AR is an excellent opportunity for investment in the technological front when it comes to improving utility workforce efficiency.
FREMONT, CA: The utility industry is facing challenges, including decades-old infrastructure and a rapidly retiring workforce. The young generation of workers just entering the industry dreams of working with the latest technologies. To address this increasing need, early movers in the industry are experimenting with the latest technologies that will integrate the real world with the digital and push utility operation to the next level. More than any other technologies, AR has a significant role in catering to the modern utility workforce. Experts say that the promise behind this AR hype in the utility workforce is for real.
It is expected that the utility sector can achieve a 15 to 20 percent enhancement in efficiency with the use of augmented and virtual reality. AR also comes into play when field technicians are in place but lack the knowledge or access to data required. An AR-equipped mobile device or wearable would enable an expert to advise the field technicians on steps to take. This technology also improves operational safety, allowing for better visualization of assets and complex components, reducing accidents.
The hiring managers in the utility industry often say that lack of candidate training, experience, or technical skills are major challenges involved in driving workforce efficiency. AR can come to help at this instance. AR can be used in employee training. Two-dimensional diagrams of components can be enriched with 3D models, to which employees can interact and gain an improved understanding of the equipment. This enables in-depth training and faster information retention.
Other specific use cases of AR in utility operations include supply chain logistics, asset inspection, remote assistance, visualization of equipment and structures, and many more. There are several data sources that can provide intelligence to the AR systems. This includes mobile devices and unmanned aerial vehicles, sensors, and on-the-ground or remote pilots. AR is set to take off in exciting ways, and it will bring new value to the utility sector. With AR systems having reached an affordable price point, they will enable knowledge-sharing and improve workforce efficiency and productivity.