Utility Workers Take on Augmented Reality
According to the 2015 Construction Technology Report, companies are venturing toward emerging tech such as drones and wearables more freely. These technologies were identified as the most widely used emerging tech according to over 2,000 construction professionals who took our survey. And it turns out that industries other than just construction are starting to use drones and wearables to monitor operations.
In 2015, San Diego Gas & Electric became the first U.S. utility service to begin using issued drones for monitoring transmission lines. This can be a big transition for utilities to integrate drones and other technology into their operations, assuming clear federal laws are set in place for unmanned aerial vehicles. However, drones are not the only big tech advancement the utility grid infrastructure is experimenting with.
Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) has been exploring the concept of augmented reality wearables on the job site to monitor operations efficiency as well as equipment and worker safety. Space-Time Insight, a situational intelligence company, is working toward an augmented reality demo that proves how data visualization on sites could protect equipment and workers.
Utility infrastructure augmented reality will look like an augmented reality wearable for operation workers to connect to their surroundings and send information between tools quickly. Work orders can be entered quickly, where the operative can send their observations to the system faster than before, cutting time costs. They are actually able to see a checklist through the augmented reality headset display and data such as a thermal heat map displayed on top of the utility equipment. This augmented reality solution involves a Common Information Model, which allows seamless data integration allowing utilities to better adapt to a changing environment by offering the right solution.
“No utilities have yet adopted the technology. But EPRI believes wearable computers will become more common as the costs come down, the applications improve, and utilities find clear use cases that save them money.”
It has recently become a jobsite trend to have devices to monitor employees for safety, risk management and insurance reasons. JBKnowledge, Inc.’s most recent development out of JBK Labs is Buildstream. This device is dedicated to providing insight on construction job site conditions, progress and employee health monitoring, with the intention of helping project managers ensure the safety and progress of their work sites.
As more entities, such as utilities and construction, begin integrating risk management processes to monitor job sites and operations, augmented reality has the ability to become a common norm in many industries.