In the last decade, cloud technologies have been changing the face of the engineering service industry, and it will certainly play an even greater role in the post Covid-19 world. While the industry faces business and liquidity challenges in the current turbulent environment, companies must remain focused on operational issues, such as disaster recovery and efficiency improvements to survive and remain competitive.
In the last two decades, the Engineering Services Industry has established a very well-defined process for remote workers. Many of the tasks in design are outsourced to remote centers, either third party or captive. Regular review meetings are held physically with the local teams or over web conferencing. The remote design centers are quipped with robust IT infrastructure with reliable higher bandwidth network as compared to the infrastructure at home.
Covid-19 has brought significant new business risks and challenges. Work from home with unreliable and low band width can severely impact project deadlines. Social distancing will continue to limit office access for most workers. Similarly, travel restrictions limit face to face customer meetings, making it more challenging to manage customer expectations.
There is a rapid increase in interest in virtual reality as a technology to solve the remote work challenges. But we must separate the hype from practical reality to understand the best tools and strategy to address this problem. Engineering professionals working from home are struggling to access their critical design tools through the corporate VPN in an overly burdened low internet bandwidth. It is a struggle to share CAD applications via video conferencing or share large files as well over low bandwidths. This is a major bottleneck for collaboration with complex 3D product data. Even if VR can help, how do you make it easy for anyone to import 3D product data and content automatically and quickly to make it useful for day to day reviews. Most professionals working from home may not have access to virtual reality systems, so supporting users with and without virtual reality equally is a critical requirement.
How can a global enterprise develop strong remote collaboration strategy to connect global teams, in an intuitive, easy, and scalable approach to overcome all the above limitations of working from home? The characteristics of a preferred solution is one which is hybrid on-premise or in the cloud to address work load, security, and internet bandwidth; support both immersive and non-immersive interfaces, and integrate into enterprise platforms for 3D data import automation, and other business data. The solution must be easy to access and use for global teams over low bandwidth, wherein the participants can interactively operate on the product data. All this with no IT overheads or major training needs.