With the lockdown in place, automotive and related manufacturing companies have suffered more than ever. While facing such serious challenges, enterprises cannot afford injuries, unexpected downtime and low productivity which directly affects its ability to serve its customers and consequently revenue and profits. Nearly 80% of all incidents are caused by human error. Fortunately, a new technology is offering practical and effective solutions to combat such challenges.
One such technology that industries are actively turning to is Immersive-Technologies such as Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality (VR/AR/MR). As a part of Industry 4.0 or the Fourth Industrial Revolution, VR builds a simulated realistic environment which effectively convinces your brain into believing you’re somewhere you’re not. VR uses a smart blend of hardware and software to transcend the user to a virtually created environment.
The question all CEOs, COOs, CTOs and CFOs have is how this Smart Manufacturing technology can be effectively harnessed to deliver on their safety, reliability and sustainability goals in the digitalized economy of the future. Let us delve into the practical adoption and applications of Virtual Reality in the sectors identified below.
Virtual Reality technology has found widespread applications in oil & gas, manufacturing and processing companies as it fulfils multiple demands arising in a competitive environment. Firstly, it is a proven big contributor to augmenting productivity in the workforce through effective VR training sessions.
Based on proven case studies, VR-Training imparts 75-90% Knowledge - Retention compared to the less than 20% achieved through conventional classroom-based training. Effective training of a workforce is a major challenge for several organizations where retention of safety, compliance and job skills is vital. VR based training solutions give the workforce enough time and opportunities to gain competency without the expense of facing risks in the real world.
Secondly, for achieving social distancing in the current scenario, VR provides the best alternative for Classroom and Field Training. Here, trainees can quickly learn and apply their Virtual Learning Experience and procedures in the real world with minimal human contact.
Furthermore, the training can be repeated until the required competencies are achieved.
A high degree of medical expertise is what the world expects and needs to cope with the ongoing pandemic. Hence, competency in the healthcare industry is becoming even more critical for the nation.
The healthcare industry can use VR-Simulation modules to impart medical knowledge, safe practices, medical protocols and clinical procedures and extensively train doctors, nurses, and health workers. This helps minimize potential risks with the anticipated influx of COVID-19 patients here and worldwide. Information and knowledge are vividly presented in the immersive VR environment and the learning achieved is instantaneous.
The events and exhibitions industry also took a severe hit under the shutdown as business-people were unable to meet, leaving an uncertain future. In such circumstances,
Interactive Virtual-Events are helping the industry to safely organize seminars and conferences without personal contact. Visitors and professionals can virtually walkthrough exhibition stalls, interact with vendors and corporate executives, experience product offerings, engage in marketing discussions etc. All of this and more without leaving the safety and comfort of your home.
The current situation is gradually transitioning the Industry 4.0 solutions from an “option” to a “necessity” in the post-pandemic world. This will bring Industry 4.0’s fleet of next-generation solutions, Augmented, Virtual and Mixed Reality (AR/VR/MR) to the fore and in particular is likely to gain more traction and demand.
Over the last few months, businesses are facing unforeseen challenges particularly related to lack of skilled labour, increasing manufacturing risk, resource downtime, and lack of a proper technological blueprint to enhance productivity. The immersive VR/AR/MR technologies will contribute to building a competent workforce while limiting risks to boost productivity in an industrial setting. This is a key step to reboot and restart the industrial journey.
In the post-COVID world, industrial sectors will require a major step change from the status quo. Using VR/AR/MR technologies to achieve a competitive edge, greater market access, customer satisfaction and improve productivity is the smart manufacturing approach for tomorrow. Such bold approaches will definitely reboot companies to effectively meet all future challenges head-on.