“AR is the ultimate key to digital transformation. It has the power to change the way companies design, operate, manufacture, and maintain their products and services.”
Due to the emergence of new technology like augmented reality, the energy and utility sectors are facing a massive wave of powerful disruptions. And with the ever-increasing demand for utilities and electricity, industry tends to rethink their traditional business methods.
In today’s competitive environment, Augmented Reality in energy and utilities has played an important role and given this sector a new shape. It is a highly effective solution to navigate hazardous situations, enhancing the productivity and safety of industrial workers.
Global Market for Energy and Utilities is Expected to Reach $ 4.3 Billion
As per the research, the global market for energy and utilities is projected to grow from USD 2.0 billion in 2020 to USD 4.3 billion by 2025, with an annual CAGR of 16.3% during the forecast period.
Looking at this, the energy and utilities sector can take advantage of augmented reality to significantly improve the operational efficiency. In addition, AR technologies provide millions of opportunities to enhance workers’ safety.
In this blog, we’ll highlight the key use cases that AR can help with and the benefits it can provide for industrial enterprises looking to stay ahead in an ever-increasingly competitive market. But before that, let’s see what is augmented reality in energy and utilities.
How Does AR Work in the Energy and Utilities Industry?
Augmented Reality (AR) is revolutionizing the energy and utilities industry by enhancing real-world environments with computer-generated digital objects like sounds, videos, and graphics. From improving operational efficiency in maintenance and repair tasks to enriching training programs and offering real-time data overlay on machinery, AR applications are numerous. An example of this technology is utility mapping, where AR significantly optimizes the process of locating underground utility lines, thereby avoiding costly and dangerous mistakes during excavation or installation projects.
Utility Mapping: A Crucial Application of AR in Energy and Utilities
Utility mapping serves as one of the most potent applications for Augmented Reality (AR) within the realm of energy and utilities. This technique is indispensable for planning new projects, executing maintenance tasks, and orchestrating emergency responses. Here is how it works?
- Data Accumulation: The first cornerstone involves an exhaustive collection of data relating to subterranean utilities—be it water pipes, electrical conduits, or gas lines. Methods for data collection are multifaceted, encompassing everything from traditional on-site surveys to more cutting-edge approaches like satellite imagery, GPS-enabled tracking systems, and LiDAR-equipped drones.
- GIS Synchronization: This wealth of data doesn’t sit idle; it is meticulously ingested into a Geographic Information System (GIS). Here, the data undergoes an organized scheme of processing and recording, ultimately anchoring it to real-world geographical coordinates.
- AR-Enabled Visualization: The integration of AR technology serves as the pièce de résistance of this process. Through GIS, utility infrastructures are manifested as interactive 3D digital models. These models are then superimposed onto the real world and can be viewed through the lens of an AR-enabled device—like a smartphone, tablet, or specialized glasses.
- Real-Time Access, On-Site and Off: For field engineers and workers, this AR-based utility map becomes an invaluable tool. By just pointing their phone or tablet at the ground, workers can instantly see where pipes and cables are located below them. This helps them avoid making costly or dangerous mistakes, like accidentally cutting into a gas line or electrical cable. This advantage isn’t confined to just field workers; off-site personnel can also benefit from this readily available, updated, and unambiguous source of information, negating the need for outdated or complex paper maps.
By incorporating AR into utility mapping, the energy and utilities industry stands to gain not just in terms of operational efficiency but also in cost-savings, accuracy, and worker safety.
Application of Augmented Reality in Energy and Utility
Augmented reality (AR) is a cutting-edge technology that combines digital data with the physical world. AR technologies have been implemented in various operations to create an effective work environment and improve workflows. This can be effective in the energy and utility sectors when utilized properly.
Energy and utilities deal with an increasingly large amount of data, and augmented reality solutions can help them continuously gather, understand, and evaluate information. This makes sure that their internal operations are running smoothly and effectively.
AR for energy and utilities are creating the basis for a successful future. Below are some use cases of Augmented Reality in energy and utility industry.
Uses Cases of AR for Energy and Utility
Augmented reality can automate, simplify and improve various processes for energy and utilities. Here are just a few uses of AR technology in energy and utility to improve efficiencies:
The energy and utility sectors are worried as they may face a lack of specialists soon. This is because the newcomers lack technical skills and specialized education, making it difficult to replace this workforce. This causes financial losses, lowers productivity, and restricts business growth. And here comes the role of advanced technology like augmented reality, which can come to the rescue.
As organizations often conduct training sessions on-site. This implies that experienced engineers conduct training sessions with trainees on the site. Yet, the labor shortage is making this more difficult. These sessions require time, and they distract professionals from their primary duties. Hence, AR in training is very effective and improves the learning process. With AR, professional engineers can provide immersive training in real time and no need to visit on-site. Moreover, in energy and utilities, workers can learn how to use new equipment and software without going through a lengthy process of trial and error. Leveraging AR for energy and utilities sector will help organizations become productive as workers will be more equipped and able to manage any unplanned situations.
AR technologies are successfully applied for equipment maintenance. The use of AR in energy and utilities industry has a significant positive impact on operational processes, lowering costs and improving efficiency. The use of AR in equipment maintenance has many benefits like:
Immediately Detects Areas that Require Maintenance: AR technology can overlay a 3D model on a piece of machine in real-time, allowing to solve certain problems faster and more efficiently. An AR-equipped mobile device or glasses would enable a subject matter expert to advise the field technician on what steps to take.
Quick Access: The energy and utility industry using augmented reality, allows field technicians to access all step-by-step work instructions with their smart devices for seamless operations.
Connect Field Workers with Remote Experts: On-site technicians may conduct video or audio calls with experts via augmented reality technology to fix the problem. With AR remote assistance, experts can guide the onsite field technicians without being present on site. As a result, they receive the necessary guidance instantly and can complete any task efficiently. Moreover, experts can guide inexperienced field workers anytime, anywhere through augmented reality technology.
For Augmented reality applications, several data sources are utilized. This enables utility workers to examine and effectively address new issues carefully. One of these information sources is a user’s mobile device, which can take videos or photos. Workers can have a video call or share photos with an expert regarding the accident. Experts can plan the repairs and briefly evaluate the damaged part through this information. On-site managers can plan for the execution of procedures in advance. Not only this, but the team can also plan for the effective methods required to control unexpected situations. As a result, this also reduces machine downtime. As more and more devices support augmented reality, it will provide more in-depth data and better insights, which will drive further technological advancements.
Assessment and Repair During Storms/Outages
On one side, where the energy and utility sector are working on updating the outdated infrastructure they developed over many years; on the other side, assessment, and repairs during power outages or storms continue to remain a big challenge for the industry. Many utilities still use paper-based instructions during emergencies. However, with AR powered Digitized Work Instructions, you can let your frontline workers utilize the updated information anywhere anytime. Moreover, augmented reality solutions allow workers to record the sessions via AR smart glasses and can be used when workers face a similar issue in the near or distant future. This significantly improves workers’ productivity while also accelerating the time of repair.
Improve Operational Safety
Workers are an essential part of the industry, and in that specialists in energy and utilities work in extreme conditions. The technology improves operational safety, allowing for better visualization of underground assets and complex components, reducing accidents. With AR headsets, engineers can detect errors easily and effectively. As it resolves issues in real-time, this reduces the risk of injury.
Moreover, AR technology can also provide safety measures and guidelines, informing technicians on how to operate in hazardous situations. As a result, there are fewer chances of accidents.
Sometimes, workers need urgent help to resolve the issue quickly. In this case, AR solutions allow field workers to connect with experts via video call and get instant solutions. Hence, workers are less prone to make mistakes while operating equipment.
6 Undeniable Benefits of AR In Energy & Utility
Adopting AR technology into your service operations can make processes significantly more productive for both workers and organizations. For example, with AR features, field technicians can connect with remote experts and get guidance in troubleshooting errors. Moreover, it improves first-time fix rates and reduces repair time, enhancing workers’ satisfaction.
Adoption of AR in energy and utilities yields many benefits:
Reduces Service Expense
Implementing AR technologies allows organizations to hire knowledgeable and experienced workers and educate them via AR training sessions. Additionally, with AR solutions, the industry can focus more on troubleshooting the issues identified by AR rather than going through a complex diagnostic procedure to repair equipment. Moreover, reducing the workforce is another area where augmented reality can save significant costs.
Decrease Service Time
Augmented reality solution can be used to provide remote video inspection and assist personnel in various locations, reducing the need for travel and in-person interaction. Through this, workers utilize precious time on more important tasks. Moreover, workers can easily access the data, and as a result, it reduces the time taken to perform the tasks.
Lesser Accidental Risk
Adopting AR in energy and utilities allows them to identify errors, which lowers the chances of mistakes. In addition, workplace safety is maintained with regular and effective maintenance of equipment.
Lowers Training Costs
Augmented reality for employee training is affordable and more practical than traditional training methods. The reason behind this is that in virtual training, there is no need for expensive equipment.
Shorter Employees Training Time
AR training takes less time compared to traditional training sessions. The new workers can access the training sessions anytime, anywhere, making their learning more effective and efficient. Augmented training engages your frontliners fast and makes them job-ready in days.
Moreover, AR-embedded technologies provide:
- Better security and productivity.
- Allow the energy and utility industry to deal with numerous challenges.
- Boost industry growth and success.
AR provides the best opportunities for industry development.
Examples of AR in Power and Utilities
Case Study 1: Reduced Wastage for Water Utility with AR powered Remote Visual Assistance
An organization that provides water services faced challenges with response times, the increasing pressure of regulatory obligations, and heavy fines for misconduct found during audits. With the use of digital solutions, the industry minimized the resolution time for repairs & maintenance.
Furthermore, with AR-powered remote visual assistance, field workers were able to connect with experts in real-time, which helps in resolving critical issues as they arise. This reduces travel costs, carbon footprints, and material usage in heavy industries.
Case Study 2: Power Company Connects Technicians in Real Time
Usually, in power companies, the main work is to inspect and replace electricity meters, which requires precise data for accurate monitoring and billing information. Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, this power company faced various challenges as workers were not allowed to access meters in person. This resulted in the necessity for smart servicing for the existing equipment.
With the help of digitized workflow embedded with videos and photos, workers were able to perform their task easily and effectively. Moreover, technicians can have expert support whenever any issue is encountered. Utilizing remote assistance in power utility has enhanced workers’ productivity and also reduced the travel cost.
Augmented Reality in Energy and Utilities: Reap the Benefits with Plutomen
Augmented reality (AR) is set to take off in a big way and will bring new value to the energy and utility sector. With augmented reality, industrial enterprises are ready to make workflows more efficient and safe, ultimately making workers more productive.
Today there are vast benefits of implementing AR solutions, some implemented AR solutions to provide immersive learning to their frontline workforce, while some to standardize processes and minimize errors. If you, too, are planning to leverage Augmented Reality in energy and utilities, that not only increases productivity, and workplace safety, but also efficiency, turn to Plutomen! Book a meeting with one of our experts now, who will guide you on how our solutions help in exploring your industrial enterprises.
Implementing AR for energy and utilities with Plutomen will assist industries in dealing with the numerous challenges preventing the industry from continuous growth
Get closer to making a smooth digital transformation with Plutomen. Book a demo now!