Post-Covid industry, engineering, collaboration and remote work 

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How reinvent industrial conception for tomorrow’s world?

COVID-19 is challenging the global economy and the lockdown has forced companies to rethink the way they (co)operate. This started by quickly maintaining operations through the deployment of remote and collaborative working tools, and by trying to maintain a corporate unity with individuals who were previously used to evolving together in a common environment. Remote and collaborative working is the immediate response that companies are currently trying to implement via video tools and shared storage. But it also leads to variable results, highlighting the gap between an a priori “digitised” economy and the reality in the field, with companies that were not ready to revise their usual practices.

 We’ve seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months” and we are now fast moving towards a “world of remote everything.

Satya Nadella (Microsoft CEO)

Indeed, technology has made it possible to provide solutions to cushion the consequences of this crisis and those related to the lockdown. However, some trades and tools are more difficult to adapt to remote working, for example when it requires a specific environment, or strong human interaction.

The lockdown has imposed a change in work habits, making necessary and urgent to think about “tomorrow’s world” for companies, and on the changes in tools needed to become more agile.

Perhaps the opportunity today is the opportunity to make a difference.

Future is a long journey which starts now

This situation requires the implementation of new strategies, particularly professional ones, or companies risk seeing productivity fall. So we have to look ahead to the future, to tomorrow’s world. Namely, to anticipate the changes needed to be more versatile in the face of a crises and to be ever more efficient in collective activity. The aim is to find an appropriate response to future developments.

Regarding technology aspects, the idea is to revisit old engineering methods giving sense to projects and organizations in order to be more aware of overall impacts. 

What’s the world after that? How do you prepare for it? No one is a mind reader, but it is in everyone to find a new way now.

Working in tomorrow’s world

The need to be able to work effectively remotely while maintaining the same level of collaboration has become crucial for many companies. However, this practice could not be adopted by all and needs to be more widely spread. This is a must in order to respond to the current crisis but also to prepare for future crises. Because in the near future, the lockdown will have an impact not only on work but also on the world of work.

Will collaborative technologies be enough?

The context of the crises has highlighted many collaborative tools and solutions on the market, mainly facilitating video exchanges between groups and remote team workers, or using shared storage.

SkyReal offers a Virtual Reality (VR) solution that allows remote collaboration between co-workers, immersed in their 3D design. But this is only part of the answer SkyReal wants to address to its clients.

For SkyReal, the objective is to be prepared for tomorrow’s world, to be proactive in building a model, a vision, in which companies will evolve in the near future. The goal is to go much further than a standard collaborative solution, by integrating the human being at the heart of its innovation projects, in order to make individuals more efficient and effective.

The challenge is that many businesses are not adapted to remote and collaborative working and now have to find other 3D solutions that the standard 2D collaborative tools of audio/video videoconferencing cannot bring. Such as:

How do you get potential buyers to visit a large equipment project without being able to bring them on site? How to design an innovative system and share the project with your partners? How to prototype an object, a vehicle etc, to present and discover it without human interactions? How can you involve your colleagues in an industrial project to anticipate risks?

In the long run, 2D video collaborative tools will not suffice and the use of much more advanced 3D virtual reality solutions will be essential to carry out certain activities efficiently.

Virtual reality solutions to imagine and integrate tomorrow’s world

Among the technologies contributing to paving this future world of business and building new ways of working, immersive hardware systems and virtual reality are viewed as indisputable “enablers”. VR allows the users to immerse themselves in an alternative world that is realistic enough for them to believe in it. This world may be a future development project, but it may also be a reality on which to project oneself. In other words, the immersion brought by a VR solution would have limits only set by the human imagination. Above all, it could enable users to better build tomorrow’s world.

SkyReal has been thinking for a long time about the tools of tomorrow that will give more effective collaboration, whether between colleagues, customers or suppliers. Convinced by the desire of industries to faster complex systems design, SkyReal is very closely interested in the transformations of the engineering processes.

Through its products, SkyReal wants to ensure that the human being is always at the centre, and that the user is at the controls and that the solution cannot grant itself this final decision-making power, even if it is capable of developing AI or Big Data solutions to facilitate its work / even if it would be still possible to integrate AI or Big Data bricks to automatise the work further.

In other words, humans bring to machines and technologies capabilities that are unique to them. Those of being able to be creative and to evaluate complex and unprecedented situations in order to anticipate a solution. Future tools will make it easier to develop, design and produce, but will not be able to do that without human intervention, especially in large projects such as the design of a complex product such as a vehicle or aircraft.

Going beyond a simple preliminary project idea thanks to virtual reality

The paradigm shift required for innovation, is sometimes not evident, and it can become complicated to bring a new idea to maturity in an overly conservative organisation. The lack of experimentation culture, the hierarchical weight or the absence of management letting go are all internal brakes limiting innovation.

The challenge, which is particularly human, is therefore to succeed in bringing disruptive projects to fruition and bring about a breakthrough by bringing another vision, despite these obstacles.

And this is typically the idea that SkyReal carries with virtual reality. The aim is to enable people to become more efficient, by supporting their capacity of innovation and giving them the power to take their initial ideas further, even if it means shaking up an organization and the way it operates.

Tomorrow’s champions will therefore be those who succeed in adapting and being able to push their ideas by involving their ecosystem, to a realization in line with the initial plan.

The VR solution developed by SkyReal is in a way similar to this idea of surpassing oneself. The use of VR technologies and the provision of alternative visualizations to help users, offers the possibility of turning initial ideas into reality and sharing them easily. This changes the user’s point of view and makes it easier to see the final result.

SkyReal thus fully integrates the human dimension right from the design phases of its VR solutions and makes the technology accessible to all employees, even without high level computer knowledge. This facilitates the implementation of routines specific to a given business context, and leads to more technical progress and efficiency.

Widespread adoption and VR deployment journey

VR technologies have existed for more than 20 years, and have recently gone through a phase of excitement, development and testing, that has enabled SkyReal to highlight some very beneficial industrial Use Cases. It is thus a ideal partner to take a traditional organization out of the old world, and bring it into tomorrow’s world.

Although in industry this has only been done on rare occasions, the introduction of VR technologies in the industrial world is still in its beginnings.

The efforts being made for mainstreaming of VR among professionals remain important with a strong challenge which is to move from a phase of experimentation to a phase of massive adoption.

SkyReal VR, is a tool designed and adapted for industrial deployment in order to turn a mature technology into a standard that is fully integrated into an organization’s operations. It also has the integration required by industrial organizations that will enable them to move forward in their VR deployment journey. The point at which they can launch their virtual reality integration projects autonomously.

Finally, it is indeed the VR deployment journey within companies that is the real challenge of tomorrow’s world. The implementation of remote working is the very first stone in the building block, the most obvious and the easiest to implement in a relatively short period of time. But it does not provide an answer for every company.

How could a company then transform its operations, and turn them towards VR and integrate it into its organisation? This is the question that many companies will have to ask themselves very quickly.

Thinking about tomorrow’s world means assessing right now a company’s ability to sustain itself in a crisis, such as the one we are going through. It’s about knowing if an organization is capable of strong and rapid changes or not. The objective is to set up a path for the deployment of new technologies, probably unavoidable in the future, to maintain economic and commercial activities.

SkyReal has been working in this direction for a long time now with a proposal for relevant tools, including a continuous improvement process thanks to the R&D teams. These tools enable us to respond to this crisis characterized by the arrival of Covid-19 and bring reliable collaborative work solutions to industries that are preparing to evolve in tomorrow’s world.

Anything’s possible. The future is here.