VR to race ahead

THE time has come for Australian oilers to jump on the virtual reality and augmented reality train to boost their training and staff efficiency by simulating their real-world workplace, Spanish technology firm Indra says.

VR to race ahead Giovanni Polizzi.

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Indra, which wants to expand its in-country hardware and software engineering capabilities to support its projects across energy among several other sectors across 140 countries, has a base in Sydney from which it serves local industry.
Its Australian arm's  energy solutions manager Giovanni Polizzi said this week that VR, more commonly known as a computer game platform, enables oil and gas staff to learn in a simulated environment that accurately represents their workplace rather than relying on written materials or cumbersome presentations.
Polizzi said oilers' use of VR training is expected to increase quickly as its benefits become more widely understood; while improvements in the underlying technologies and falling production costs are also making it a very appealing option.
Oilers are motivated by VR's low development costs, improved effectiveness, the immersive experience and ease of delivery.
The ability to self-train and monitor is also a key driver for the expectation that VR use will rise in the energy patch, while it can also be a "fun experience", which, while simple, is actually a big drawcard, Polizzi said.
"When people enjoy their training, they improve their motivation and engagement, leading to better productivity and safety levels," he said.
Polizzi said any company starting on the VR training journey are better off beginning with a small project so the results can be evaluated; and if deemed a success the technique can be rolled out into other areas of the company.
Some companies are also exploring the potential of a related approach called augmented reality (AR), which involves projecting information over a view of the real world, aiding staff when it comes to things such as repairs and maintenance.
"Rather than having to pause and consult a repair manual, a technician could have the relevant details displayed before them as they work," Polizzi said. 
"This can have significant benefits through time efficiencies and work accuracy.
"By making use of both VR and AR tools, energy companies will be able to significantly improve their training and staff efficiency during 2018. The time to begin is now."

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