Real-Time, Expert Assistance Via Telepresence Technology
The mobility afforded to us by our plethora of smart devices isn’t just about convenience. In the process industry, mobility can be a huge component of a business strategy. Frontline workers who remain connected to the control center with Industrial IoT (IIoT) solutions like Remote Mentor. When in the deepest recesses of the plant, Remote Mentor can make faster, better data-driven decisions, with increased productivity.
The trouble is, most industrial workers are not connected in this way. In fact, a concerning majority of maintenance procedures are still conducted with pen and paper. That means relying heavily on the tribal knowledge of a quickly aging workforce that’s soon to retire (and take that knowledge with them).
Reluctance to Incorporate IIoT
Management may be reluctant to incorporate IIoT when current procedures seem to be working okay but these archaic practices are hurting the productivity of workers, their safety and the bottom line. Also, barriers such as connectivity, technology limitations, and hazardous environment regulations are certainly contributing factors to hesitancy. But, ultimately, it comes down to a resistance to change.
With the advancement of cellular connectivity (4G and 5G), the expansion of WiFi, and the increased prevalence of connected assets (smart sensors) the time is right for the widespread adoption of Connected Worker solutions. Basically, they enable workers with the right information in the right display/format at the right time.
One Connected Worker solution worth mentioning is Remote Mentor. This solution gives workers real-time assistance from experienced technicians via telepresence technology. By incorporating enterprise-ready collaboration solutions with wearable devices, a lot can be done. Remote Mentor connects a remote mobile workforce (ie. plant worker or field technician) with subject matter experts. This means receiving in-the-moment guidance, while also allowing interaction with vendors, partners, and other resources.
In a few seconds, remote users can:
- Activate visual guidance sessions through simple voice commands to wearable devices
- Live-share complete images, video, audio, and data with extended teams and record the sessions
- Collaborate with experts for faster problem identification and better resolution of complex technical issues
As a result, Remote Mentor increases uptime and reduces overall cost, with fewer calls, shorter repair time, decreased travel requirements, and fewer parts sent onsite. All achieved while increasing worker safety via a hands-free environment.
To demonstrate the ease-of deployment for this solution, CBT’s team connected a remote expert in the USA with a racing team in China at the F1H2O Grand Prix of China.
Even over a cellular hotspot connection, we were able to engage an expert resource from across the world as if they were standing in the same room.
Additional features offered by wearable device integration include:
- Ride along and view
- Zoom in to view details
- Transfer knowledge
- Provide guidance
- Remotely capture photos
- Annotate on live video
- Share documents and files.
According to Accenture Mobility managing director Michael Hobbs, benefits of Connected Workers include an increase in output of roughly 8 to 9 percent, with a reduction in costs of approximately 7 to 8 percent. The expected outcomes and demonstrated ease-of-use make it easy to see future predictions. Gartner predicts more than 30 percent of businesses will soon achieve a competitive advantage through connecting workers and exploiting digital technologies.
While solution design and implementation strategies for your particular environment may seem daunting, domain expert integrators like CBT are here to help. Ultimately, with the right strategy, Connected Worker/Remote Mentor solution fits the needs of your management and operations teams. Basically, it can vastly improve the productivity, safety, and satisfaction of workers in the field. In fact, at Texmark Chemical’s Refinery of the Future, employees are revealing additional use cases for their Connected Worker equipment that even management didn’t anticipate. The result? Texmark is now attracting top-tier talent that desires a modern, technology-enhanced work environment.