The need for skilled labor in heavy industry has never been more acute. Experienced technicians with decades of institutional knowledge are reaching retirement age and in many industries there is a shortage of younger employees. Recruitment has lagged demand for many years.
For example in aviation, Boeing Flight Services projects that 679,000 new commercial airline maintenance technicians will be needed over the next 20 years.
Oil & Gas
In the oil and gas and mining industries, the Great Crew Change has been extensively reported on with two retirees for every one new employee entering the workforce. Even as the recent drop in oil price caused industry downsizing, it has been the experienced older worker that took early retirement, exacerbating the skills gap as the industry now tries to upsize again with recovering oil prices. The American Petroleum Institute estimates a hiring need of 30,000 workers annually over the next 20 years in the US.
This situation is repeated in many other industries. Less experienced employees take longer to complete routine tasks, are less able to troubleshoot complex issues on their own and spend far more time searching for documentation and procedures. Their relative lack of experience makes them more apprehensive in potentially hazardous situations and increases stress levels.
Remote Mentor solutions based on the RealWear HMT-1 and companion software from our partners address these issues. The field worker uses the HMT-1 and can call up a remote mentor – an experienced master technician or engineer located in an office. Over Wi-Fi or via tethered 3G/4G links, live video – up to full HD – from the advanced camera on the HMT-1 is streamed to the remote expert’s desktop computer. An audio channel is also open enabling two way communication, with the field worker clearly hearing directions from the remote expert. A Remote Mentor can trigger the capture of a sharp 16 megapixel image and zoom in to examine details or read a part number or barcode.
Further the expert can annotate or telestrate the still or video image with a pen tablet, and push this back to the HMT-1’s heads-up micro-display clearly pointing out a part to remove, valve to adjust or cable to replace. From a library of content available to the mentor, a diagram, photo or video procedure can also be pushed into the field worker’s view.
All the while the hands-free interface allows the field worker to remain on task and maintain safety.
- Increases customer responsiveness and equipment uptime by utilizing the available field force
- Saves travel time and cost to move scarce experts to the job site
- Maximizes productivity for the expert
- Reduces errors and need for repeat visits
- Upskills less experienced workers with just-in-time on-the-job mentoring
- Improves the confidence of field workers, lowering stress levels and increasing safety
RealWear HMT-1 Optimizations
- Totally hands-free – no need to put down tools and pick up a tablet
- Advanced camera with 4 axis optical image stabilization, phase detect autofocus and low light performance for sharp 16 megapixel images and up to HD video
- Telephoto lens accessory for a closer view of arm’s length work
- Unprecedented battery life for up to six hours of SD video streaming upload over Wi-Fi on a single charge
- Hardware support for advanced H.265 video encoding lowers the wireless bandwidth needed for high quality video
- 854×480 resolution display sufficient to view detailed technical documentation
- 91dB near ear speaker to clearly hear the remote expert in loud environments, and 3.5mm jack for use with hearing protection solutions
- Advanced noise cancellation and multiple microphones to clearly hear the field worker in loud environments
- Waterproof to IP-67 – use in inclement conditions / harsh environments
- Third party apps from leading providers