To address the growing skills gap in field service industries, organizations are focusing on how they train their techs now more than ever before. With the majority of veteran techs — often the gatekeepers of knowledge — out in the field, training new techs can be a challenge. Enter: Virtual reality. The technology creates prime opportunity for teaching newbies without taking veterans away from the customer.
Since techs are likely already carrying a smartphone or tablet, mobile video training has never been more appropriate for on-the-job assistance. More than 50 percent of organizations estimate that if knowledge sharing was a higher priority the team’s productivity would increase 20 to 40 percent, according to TSIA’s 2nd annual Knowledge Management survey.
3 Applications of Virtual Reality Training
Two years ago, NASA used mobile video training for deep-sea expeditions as the astronauts and scientists explored an undersea asteroid. Today, organizations are using virtual reality technology to train techs. Here are several examples of the technology in action:
Automotive braking and injection
Robert Bosch, the world’s largest supplier of automotive parts, has trained nearly 10,000 service techs on direct injection and braking technology using Oculus Rift virtual reality technology. The training program, called the Bosch Xperience tour, gives techs an in-the-engine view to help them understand how the engine operates and the various components involved.
“All training across many industries is actually moving toward virtual reality,” Stefan Jackowniak, tour manager of Bosch Xperience, told Detroit Free Press.
Virtual reality is a promising training tool with limited risk and liability because it simulates the action, rather than arming trainee techs with large, powerful equipment right off the bat. VSRim, a virtual reality and interactive training software company, has partnered with Lincoln Electric, the largest welding manufacturer in the U.S., to create a virtual reality welding training program where the tech welds using a virtual torch, and the computer scores the training session and provides feedback, according to the Hartford Courant.
Several manufacturing companies based in Lee County, Florida, used the innovative virtual reality technology as a recruiting tactic. They hosted an open house and invited students to try out the virtual reality technology training system for welding as a way to promote the manufacturing career path, according to The Sanford Herald.
While spray painting can be taught using water, it doesn’t accurately mimic the skill and technique required when the equipment is spraying paint. That’s why VRSim introduced a commercial spray paint training called SimSpray, where a tech holds a pretend spray nozzle, and the technology tracks how heavy the paint is applied and whether the angle, distance and speed are appropriate.
The explosion of virtual reality technology as a widespread tech training is on the horizon. These are just a few examples of how organizations are currently using the technology, and they’re just the beginning.