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The way we work has changed. Are you ready for a post-pandemic life?

Author Rose Cugal
Posted on

Reduced demand, disrupted supply chains, furloughed workforces, and mandated shutdowns have caused businesses around the world to adapt to the new normal. As we move towards a post-pandemic life, it is crucial to know your options and the alternative methods to communicate, educate, and do maintenance. In this article, I will talk about how you can adapt to the new normal using the latest technology to reduce pressure and keep your business viable.

Visualization is now an acknowledged and critical tool for industrial leaders. Extended reality (XR) is a visualization method and is a general term for virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality (Read more about XR here). Not long ago, these technologies were just a fantasy to most, but nowadays these are applicable to many industrial needs. Modern gears have better performance with an affordable price tag. Major trends, globalization, digitalization and sustainability lead into the use of XR technologies at a larger scale. XR offers benefits that not only extracts many challenges, such as fast iteration and language barriers but it is also an environmental friendly option, due to reduced need for physical prototypes and travelling.

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Remote work culture will continue to grow, but what will happen to customer engagement?

Remote working and social distancing are main effects of the pandemic. The lack of human interaction and travel restrictions have certainly been a challenge for all industries and has changed the way we do work.

According to a research in early 2020, 55% of US employees would prefer a mixture of remote and onsite working. In the UK, the estimate for remote workers has doubled from pre-pandemic 18% to 37% post-pandemic. In China, an employment expert Alicia Tung has estimated that the onsite/remote work ratio will be 60/40 within 10 years.

How can we keep the same level of performance and engagement while keeping the perks of working from home? Extended reality offers a strong alternative to unreliable and impersonal calls. Hosting online webinars has increased drastically during the pandemic. Although this is a good way to engage with your audience, it is not a long-term alternative to fairs. The biggest benefits of using XR is its ability to connect people and make it feel as if they were in the same space regardless of their location.

A crucial part of human interaction are non-verbal communication, such as, one’s voice tone, gestures and facial expressions. In most cases, people have their video cameras off. People multitask and their attention aren’t fully in the topic. Using virtual reality in communication, teamwork and customer engagement removes the additional distractions. Participants can be truly engaged and collaborate in the same virtual environment in real-time. 3D objects and animated procedures can be brought into the virtual environment, offering a chance for participants to be involved with your whole site, process or machinery in full detail.

Smarter product development and less physical prototypes

As previously mentioned, the changes in our way of working are also due to global megatrends, such as globalization. A modern team has distributed workers and remote collaboration is common in today’s economy. A well-functioning team and synchronized working is important. There is a need for systems that can keep up with the correct data, real-time changes and information to manage evolving and changing projects.

The processes can be simulated in virtual environments for lean validating and development. Creating digital prototypes can ensure that the products and processes are tested and optimized. The design, validation and even training can be done with digital prototypes before anything physical is built. This removes possible trials and errors. By linking the real with the digital, the design and user experience can be tested in real use-scenarios, the customers get to see what they are purchasing and the users can be trained in advanced regardless of their location.

Industry example: The Link – Digital Prototype

Devecto and Elomatic developed a method that links the 3D world with the physics model of a machinery creating a realistic simulation that is easily accessible and controlled with common tools – PC and console. The method called The Link, connects the two models so that information flows both ways. By linking the dynamics model to the 3D model, both realistic visuals and authentic feeling are achieved in the digital prototype that can be used for testing and evaluation prior to building the physical prototype.

Faster onboarding, training and reduced work-place casualties

The use of extended reality in employee onboarding and training has increased in the past few years in different fields, and will continue to be more common in the coming years. As remote work increases, the need for flexible training methods are necessary.

Training and employee onboarding can be easily done in interactive virtual reality environments, as procedures can be simulated in realistic environments that are true in size. This gives the chance for better performance and less work-place casualties. Furthermore, research shows that memory retention after a VR experience is twice higher than after video- or text based learning materials.

Elomatic supports Valmet in its goal to be the forerunner in virtual trainings.

Using virtual trainings, imperfections in safety procedures can be spotted and additional safety steps can be easily added which leads into improved work-place safety. Embedded visual information will help the user learn and understand at their terms. Maintenance and installation tasks can be trained beforehand to avoid maintenance break and decrease down time.

The pandemic has surely affected the way we work and has increased the need for XR solutions. While the future might be unsure, the increasing role of XR in different industrial fields is secured.

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Rose Cugal

Marketing Specialist

Intelligent Engineering

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