Its well understood that Industry 4.0 is the key digitization of Industries across sectors and all the various different digital trans-formative initiatives carried out by the companies operating in the Manufacturing & Industrial space.
Internet of Things (IoT) & Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) are the two major technologies driving the growth and adoption of Industry 4.0 to a larger extent. Also Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Cloud Computing are the other prominent drivers along with other computing platforms and technologies like cloud computing, smart factories, block chain and augmented reality etc.
One of the other important tool or technology, that can augment this drive is Virtual Reality, integrated to the Industry 4.0 solutions and enhance the output and productivity quotient.
As such, what we do as a startup and our existing solution revolves around this core theme of digitizing the Industries with VR. We have started off and are currently focused on digitizing and transforming the training and skilling in the Manufacturing Sector.
But, virtual reality has immense scope beyond training & skilling and can play an active role in other spectrum of the Industrial Digitization as well. For instance, with the advent of smart factories and processes, we can simulate and test any new process or automation before they are implemented. This helps the organizations save huge cost in terms of execution errors and implementation hazards even before implementing them.
In terms of skilling, Virtual Reality is one of the most effective forms of training and enables the digitization of existing conventional training content into a 3 dimensional experience of all the machinery and tools. This can be used as a multi pronged approach as well. Wherein the same 3D model and digitized machinery and tools can be used for a different scenario within the organization like sales & promotion, future R & D of those machinery, process simplification etc.
Virtual Reality based training can transform the way, how 3D Design software transformed Product Design & Development across Industries.
In terms of the role played by VR in Industry 4.0, it hasnt been explored and utilized unlike its other technological counterparts. The longer period of Virtual Realitys bull run has been in the consumer market with primary focus in Gaming. But, the majority of its potential lies in the Enterprise and B2B segment. With VR, we can recreate and relive any of our physical world. This is more so effective and trans-formative in an Industrial context, where there are large scale machinery and safety concerns in play.
Processes like heavy metal forging, casting, plasma cutting, smelting and few others will all be able to utilize and explore the potential of Virtual Reality in terms of training, analyzing and measuring productivity etc. which can provide a safe working environment and also immense scope for trial and error, which arent so convenient and seamless in a physical setup.
We even have couple of instances, where VR was used for automated driving and sorting within the warehouse and logistic ends as well. But, these have been in bits and pieces and are fragmented without a collective approach across the Industry.
IoT combined with Virtual Reality will add great value to the organizations implementing them. As different organizations have different use cases and implementations with IoT, the solution would vary to each of them. But, collectively when they are combined together it will be a great value add and complement both the technology very well.
We thought of some of the key areas, where Virtual Reality can play an important role in Industry 4.0 other than training and listed them out. This is not an exhaustive list, as there are lot of challenges and problems unique to certain processes and functionalities respective to certain organizations.
Research & Development: Just like we have mentioned earlier, VR can transform the Industry like how design software transformed product development, better so it can transform the way product design happens itself with dimension accurate precision and live colors and textures for the products.
Logistics & Warehouse: Logistics & Warehouse sorting forms one of the pivotal component in the overall supply chain of an organization. VR can play a major role in simulating scenarios and testing out new processes and methods along with being an important tool in Automated Warehouses and automated sorting processes.
Remote Operation & Assistance: In a post pandemic world, with growing concerns over Human Safety and Safety compliance aspects playing a major role in day to day activities, VR can be a life saver in carrying out all the remote operations and complementing all the remote operations possible within an Industry.
Smart Factory: With the growing trend of Smart Factory and as large number of organizations adopt the Smart Factory concept, it will be an important element to include Virtual Reality in the process as well. In the light of data revolution and smart computing playing an important role, VR will add and increase the productivity profoundly adding more value to the Smart Factory concept.
Given the recent trend in Facebook advancing its METAVERSE ambitions, there are a lot of consumer interest and adoption for VR. But, the actual potential and treasure trove lies within the Industrial segment and will be a revolutionary and trans-formative step ahead for the entire Manufacturing & Industrial sector.
We strongly believe so and are working towards that objective as well.
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