Remote Assist or Remote Expert is a growing area within the XR industry, its growth is down to two main triggers, the COVID-19 pandemic, which meant that businesses needed to physically adapt to a new way of working and the readily available amount of hardware that can be used for this type of application.
In its simplest form Remote Assist or Remote Expert is when there is a live expert training/assisting another person while in separate locations.
It can be done through a number of device types, from a user’s mobile phone, tablet, laptop, or a dedicated headset to allow for hands-free operation, while the expert can be 1000’s of miles away at a desktop.
User cases that use this type of solution:
- Maintenance and Inspection Checks (Quality Control)
- Problems can be solved in real-time, by having the expert’s eyes on an issue without the need for “waving a laptop with zoom on it, at the issue.”. A prime example of this is within the automotive industry, a car comes into the garage with an issue that has never been seen before, through remote assist, the manufacturer’s chief engineers can be accessed quickly, and diagnosis can be made with minimal delay and cost while improving the overall quality of the service.
- Training new employees/apprentices
- Creating a collaborative working environment, brings teams closer together through technology, no matter the platform. With a distributed workforce and a need to bring team members up to speed on skilled tasks quickly and efficiently, one trainer or leader can be responsible for looking after multiple new employees and apprentices over an extended area, without a significant increase in cost or number of seniors being involved.
- Coaching on-the-job training
- On-the-job training, one of the oldest ways to teach technical and engineering-based roles, normally takes months and years before a trainee is allowed out on their own to provide support and do the job, but with remote expert solutions, they can go to the site, do the job they need to do and call in for sign off and guidance as and when they need it.
All XR solutions for Remote Assist/Expert address the following key areas:
- Reduction in travel costs
- Removing the need to travel by deploying staff who can be guided by an expert, both live or by predefined workflow, means that the investment in technology is rapidly paid back and starts creating a positive ROI for the business.
- Increased productivity through quicker more efficient training
- First-hand training creates greater skill retention, so by using an XR solution, within a remote assist/expert environment, junior team members can be brought up to speed quickly and become more versatile. While also being able to have assistance where needed.
- Increase Risk Mitigation
- By allowing an expert to guide or a user to use a verified workflow, the risk of errors is drastically reduced. The live element also allows for checking on the fly and verification prior to re-enabling sensitive systems.
- Meet skill shortages through shared remote expert groups
- The primary example of this was engineers who needed to be present on-site during COVID, they were able to guide less experienced engineers who were on-site through every step of a procedure, from basic tasks to the most complex of problem-solving.
The type of headset/technology will provide a difference in functionality:
|Assisted||Monocular 2D screen for following simple workflows and making 1 to 1 Teams calls.||100% hands-free using voice commands to interact with the device.
Attach to safety equipment without hindering the experience.
Devices can be intrinsically safe.
|· Obscured line of sight
· Small field of View
· No depth
|Augmented||Devices are handheld.||Tablet and mobile devices are already available in most environments, making it easy to integrate.||Requires the user to operate the device with their hands, and needs to be put down, between actions.|
|Mixed||Use 3D digital twins to make training easier.||Connect to IoT devices to display live accurate data.
Full visibility of the surrounding area and being able to have full live feedback.
|Can require the use of hand gestures/controllers to interact with the visuals.|
|Virtual||Fully immersed in a virtual environment, not able to see your surroundings.||Fully immersive experience allowing you tailor training specific to your needs.||Will not be able to see your surroundings or interact with objects near you.|