The future of field work operations in construction and utilities could be revolutionised by the impact of augmented reality technologies.
The wastewater and water industries are complex areas that incorporate dams, water treatment plants, pipes, and sewage and moving forward, adopting the right technology platform to handle mobile field operations is crucial to maximising business efficiency.
In such an area of complexity, the challenge is to have access to the appropriate expertise at the point it is required, so when a field service operative or technician doesn’t have the requisite knowledge or experience, problems can arise.
However, technology can step in to help and AR is set to play an increasing role in field operations, specifically to enhance support, expertise, and collaboration in real time – on site.
Inevitably, water and wastewater problems do not always occur when a field expert is conveniently available to solve them. However, the use of collaborative AR means that the technician on site can communicate with an operative off site – enabling virtual expert support to solve the problem in real time, avoiding hold-ups or pauses, and saving money and time in turn.
Besides repairs, the use of AR can facilitate virtual inspections which allow for operational sign-off on safety and performance aspects both in a cost-effective and time-saving capacity.
As AR can provide expert advice remotely, for the repair and maintenance of equipment already in place, or the installation of new equipment, digital AR may play an instructional role in the field. Smart glasses, although not yet adopted for on-site field services, are in development and may have an increasing role to play in future.
Collaborative AR, however, provides immediate benefit. Without the need for digital content, experts can be present, virtually, at all times whether through pre-planning or to solve an immediate problem – rather than having to give explanations step by step.
Having an expert in the right place at the right time is of massive benefit in many construction scenarios, not just water and wastewater. AR and remote assistance software allow field technicians to confidently inspect, maintain, and install equipment, and solve problems using technology that augments on-site expertise, accelerates response times and is easy to use. As it becomes an increasingly adopted tool within field service, AR will continue to benefit field technicians, companies, and customers by providing an accessible collaborative space.