Hiren Kanani

Hiren Kanani

March 7, 2023 10 minutes to read

Augmented Reality in Energy And Utilities: A Run-through

Augmented Reality in Energy And Utilities: A Run-through

“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.”

Augmented Reality is an enhanced version of the world around us, which combines digital data with the real world. AR has the potential to create a workplace more digitized, efficient, and secure for the frontline workforce. Today, Augmented reality technologies is used in various fields and applications, and among them, one is power and utility sectors.

Nowadays, utility businesses are overloaded with tasks that put unnecessary pressure on engineering people. Also, the risk factor involved in their job is very high. Now, say for example, companies have to send technicians on-site to perform wiring installation. If they are stuck in between the task, they use to refer paper-based instructions. And then, the task gets extended.

Hence, industries were looking for ways to innovate and reshape this sector. As a result, one of the renowned renewable energy industries has conducted an experiment with augmented reality. 50% of team members were provided AR smart glasses to perform the installation process, and 50% followed the old traditional way. And the result was really shocking! The group, which was equipped with AR smart glasses, finished the task 2x faster with more accuracy and fewer human errors. Interesting, isn’t it?

So, let’s dive deep into this concept. In this article, we will discuss key uses of augmented reality in energy and utilities, along with its benefits and real-life examples.

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.

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:

use cases of ar in energy and utilities

Worker Training

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.

Equipment Maintenance

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.

Real-life Example: Power Company Connects Technicians in Real Time

In power companies, the main work was to inspect and replace electricity meters, which require 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 tasks 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 travel costs.

  • Faster Equipment Maintenance: With AR, the power company observed reduced maintenance time by 50%.
  • Reduce Manual Error: Using AR-based digitized work instructions, workers were able to perform their tasks with accuracy. As a result, it reduced manual errors.

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.

Real-Life Example: Enhancing Worker Safety With AR

Siemens Energy was facing difficulty in regularly examining and repairing its equipment in an effective manner. Moreover, work was performed in difficult-to-reach areas. Looking at this, the organization decided to leverage augmented reality to connect their technicians with experts in real time.

With the help of AR, technicians were able to inspect, maintain and diagnose their equipment in real time. It has accelerated resolution time and improved productivity. In addition, it has also enhanced worker safety as the industry was able to reduce accidents by 43%.

  • Enhanced Safety: By using AR, workers were able to perform their tasks effectively without any kind of danger.
  • Lesser Injuries: The organization was able to reduce injuries by implementing AR, as workers no need to travel to hard-to-reach locations.

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.

Real-Life Example: 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 record their sessions and build a secure knowledge repository to use in difficult situations like storms or outages. This reduces travel costs, carbon footprints, and material usage in heavy industries.

  • Time Savings: With AR remote visual assistance, water utility was able to save a lot of time as experts were able to guide technicians in real time.
  • Easy Access to Expert Knowledge: Utilizing AR-based work instructions, technicians were able to access step-by-step SOPs, manuals, or guides on their devices anytime, anywhere.

Data Generation

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.

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:

Built Highly Efficient Pre-Visit Space

Pre-visit inspections allow utility workers to evaluate the problems properly so that they can send the right person, tools, and parts to the site. Moreover, AR-powered visual assistance helps to reduce inspection times, wastage, and even truck rolls.

Create and Administer Step-by-step SOPs

With AR-powered digital work instructions software, organizations can create and manage SOPs in a systematic way to provide work instructions to their team members. These step-by-step SOPs are also helpful for conducting quality audits and inspections. Moreover, AR solutions improve planned and maintenance processes with checklist reviews.

Immersive Training Experience

Through AR training, industry experts can provide immersive training experiences to new front-line professionals and see what’s working and what needs improvement. With AR training, frontline workers can perform their tasks efficiently and enhance productivity.

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.

Augmented Reality in Energy and Utilities: Get Started 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 increase 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.

AR in energy and utilities

Hiren Kanani

Hiren Kanani

CTO, Cofounder of Plutomen

With 10+ years' experience of Hiren Kanani has helped Plutomen ensure smooth communication between the company and the client for swift project delivery with fewer iterations. He is CTO & founder at Plutomen.

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