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The global install base of connected internet of things (IoT) devices continues to soar. Within electrical infrastructures, these growingly complex devices generate torrents of data. As a result, there is a significant gap between the data we use to make decisions and the physical world around us.
Data is often siloed and confined to 2D elements like computer monitors or paper pages, and contextualizing digital data to infrastructure equipment and devices is more challenging than ever. This limits our ability to leverage insights from connected products and edge software and leads to challenges like safety issues, human error, incorrect procedures, and outdated documentation.
Today, extended reality (XR) is poised to revolutionize how electrical operation and maintenance teams work. By overlaying digital information on top of the physical world, XR has the potential to:
- Increase situational awareness
- Improve safety
- Streamline workflows
Ultimately, it empowers facility engineers and operators to be more effective.
The new interface between humans and machines
XR embraces all forms of technologies that create enhanced user experiences: augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), mixed reality (MR), and artificial intelligence (AI).
XR tools for electrical distribution operations and maintenance – for example, EcoStruxure™ XR Operator Advisor – allow operation and maintenance workers to engage in a digital world and interact meaningfully, performing their tasks faster and more accurately.
Simple to learn and use, EcoStruxure XR Operator Advisor connects people to devices with photorealistic visuals and enhanced digital experiences. It accelerates training and improves safety and efficiency with virtual, immersive, hands-on training using interactive simulations without risking safety, misoperation, and downtime. It also saves time isolating risks and restoring power.
XR improves efficiency
XR technologies’ interactive 3D visualizations reduce printed maintenance manuals and drawings. It also helps optimize operations in real time with step-by-step, augmented guided procedures. XR tools can simplify parts identification and distribution for quick and accurate maintenance and help reduce carbon emissions because of less frequent truck rolls for on-site activities. Companies have reported a 46% reduction in time to complete tasks and an average productivity improvement of 32%.
XR improves learning
As our society changes, skill gaps widen—and XR provides an effective solution. As skilled workers retire, responsibilities expand, and budgets tighten, XR offers real-time immersive training and procedural guidance to keep employees up-to-date with complex technologies. Whether working solo or in a collaborative environment, you can virtually install a life-sized interactive 3D equipment model anywhere to get detailed visual walkthroughs with on-site or remote employees while they interactively explore a medium- or low-voltage distribution panel. Virtual hands-on training becomes more effective as safety risks are minimized and can be accessed anytime, anywhere.
XR improves safety
Electrical distribution deals with potentially lethal power levels, so many processes and safety procedures exist to follow. XR provides an augmented ‘X-Ray’ vision to reduce exposure to live electrical equipment by enabling interior views of equipment and contractor cable installations without opening doors, significantly reducing safety concerns.
By providing the correct information when needed, EcoStruxure XR Operator Advisor can guide actions for workers to ensure accurate processes and procedures by:
- Alerting technicians of safe boundaries
- Describing the personal protective equipment requirements
- Delivering clear guidance and procedures to help reduce unsafe practices
XR reduces errors
XR technology promises a range of benefits in data accuracy and modeling that can enhance decision support and reduce risk. Facility personnel can trust the data accuracy and model they have in front of them, allowing them to:
- Anticipate issues
- Minimize downtime
- Prevent equipment damage
- Make data-driven decisions
Unlike traditional approaches, facility personnel can quickly identify risks while providing the data accuracy needed to make decisions efficiently.
A new frontier for facility teams
Electrical operations and maintenance workers are poised to benefit from XR technologies, which enable a wide range of powerful benefits for their teams. It allows them to share experiences and offers a new layer of tools to help make work safer, more efficient, and more effective.
To learn more about extended reality and EcoStruxure XR Operator Advisor, please look at How extended reality empowers the electrical operation and maintenance workforce.