Industry 4.0 and the role of Virtual Reality

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Author - Dr. C. S S Bharathy
Founder - Fusion VR
Certified Industry 4.0 Professional

Publication
cio.economictimes.indiatimes.com
Date - Nov 17, 2020

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Read From Source: Economic Times

VR-Training imparts more than 70% effectiveness based on proven case studies compared to 25% achieved from conventional classroom-based training.

The Covid 19 pandemic has reshaped the way we live, breathe and conduct business. It has brought the world economy to a complete standstill causing insurmountable continuity challenges to every sector. Till a vaccine is found, businesses are looking at solutions that can help them bounce back, and the role of technology is absolutely critical in making this happen.

For most firms, some of the key challenges include the inability to travel, fewer on-site staff, lack of face to face communication and hands on training for new equipment. This is leading to unexpected downtime, low productivity and design reassessments. In the current scenario, Industry 4.0 technologies can play a pivotal role in the return to normalcy.

While most analysts speak about analytics, IoT and AI in the context of Industry 4.0, one of the biggest transformational technologies that is often not spoken of in the same breadth, is Virtual Reality (VR). Immersive virtual reality solutions are a part of industry 4.0 and use a blend of hardware and software to transcend the user to a virtually created environment.

There are many ways in which virtual reality solutions can be leveraged in these unfortunate times. Let us look at some of the key areas which showcase the practical adoption and application of VR:

Industrial Training

The most tactical VR application can be seen in manufacturing and processing as it fulfills multiple demands erupting in an industrial setup. It is a big contributor to gaining workforce excellence through effective VR training sessions, which is much needed today. VR-Training imparts more than 70% effectiveness based on proven case studies compared to 25% achieved from conventional classroom-based training.

The training session gives the workforce enough time to gain competency without risking life in the real world. Also, adhering to the social distancing norms in the current scenario, VR provides the best alternatives for field training, where trainees can quickly apply their virtual learning experience in the real world with minimal human contact.

A high degree of medical expertise is what the world expects and needs to cope with the pandemic. Hence, competency in medical training is becoming critical. Large scale manufacturing of drugs and life science equipment is often prone to high man-machine risks. Also, there is a certain level of expertise needed to operate in the complexities of pharma manufacturing. With realistic simulations of sophisticated machinery andthe production cycle, the operators can better understand the process.

The healthcare industry can use VR-simulations to train doctors, nurses, and health workers virtually without any risks or mistakes to cope with the anticipated influx of COVID-19 patients in India.

Conferences and Exhibitions

The events and exhibitions industry also took a direct hit under the shutdown, leaving an uncertain future. According to EEMA (Events and Entertainment Management Association), the Indian events and exhibition sector is expected to take an Rs 1 trillion hit. In such circumstances, interactive virtual-events can help the industry safely conduct their affairs without any contact.

The current situation is gradually transitioning the Industry 4.0 solution from an “option” to a “necessity” in the post-pandemic world. This will make Industry 4.0’s fleet of next-generation solutions, including augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), as an essential commodity for businesses. VR tools are bound to become as relevant as the world looks to step up to learn, work, interact, and reboot the economy in the aftermath of COVID-19.

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