In this uncertain time of the coronavirus pandemic, one certainty is that communities around the world depend on safe infrastructure. This global crisis challenges the development and maintenance of infrastructure and the approaches used to solve these challenges.

Safety is always top priority. As the majority of the world’s workforce has shifted due to the coronavirus pandemic — with many working from home, with minimal staff or unable to work — the services supporting projects must also shift.

Teams in every industry are turning toward technology solutions such as wearable assisted reality (AR) applications to help navigate challenges related to travel restrictions and health and safety orders. For years, these technologies have offered advantages in design accuracy, safety and efficiency as they create multiple benefits — both individually and collectively — through each project phase. Today, there is an emergence of wearable AR solutions attributed to their ability to solve unprecedented safety and efficiency challenges during this pandemic.

Hard-hat-mounted AR and virtual reality (VR) technology, paired with a cellular connection, provides live video conference calls from the field to remote team members. Its benefits are huge amid today’s crisis, reducing the number of personnel needed in the field and allowing remote stakeholders to review critical details of each project phase.

Safety and Wellness

Travel restrictions and various jurisdictional orders are significantly shaking up traditional on-site project work. With traveling to perform a site visit often out of the question in the current climate, field video conferencing to support construction and on-site troubleshooting is critical.

AR and VR technologies allow on-site staff to perform the site visit while consulting with the remote project team and experienced staff. This significantly reduces the number of people needed in the field. The ability to include a larger group than could attend a typical site visit greatly increases the value.

Through a video conference call, one individual with hard-hat-mounted AR technology in the field can livestream video to up to 49 remote viewers. This allows teams to collaborate from wherever members need to be right now to stay safe and well. The video conference call can engage remote specialists, vendors, project managers and design engineers — anyone who needs to have a visual with the site. The live video call also enables more thorough assessments because a larger group of people can be focused on particular aspects that will lead to project success.

This technology also improves on-site sanitation. The mounted technology is entirely hands-free, as compared to systems supported by tablets or cellphones.

Increased Efficiency

When local resources aren’t available for a project, AR and VR devices can be sent directly to the project site. Our experienced professionals can remotely train individuals on the technology. This highly adaptable approach will help projects stay safe and on track.

The software is also set up to auto-adjust the video quality to any shifts in the cellular signal strength, which helps prevent dropped calls. It also has demonstrated faster field documentation as compared to traditional methods.

Effective Team Collaboration

With fewer personnel in the field, it’s critical to see that remote specialists can be contacted with ease. With AR and VR, this can be done. The technology also guides on-site personnel through organized data collection and workflows. With remote specialists a call away and guided systems in place, less experienced personnel are enabled to perform necessary field tasks, if needed. The software also eliminates time spent sorting through data. With workflows and guided forms, the software captures and organizes field data automatically.

AR and VR solutions support every industry as workforce capabilities shift and infrastructure demands remain constant. These technologies put safety first, leverage the strength of a remote team and expand the reality of project success, even when the current reality is so unfamiliar.

 

Explore the forefront of 3D and assisted, augmented and virtual reality applications used in the power utility industry.

Learn More

by
Zachary Wassenberg works in innovation, focusing on augmented technologies, geographic information systems and client-focused solutions. He leads VisualSpection and RealWear enterprise deployment for Burns & McDonnell. Zachary, who has experience working on substation engineer-procure-construct projects, is licensed as a professional engineer in Kansas and holds an electrical engineering degree from Kansas State University.