VR is revolutionising the Engineering industries works, making it more proactive and cost-effective
Virtual Reality (VR) is swiftly making its way into the mainstream, and while it is most commonly referred to as, ‘the next big thing' in gaming, it’s also revolutionising the way specific industries work. The engineering industry has already embraced the benefits of VR, as it continues to develop solutions, allowing its businesses to run more proactive and cost-effective training programs.
Utilising VR as a training tool allows companies to create a more immersive programme, offering greater interaction than any mouse and keyboard could ever give. Engineers can utilise technology such as Oculus Rift to place themselves in various scenarios relevant to their job.
Training in VR also creates a more cost-effective training process. When mistakes are made in the engineering industry, it can result in damage to expensive equipment, or worse. However, training on a virtual example of the apparatus negates the risk of damage and prepares engineers for the best ways in which to tackle the many problems that could arise.
Alongside this, engineers can be exposed to realistic hazardous situations without actually being in any real danger. For example, trainees could be taught about day-to-day workplace safety regulations, or something more extreme, such as how to handle a fire aboard an oil rig. As this virtual style of training develops, it could help create a more safety-conscious and fully-prepared workforce.
There are already companies dedicated to creating a more efficient training routine via VR experiences. Serious VR are developing specific software with the purpose of keeping failure and associated costs to a minimum. The company’s approach has included gamification to engage workers:
“By using gamification elements, production workers in any age category will be highly motivated to redo training and improve their output and scores. This will result in better trained personnel and operational excellence.”
VR isn’t just helping train engineers; it’s also being used as part of recruitment initiatives. BT’s Openreach announced that they would be creating a VR experience, allowing those interested in their trainee scheme to discover some of the typical jobs involved in the daily life of a field engineer. This experience features a climb up a telephone pole and a tour of a local exchange building, given from the perspective of a real engineer.
This isn’t the first time Openreach have created something like this. Previously on their YouTube channel, they released a 360 degree video from the top of a telephone pole. Kevin Brady, HR Director for Openreach explains the new direction they are taking with their recruitment process:
“We get people from all walks of life applying for roles at Openreach and an increasing number of women wanting to be engineers, which is fantastic. Becoming an engineer can be a very rewarding career choice, and of course some aspects of the job are both mentally and physically challenging. We know for example that climbing a pole for the first time can be daunting for new recruits, and that’s why we wanted to give people a real insight into what’s involved. Hopefully it will help them to make a more informed decision when they come to apply”
As VR slowly creeps into the mainstream, the exciting possibilities for the engineering industry slowly become a reality. Familiarising engineers with products that are about to launched, collaborating on blueprints with clients around the globe in real-time and tailoring each programme to the training needs of each engineer show VR’s limitless benefits.
Virtual reality looks like it might well be the next best thing throughout many skilled industries, including medical, mechanical and engineering. While the cost of the technology is still high, we could see VR become the industry standard sooner than expected.