Emergencies and other unpredictable situations are common in the utilities industry and at construction sites. Often, an outside expert can help you save time and avoid problems. But getting that help often means unplanned site visits, work stoppages, and redirecting resources from other tasks. It all adds up to delays and extra costs.
Remote assistance reduces the need for onsite visits. By providing you with instant access to the required expertise, it saves you time and money.
This guide explains how you can use free tools and standard collaboration platforms already deployed within your organization to provide the next level of remote assistance—remote assistance that is enhanced by Augmented Reality.
Advanced remote assistance using Augmented Reality requires no special configuration or tools. Simply use one of the existing enterprise collaboration apps—or even regular Skype—to share the screen of your device while vGIS is running in order to let the remote expert or client observe the job site with Augmented Reality overlays in real-time.
Compatible Screen-sharing Apps
Broadcasting Augmented Reality visuals in order to enhance the remote assistance with contextual information requires an app capable of sharing the screen of your device. Here are a few popular platforms:
If your organization does not have a centralized web-conferencing solution, a few tools on this list, including Skype and Zoom, offer a free version you can download. We recommend Skype, since it is the most widely used free personal communication system.
Launching a remote-assistance session is easy. Simply follow these steps:
- Make sure you have a stable Internet connection.
- On your phone or tablet, launch your preferred conferencing solution (e.g., Microsoft Teams) and begin a call or meeting with a remote expert or group of experts.
- Initiate screen sharing so that the participants in the call or meeting can see the screen of your device.
- While sharing your screen, launch vGIS and proceed to show AR visuals in context in order to explain your situation and get help.
Please watch the video below to review an example of a live remote assistance session using vGIS.
The method described in this guide will enable you to stream the required visuals from your phone or tablet to any screen: an office PC, another phone, or even the HoloLens. Being able to enhance your actual environment with AR visuals of the existing or proposed infrastructure or objects will give remote experts additional context to work with. Equipped with real-time visuals, they can more knowledgeably guide you through utility locates and clash reviews. You will also be able to show clients what a structure would look like once it is completed even if they cannot join you in person.
Remote experts can lend a hand in countless scenarios. The use cases below have been tested by many vGIS clients in real-life conditions.
Complex utility locates
Field technicians in the utilities locate industry often encounter situations that require an outside specialist to help them finish the job. Until now, this necessity has entailed delays, unexpected costs, and the diverting of resources from other tasks. With vGIS-powered remote assistance, on-site crew and off-site specialists can communicate in real-time while reviewing live video feed that is overlaid with augmented reality visuals showing the surrounding infrastructure. The result: jobs can be completed more quickly and accurately, and without pulling personnel off of other tasks.
Emergencies are unavoidable in the life of a field crew. When they happen, remote experts can help by providing advice and guidance from afar. And vGIS can save precious time by overlaying GIS, BIM, and reality capture information on live video feeds to give those experts a comprehensive overview of the situation.
During the design, planning, and construction phases of a project, project teams must typically make on-site trips as a group to review clashes and validate as-builds. The number of project members who need to actually visit the site may be reduced to a few persons or even a single person when other team members can review a live feed of designs that are displayed with Augmented Reality against the surrounding area or as-builds.
Showing proposed designs as holographic overlays on real-world settings at a true-to-life scale helps you to communicate an accurate picture of your plans. Remote stakeholder engagement removes the need to be physically on-site to conduct such reviews, thereby reducing the time required to secure buy-ins and minimizing design revisions.