‘It’s learning through play, a perfect fit for millennials’
To create an interactive environment for on-the-job training
Using AR/VR for training is an interesting concept and ideal fit for Honeywell Connected Plant (HCP). How is it going to work in practice?
Research shows that millennials respond better to experiential learning techniques, rather than passive learning methods such as listening (e.g., lectures) or visualising (e.g., presentations). Honeywell recently announced that it is using a cloud-based simulation tool that uses a combination of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to train plant personnel on critical industrial work activities.
Honeywell’s advanced training solution combines mixed reality with data analytics to create an interactive environment for on-the-job training. It uses Microsoft’s HoloLens, the world’s first and only self-contained holographic computer, and Windows Mixed Reality headsets to simulate various scenarios for Honeywell’s C300 controller – such as primary failure and switchovers, cable and power supply failure – that train and test personnel on their skills. This approach improves skill retention versus traditional training methods by up to 100% and reduces the length of technical training by up to 66%, additionally, the employees’ training progress is tracked as part of a formal competency management system.
Is this programme compatible only with the Honeywell C300 controller? Any special software required?
We are indeed starting with the C300 Controller, Honeywell’s flagship industrial controller for batch and process control. Progressively a range of new modules will be released month by month, not just limited to Honeywell’s systems portfolio aimed at the maintenance engineer competency, but also providing field maintenance and field operations guidance for complex tasks on critical equipment and systems, such as for example removing an ultrasonic flow meter transducer on a gas pipeline without interruption to the gas flow or unloading hazardous chemicals.
Regarding hardware and software requirements for the plant, we have kept this as easy as possible for the site by making the entire software suite available in the cloud so there is no need to install simulation software locally. The only two steps necessary are to turn on the Hololens and download the Honeywell app. A connection with the Immersive Competency solution can be established within minutes.
What are the types of training activities that will be covered?
We define a library of scenarios around specific assets or activities. Once defined, we inject that model into our platform and software bed (Honeywell property IP) and an operator can access that training from anywhere, connect to the platform, select the type of training, type of models, resulting in different ways to learn.
The first step to learn is the "show-me" mode, where procedures are being displayed. The training mode is next. We also created a "help-me mode": The same scenario can be played with multiple layers of difficulty. It’s learning through play, a perfect fit for millennials.
Is this tool going to be suitable for all types of industries? Will there be any safety issues?
In my view, what sets AR & VR apart from other technologies is its immersive nature – it allows technology to directly facilitate a person’s perception and interaction with the physical world. We have given a lot of thought to how to protect the safety and privacy of the users with this development. Since this is a competency solution, it is an excellent way for plants in any industry to start with this technology.
Have you started offering this service in India already?
India is a leading nation in growth and acceptance of AR/VR solutions. A lot of sites want to move fast with this technology and we are working closely on both standard and custom AR/VR solutions addressing site specific competency scenarios.
What is the training model or module – the client company has to acquire the hardware? What will be the cost implications?
We have two immersive offerings for the users: the Microsoft Hololens is a wireless computing device that places the hardware objects used for the learning within the users’ natural space, whether this is an office location or the shop floor. This solution is most popular among our users. In addition, we offer a Windows Mixed reality environment for the same learning modules, an optional experience for users where we provide a virtual reality environment removing the user from their natural space and placing them inside an industrial learning environment.
What kind of impact do you expect this to have in the skilling programmes that are widely talked about but not implemented effectively?
Immersive Competency reassesses the competency gap at an individual level, for which a customised learning program will be defined. The individual then gets trained on specific topics accordingly to make the individual competent and skilled in these areas. An evaluation determines the results and if the trainee can do the job in the real environment.
It's a very comprehensive solution to improve workers' skills as it ensures better reliability and higher performance of the jobsite.
He is Regional Business Leader (India & South Asia) – Honeywell, elaborates upon using AR/VR for training.