A RealWear headset is now an integrated part of Nærenergi's toolbox
For almost a year, Nærenergi has used AR for installation, start-up and service of biogas refueling stations. With RealWear, getting started is quick and easy, and the benefits are less travelling, better collaboration, and increased employee satisfaction.
Global collaboration in real time
Nærenergi supplies biogas refueling systems for buses and trucks. The company recently commissioned a new facility to refuel garbage trucks in Jönköping, Sweden, and it was a prime example of how augmented reality can foster global cooperation in a time facing travel restrictions due to COVID-19.
A local Swedish electrician and a local Swedish compressor expert were hired on a consulting basis in Jönköping. They were equipped with a RealWear headset with a built-in camera. The camera captured their field of view and shared the video in a Teams meeting. Also attending were people from Nærenergi in Denmark, the supplier of the compressor from South Korea, and the programmer of the control system from Italy.
“For some months now, RealWear has been a standard tool when we put plants into operation, but this was the first time we made a full remote start-up. RealWear is a super tool, both because the technician has his hands free, the voice commands are simple and actually work, and it is ATEX-certified, so we can use it in areas with an explosion hazard,” says Jacob Himmelstrup, CEO of Nærenergi.
Better construction meetings
RealWear not only helps Nærenergi on the special days when new plants are commissioned. Even during ordinary business life, there are many situations where the headset helps share knowledge across distances.
For example, in the weekly construction meetings during the construction of new facilities.
“Normally, a construction meeting begins with a half-hour tour of the site. Those individuals who did not have the opportunity to be physically present that day would then join via Teams half an hour later. Now we give the local people the headset on, and then everyone can follow on Teams from the start. Here, too, RealWear is a really good product because it has a well-functioning noise reduction – we can feel that it is made to be used in a harsh environment,” says Jacob Himmelstrup.
The experience is that a tour with RealWear provides far more presence than if the same tour was filmed with a mobile phone. On the tour, photos are usually taken and then shared in a folder as documentation. With RealWear it is possible to record both images and video with a simple voice command and save them directly in the right drive.
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Motivates the service staff
An important part of Nærenergi’s business concept is to enter into contracts with local, independent service fitters, and let them perform as many service and maintenance tasks as possible on behalf of Nærenergi. For that business model to work optimally, Nærenergi must be able to attract the best and most loyal fitters, and here too the use of augmented reality plays a role.
“We have a clear outsourcing strategy, and part of it is that we give fitters a service toolbox, which includes these glasses. The glasses are part of the service we provide to the fitters, and through the headset they have easy and quick access to one of our specialists if they encounter a challenge in the field. Combined with things like lightning-fast delivery of spare parts, we believe that this helps make us an attractive partner, so that we can attract the most skilled fitters,” he says.
Make sure to have proper Teams accounts and good internet
Nærenergi has experimented with both RealWear and HoloLens and has so far settled on RealWear. It has fewer functions but is very fast to get started with and is well suited for tasks in a harsh environment. The overall benefits of sharing field of view, speaking and having your hands free are the same on both headsets.
By testing both headsets, Nærenergi is also able to pass on learning to others who want to take advantage of digital collaboration through augmented reality.
“There were some very practical things we just had to find out, and here we have had good sparring of Virsabi throughout. First and foremost, we need to keep track of our Teams accounts. In the beginning, we used our personal accounts, and it becomes a mess when you forget to log out and then pass on the headset. And then of course you have to make sure that there is stable internet access on the site. With this solved, it just works, ”says Jacob Himmelstrup.
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Virsabi is a company that explores the intersection of creativity and technologies and is one of the first Virtual – and Augmented Reality dedicated companies offering both business advisory work and technical development for the utilization of Virtual Production, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality and other new visualization technologies.