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Daikin sees future with “smart glasses”


NETHERLANDS: Daikin in the Netherlands has been trialling the use of hi-tech “smart glasses” to assist its service engineers in the field.

The augmented reality spectacles support on-site engineers, giving access to a huge amount of technical information. As well as access to databases and error codes, video conferencing with helpdesk staff and colleagues around the world is also possible. These features also provide the possibility to give live and virtual training for technicians or engineers. Also, by using glasses, the engineers are hands-free to follow instructions immediately.

Seeking a way to minimise time with customers and avoid interruptions, Ronald de Feyter, field service manager at Daikin, explored the Gem Vision system offered by Rotterdam-based company AR-Development BV.

“Our field engineers currently average two visits a day,” de Feyter explained. “With more complex failures, they have lost a lot of time searching for, for example, schedules and troubleshooting information. Contact with the service desk is mainly by phone. It proves difficult to describe complex problems without anyone looking into it. That had to be different.”

Mark Smit, managing director of Gem Vision, said: “With a tablet you always have a view from a different angle and the image is not enriched with data. Moreover, you do not have your hands free. Research shows that you work 30% more efficiently if you have instructions in your field of view. Thus, glasses were obvious.”

Gem Vision chose Vuzix glasses and built a web-based platform. For the development, Daikin and Gem Vision met twice a week. “We kept Daikin informed and checked whether the functionalities we built in the platform also matched Daikin’s wishes. If necessary, we could adjust,” explained Mark Smit.

“The glasses have voice recognition and are able to recognise objects and codes. A GPS function shows the service desk where the engineer is located and a service desk employee can see exactly what the engineer sees. Also, the engineer can take photos and videos. This material is automatically saved and a workbook automatically filled in.

Vuzix M300 provides most of the features and capabilities of a modern smartphone, in a handsfree wearable device. Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity makes it ideal to pair with Android or iOS devices or connect wirelessly with wi-fi to the Internet.

Daikin has begun the initial trial with two glasses. “We will first look at how AR technology develops in the field for a few months,” said Ronald de Feyter. “First of all, it is an efficiency course for our engineers and the service desk, but I also see training opportunities. Junior engineers learn the work by doing it, with senior supervision on the service desk. And because the glasses can also be included, we can also use examples of practice for our installation company training programme.”

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