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Adapting to the ‘New Normal’: Stay Safe and Productive Through Virtual Collaboration

During these trying times, we must all pivot towards innovative ways of working and, at the same time, keep employees safe. In this blog, we discuss a proven solution to keep your business on track, while safely 'coming together'.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021
By Peter Larsson

According to Wikipedia, a new normal is a state to which an economy, society, etc. settles following a crisis when this differs from the situation that prevailed prior to the start of the crisis. Today, we cannot say for certain what the ‘new normal’ will look like post-pandemic. What we do know, however, is that the current crisis is neither the first nor the last that this world will need to overcome and that we must continue nurturing our ability to prepare and quickly adapt to future unforeseen situations.

Currently, many enterprises are struggling with how to simultaneously keep their processes safe and productive, while at the same time reducing travel and maintaining strict social distancing requirements, whether in the offices, production facilities or out in the field.

So then, what are some critical questions enterprises should be asking?

  • How can we keep our engineering, manufacturing, and service teams safe and productive now that more of our employees are working from home and traveling less due to safety, cost, or our effort to reduce our carbon footprint?
  • How can we ensure ‘safety first’ for our production line workers and maintain high productivity in spite of unforeseen events, changes in demand, or fluctuation in workforce availability?
  • How can we safely and efficiently manage our maintenance operations to secure product uptime or ‘product-as-a-service’ contracts while reducing travel? How can we more quickly and efficiently ramp-up and guide local maintenance operators?

The evolution of Virtual Reality (VR) and Extended Reality (XR) technology has taken off at the speed of light in recent years. Even though we can’t provide full Star Trek holodeck experiences (yet!), the possibility of creating highly realistic virtual representations of products and industrial processes is very much a reality. And this is not just true just for visual realism but also in terms of simulating the physics and system behaviors, as well as enabling highly realistic interaction between humans and the virtual world.

Validation of the high-voltage connection between the car battery and plug-in battery

VR/XR based solutions are ready for deployment and integration into the business processes of extended enterprises. By integrating these solutions, enterprises can virtually communicate, explore, validate, and resolve critical challenges in the product design, production, or maintenance processes, while augmenting and even replacing physical tests, prototypes, or in-person instructor-lead operator training.

Now is a crucial time to ask yourself what your company could achieve if you had access to highly realistic Immersive Workspaces for your teams, offering them safe and remote collaboration to support product & process definition and communication, while effectively emulating a Virtual Product Representation, a Virtual Assembly Line, and a Virtual Service Center.

Imagine being able to provide your company and teams with:

  • efficient virtual collaboration between product, manufacturing, and service engineering teams, reducing the need for physical builds and minimizing travel and in-person reviews
  • efficient virtual collaboration between your manufacturing engineering teams, suppliers, pilot facilities, industrialization partners, and assembly line operations, to get a ‘first-time-right’ start of production and efficient ramp-up of your assembly line operations, with less travel and shipping of physical prototypes
  • efficient virtual exploration and validation of assembly line processes to quickly adapt to changes in demand or available workforce
  • efficient virtual ramp-up and guidance of your in-field maintenance operators with less travel and shipping of physical products and sample parts

The good news is that solutions like this already exist and can support your business in achieving these standards.

Cross-functional validation of PHEV engine pre-assembly

Let’s all learn to shift by growing from our experiences so that we are equipped to face our current and future challenges.

Stay safe and productive!

Want to know more? Click here to access a DEMO on Collaborative Virtual Assembly Review

For more information visit ESI Virtual Reality

Peter Larsson

Industry Channel Director for Heavy Industry

Peter Larsson joined ESI in 2016, bringing with him his expertise in industry strategy, business development and product management. For more than 20 years, Peter has been managing B2B software solutions targeting major enterprise customers in manufacturing industries such as automotive and transportation, aerospace and heavy industry.

Since the late ’90s, he has been actively involved in the areas of design engineering, manufacturing engineering, visualization & virtual reality offerings, with a focus on helping customers address key digitalization challenges to efficiently deliver high-performance, quality products, on time, with a key focus on health and safety considerations for both products and processes.

Peter holds a Master of Science in Computing Science from Gothenburg University, Sweden, and Business Management from IHM School of Business.