Which benefits we can expect from digitalization
No industrial sector can avoid the topic of digitalization, as the environment in focus changes fundamentally. One fact is clear to everybody: the fourth industrial revolution will change theenergy sector once and forever.
Vienna, rather known for its sights, showed a glimpse of the future within the sector of energy-provision sooner this year. Wien Energie, Austria’s largest regional energy provider, engaged the Austrian start-up ViewAR to show a proof-of-concept which caused quite a stir. The objective: to test Augmented Reality via Microsoft’s HoloLens in a power plant in order to evaluate saving potentials with Maintenance 4.0. What started as a minor AR-case turned out to be a source of enlightenment, driving strategic innovation throughout the entire company.
Cross-linking of information
Just a reminder: Augmented Reality enables the display of reality augmented with any kind of useful information, though enabling more efficient processes and effective communication, one case being the maintenance of power plants. Practices shows that maintenance workers face complex challenges in their daily work, mainly connected with unavailable data at their point of action. ViewAR resolved the problem for Wien Energie, cross-linking and delivering data via smart-glasses in a “hands-free” approach.
Such mobile applications for the maintenance-workforce not only enable more efficient and time-saving MRO-procedures, but offer highly sophisticated indoor-navigation through so-called “way-points” and finally remote assistance, linking specialists to a live-stream that is. The joint effort of internal and external know-how is of critical importance if you face downtimes of one of your turbines and need to be back up running as fast as possible. Possible individual applications can be found en mass, so let’s highlight the, by no means complete, areas of AR usage within the energy sector:
- In-time expertise (fast remote expertise in critical situations/environments)
- Documentation (efficient digitalized documentation of maintenance processes and accompanying measures)
- Decision foundations (Availability of relevant information for making decisions on-site)
- Hands-free approach (Unrestrained usage of hands)
- Error reduction (Noticeable reduction of errors based on “digital learning” and training)
- Education and training (Digitalized documented knowledge-management for all fields of work)
Where the roadmap leads us
This project just allows a glimpse of the real potential, but it proves something very important: Maintenance 4.0 is not a fiction anymore. Although energy providers take the matter of digitalization very seriously, strategical insight misses a bit, especially when it comes to prioritizing the roadmap to success. New digital company-environments need time and money to implement sustainable structures. Not an easy task we might add, but it can be done if wanted.
Time runs out, no doubt, in order not to miss out for such a great opportunity. It is time for the sector of energy to think about new co-operations. The well-known energy-trust Wien Energie and the innovative Augmented Reality start-up ViewAR can be taken as a good win/win example. PWC offers insights about the most important areas, in which digitalization will deliver noticeable long-term benefits. Maintenance 4.0 therefore should be treated accordingly when it comes to set up roadmaps into industry 4.0.
About ViewAR. ViewAR™ from Austria is a worldwide provider of Augmented Reality and was awarded with several awards such as the Auggie Award 2016 for the world’s best AR App and the Wirtschaftsoskar 2017, given by the Austrian Chamber of Commerce.