Extended reality, latest tech breakthrough for training

In an environment in which new technologies seem to be emerging at the speed of light, the industry faces the breakneck pace of these advances and operational advantages.

This phenomenon is especially true with the adoption of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technology. However, augmented reality (XR) is hot in AR and VR, which combines real and virtual environments using computers, wearables and more to collect and analyze data.

Paul Daley, senior eLearning specialist with ConocoPhillips, described his company’s progress in applying emergent technologies as having “a toe in the water.” The onset and ripple effect of COVID-19 did not help that progress.

“We had a proof of concept that was planned and built up to 2019. Then came 2020,” Daley recalled. “Nobody had the appetite to tell the boss that it’s going to cost a lot of money to figure this out. So the proof of concept did not go forward.”

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While COVID-19 has subsided, Daley said, things have changed.

“There have been efforts that work from the top down and the bottom up, where the bottom up was an existing training program to improve things,” he explained. Daley joked that he had a very extreme but practical proposal, ‘we’re going to drag this trailer and show you what happens if you cut your fingers.’

“But they wanted to see if VR could make for a more memorable experience, because everyone had already seen how to cut fingers for the last 10 years. This was a project that took us a long time to buy and find an economical way to do it.”

Daley said the company chose to implement an “off-the-shelf solution” for its VR and XR needs, “which was a way to reduce development costs.”

In the “up, down” solution, said Daley, the CIO of ConocoPhillips who observed the advantages of VR “was able to write a check and do a development.”

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Not ‘all about the Benjamins’

There are a number of challenges to successfully bringing emerging technologies into the field in addition to financial pressure.

Some of those challenges to introducing VR and XR, Daley said, “came at a bad time. In those cases, the business has to go back to what it does and not what it doesn’t do, and sometimes it’s just learning.” , he said laughing.

“We have this great technology and we want to use it. Even culturally, I would say, you’re in the coaching mindset and you’re still afraid to want to see that, for some reason,” Daley said. “You have to go through that, and it can be a ‘baby steps’ kind of thing. “, because they want to do the multiple choice, get the token and move on.”

When it comes to safety, XR technology allows managers to ensure that workers have properly completed tasks such as inspections, lockouts/tagouts and other responsibilities that are critical to safety, said Susan Spark, Schlumberger Technology Learning Technology Manager , XR.

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“You can measure the force with which they are holding the tool to prevent it from bending; they actually make the right gesture with their hand and much more. It’s a completely different mindset of its structural design,” she said during the recent Global Industrial XR Summit in Houston.

Spark noted that learning management systems (LMS) are “a mindset that’s more than two decades old” and compared using an LMS to installing a governor on a Formula 1 race car.

“What you can measure in XR is so much more — to the point where we really have to worry and have a discussion about data ethics and data privacy,” she concluded.


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