Application of virtual reality in industrial enterprises

DreamPort Blog
March 10, 2020

Modern computing power and 3D technologies allow you to simulate literally everything. Any reality is possible. Developers of games for PC and consoles have long learned to earn money on this.

Virtual simulators at the enterprise

Virtual simulatorsand demonstrations have a very important feature: you can build a complete digital copy of an entire factory and work out any production process — fire alarms, internal traffic patterns, up to the operation of individual production lines. The same applies to emergency situations. How are employees taught to act in such a case? Often formally — read the safety brochure, sign in the document that you are «familiarized». All training completed.

But how will a person behave if there really is a hardware failure or something worse? Will he remember the text of the brochure? Maybe yes, maybe not. The experience is sometimes tragic.

But what if you create an exact digital duplicate of the hardware? Let the employee get around it from all sides, get acquainted with the management? Push buttons, pull levers. Simulate equipment failure, fire, collapse, flood, so that it can work out the procedure. At the same time, a person will not click the mouse while sitting at the monitor: they will put on a virtual reality helmet and really be transported to the scene of action. And work out a regular or emergency situation with their own hands, getting the necessary skills without the slightest threat to life and health.
ЕThere is another important factor, without which our VR simulator will be no more useful than a computer game. This is the participation of an expert (a specialist in the equipment that we model) at all stages of the project. Without its approval and signature, the project will not be sent to the customer. The project expert is usually provided by the customer. But if for some reason they can’t do it, we attract the right specialist on our own.

Image and immersion quality

Quite often, negotiations raise the issue of the budget. Yes, a high-quality VR simulator is not cheap. A significant part of the price is the detailing and image quality, which are as high as technology allows.

The human eye produces a huge number of frames per second (fps, framed per second), so the world around us is displayed as clearly and realistically as possible. When a person puts on a VR helmet, they are immersed in a virtual world that should be no less realistic and detailed. Otherwise, it will be very uncomfortable to study and work in such a world.

VR simulator «Working at height».

Detailing is especially important if we are dealing with virtual hardware. A machine or other device in the virtual world should look exactly the same as in reality. If there is rust on the control lever, we will reliably display it. Then the operator will be able to better reproduce the operations performed on the virtual copy, and he will not have a sense of inconsistency.

And customers often ask to make a so-called MVP (Minimum Viable Product) — a product with a minimal set of functions, assembled in a simple editor, but inexpensive. In our opinion, this is not the most effective approach to virtual learning.

For the principle of immersion in virtuality to work, all items must be drawn as accurately as possible.

How much does a virtual simulator cost?

The cost of developing a virtual reality simulator «from scratch» starts from $12,500. More serious simulators that include several locations and training scenarios — $37,500-$62,500.
If you want cheaper, then you should look in the direction of mass-produced solutions, for example, —  a simulator for   fire extinguish in an office building — such simulators cost from $3,750.

An example of a VR simulator limited-edition «Actions in case of fire», which is available for purchase.

How virtual simulators pay off

Before implementing virtual reality in an enterprise, any businessman asks a fair question: how can a virtual simulator work out the funds invested in it?

Let’s take BelAZ, a giant multi-ton truck, for example. To work on it, you need to learn how to manage it. You can start using a mechanical simulator, like in a driving school, but sooner or later you will have to sit on a real car. Not the old one that was scrapped long ago, but the current one. This means that this BelAZ will have to be turned off from the production process, especially if there are several students. A downtime of such expensive equipment is a loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars..

It remains to calculate what is less expensive — to pay for a simple machine every time, or to invest in a full-featured virtual copy of it once. Where you can safely train hundreds of drivers.

There is another important factor, without which our VR simulator will be no more useful than a computer game. This is the participation of an expert (a specialist in the equipment that we model) at all stages of the project. Without its approval and signature, the project will not be sent to the customer. The project expert is usually provided by the customer. But if for some reason they can’t do it, we attract the right specialist on our own.

Plans and forecasts for the development of VR in the industry

Many experts consider 2019 to be a turning point for VR technology in Russia. Large companies have already launched pilot projects in virtual reality, in particular in the field of training using virtual simulators. At the same pilot projects, the parameters for evaluating the effectiveness of implementing virtual reality technology were determined.

In 2020, we will see even more interesting projects from Russian developers, and a clear trend will be group problem solving in virtual reality, in multiplayer mode. The simulator in multi-user mode allows you to train a whole group of specialists to solve a task in VR.

The mechanics of such simulators are simple: users negotiate in real time, interact with the same tools and objects, working on the same problem — just like in real life.

Example of a multi-player VR simulator «elimination of gas, oil, and water inflow» that works in multi-user mode.

Conclusions

According to  the KPMG study,, which was attended by more than 100 largest companies in the Russian Federation, in 2019 VR/AR technologies are already used in 21% of companies. In 2020, these companies will analyze the experience gained and, judging by the growth in purchases of VR equipment, scale their VR solutionsOn the other hand, developers have already accumulated enough experience in developing VR simulators to offer businesses really useful solutions that are not inferior to foreign products.

According to another study conducted in 4industry large businesses are increasingly looking towardsaugmented reality and see this technology as more promising for the industry. We share this view and will return to this topic in the near future.