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Augmented and virtual reality will help build the utility workforce of the future 

Andy stone | greentech media | 9 december 2016 

To read the full article in Greentech Media, click here.

The utility industry is facing challenges including decades-old infrastructure and a rapidly retiring workforce. The young workers just entering the industry may dream of working with the latest in digital smart grid technology, but out in the field, these younger technicians can find themselves addressing analog repair challenges more familiar to engineers of generations past.

Change is afoot, however. Early movers in the industry are experimenting with the latest wearable technologies that will combine the real world with the digital -- and bring utility operations into the 21st century.

Commenting on this, Philippe Tellier said: From a worker-safety standpoint, smart clothing and wristbands can be used to monitor key biometrics.  A technician who has to climb up a transmission pole with layers of clothing could end up in a dangerous situation. A smart shirt that monitors heart rate could indicate that the worker needs to slow down.”

Glen Mannering added: Getting the wearables right is the easy part.  Getting the business and technical architecture right is the hardest.  Business integration and data are always on the critical path on these projects.  In the end, you will need to integrate it into the enterprise processes and solutions, and that’s going to take time and investment. To be successful, it should look like an enterprise project by the time it’s done, and utilities should plan for that.”

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Philippe concluded: The other component that might not exist yet is mobile device management to allow the enterprise to manage all of those wearable devices.  Think of all the infrastructure that’s behind an iPhone and that supports applications. Wearable technologies won’t have the same scale as an iPhone, but all the layers of infrastructure are needed and must be put in place.”

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