As we discussed in our blog last week, VR/AR training offers substantial cost-savings opportunities for manufacturing and industrial enterprises, and is a vital tool for addressing the skills gap and high workforce turnover rates affecting these enterprises. In this blog, we discuss the specific applications and use cases for which VR and AR are best suited and the differences between these technologies.
In virtual reality (VR), a user is fully immersed in a virtual 3D environment with no visual of the physical world. Everything seen by the user is a computer generated visual. Examples of VR headsets include the Oculus Quest 2, Windows Mixed Reality HP Reverb G2, and the HTC Vive family of products. Some of the benefits of VR include complete immersion in the virtual world, which allows for the display of entire facilities and/or equipment which wouldn’t fit the physical space available to the user.
Applications for VR in Industrial Training
- Health, Safety, and Environment Training – trainees can walk through the digital twin of the facility to identify potential hazards, exit pathways, safety procedures, etc. Virtually create hazardous situations to test identification and response procedures.
- Maintenance and Operations Training – technicians can practice maintenance operations on equipment that is difficult or impractical to physically train with such as undersea structures. Avoid plant shutdowns by training on the digital mock-up of the equipment instead of the physical equipment.
- Assembly and Virtual Build – practice assembly operations before a product is actually available. Prepare your workforce for a new product line or train your customers and partners on product assembly before it arrives.
Applications for AR in Industrial Training
- Health, Safety, and Environment Training (if the facility is available) – displaying virtual information, hazards, exit paths, etc. as a user walks through the physical structure.
- Field Maintenance and Operations – displaying virtual work instructions and operating procedures overlaid on the physical equipment as the user is performing their tasks. Leverage the expertise from remote experts as they collaborate with technicians in the field.
- Assembly and Virtual Build – a trainee can view virtual work instructions overlaid on the physical object as the user assembles the actual structure.
Many of the same use cases are suitable for either VR or AR training, and it comes down to the specific industry and/or availability of the physical space and equipment. But virtual reality offers some benefits over augmented reality even when the physical equipment is available. These include: the ease of training creation and modification, the quality of the visuals, and cost/availability of the headsets.
The iQ3Connect Platform makes the VR vs. AR debate less important when choosing a training solution. Any training or experience created in iQ3Connect can be used on any device, whether VR, AR, PC, or a mobile device.