IntES Uses Smart Glasses to Aid Remote On-Site Problem Solving for Clients

This year, 2020, has presented a serious challenge for many businesses around the globe, particularly in our work where international travel is often a necessity. But as with any challenge, it also presents opportunities for advancement. We are now using a new innovative solution; smart glasses wearable technology. Not only has this enabled us to overcome one of the more difficult aspects of international travel restrictions, but it has also saved crucial time in solving urgent issues for our clients.

What are smart glasses?

Smart glasses are a cutting-edge emerging technology that essentially places a video camera and computer screen right into a wearable piece of headgear – think of it as a hands-free head-mounted tablet device. Whilst the original idea of it might seem like a futuristic Sci-Fi concept, we can assure you, not only does this technology now exist, but there are also models specifically designed to aid highly technical, industrial engineering work such as ours.

How we used smart glasses to solve a specific problem for our client

We at IntES are not only always trying to find new ways we can support our clients on CAPEX projects, but also providing expertise and consultancy on areas where specific solutions are requested for a wide range of support. Our consultants and senior team are invaluably experienced and seasoned on senior project management, former Directors on CAPEX or plant OPEX programs, or advanced specialists in their field, and as such are highly sought-after minds when it comes to solving complex problems.

One of our clients in Shanghai approached us with a problem; their production output was operating at only 20% capacity. This was an urgent issue. The client’s raw materials must be mixed and dosed correctly and very precisely with a high efficiency, and since their “All in One Robot” was not operational, this was causing an immediate production loss. We were new to this particular capacity increase project, but we suspected that their issue could have been caused by either a design error, construction omission or commission failure. With the utmost sense of urgency our Project Director in China, Michael Zhang, went to the site at the request of the client to help their team find the root cause of this issue.

Agricultural Engineering Project for De Heus in Vietnam delivered by IntES

Identifying the problem with expert eyes from around the globe

Since this exercise had to analyse all potential causes of this problem, the quickest and most efficient way to identify the issue for this client was to involve many other specialists from across IntES and beyond to collaborate and find a solution as quickly as possible. We fully embrace collaborative working and in this case it meant utilising the expertise of the local client team based in different locations across China, as well as a number of specialists from the client and IntES whom were spread out across the globe. Most of which had no option to travel to the site and get eyes on the problem themselves due to international and internal travel restrictions at the time.

You can imagine that with so many people involved it requires a tailored approach to ensure all the available expertise would be utilised effectively and to keep everybody engaged. This is where our smart glasses came in. We were able to have separate individual calls and collaborative team calls with all specialists where Michael was able to share exactly what he was seeing on-site in the plant in real-time, as a high-resolution video integrated directly into our Microsoft Teams video call. Not only do the smart glasses share what Michaels sees, but he has also a small screen built into the glasses to read documents which are shared during the Teams call. So we could remotely examine the issue from each expert’s unique point of view and perspective, all in real-time and ‘virtually’ on-location.

Finding the solution collaboratively, from afar

We shared various documents on the screen, undertook real-time inspections and observed the site condition and operating OEM equipment. In case there were discussions the involved participants could actually go and see the operations live via Michael’s smart glasses as if they were actually on the ground themselves. They could deliberate on the observations straight away and also share vital info on the screen visible to Michael while he was in the plant. And, since this was all hands-free for Michael, he was able to respond quicky to suggestions and make adjustments where needed. The smart glasses technology was instrumental in being able to visualise the issue and find an effective solution as a collaborative team to increase the capacity of the “All in One Robot” to at least 80% of the name plate capacity.

Agricultural Engineering Project for De Heus in Vietnam delivered by IntES

With Michael spearheading the discussions utilizing these tools, together with the contributions of all involved around the globe, we were able to deliver a very good result.

Using Smart Glass from Real Wear has contributed greatly to the success of this project during Covid-19. The crisis of Covid-19 has radically changed our ways of working, technicians from overseas suppliers cannot come to the project site in China to install and commission the new equipment, so we are faced with the challenge of commissioning the equipment entirely remotely for the very first time. Using Real Wear® smart glasses during the commissioning, a smart wearable technology that is worn just like normal glasses, is an ingenious solution to this challenge.– Michael Zhang, Project Director, IntES China.

Client-centric, solution-oriented

The complexity during building projects execution and during commissioning is not to be underestimated, and has probably not been underestimated by many. Unfortunately specialists are a rare species and normally always occupied; an ‘occupational-hazard’ exacerbated and made even more complicated with all current travel restrictions. Our client-centric approach means we found an efficient solution with our IntES experts to engage the specialists without needing as much of a time commitment from them.

We’ve found that technology can be applied practically and facilitate the sharing of expertise for the client’s best interest, and we at IntES are always trying to find pragmatic new technology for the effective delivery of solutions. It’s simply about using the right tools for the job.