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Keppel O&M, IMDA Trial Smart Glasses for Remote Inspections

Keppel O&M, IMDA Trial Smart Glasses for Remote Inspections

Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) has begun trialling augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) smart glasses with Keppel Operations and Maintenance (O&M), the latter announced on Wednesday.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, disruptions to numerous offshore operations have forced companies to leverage extended reality (XR) solutions.

Workers will use the devices to receive real-time support and AR-powered workflows complete with artificial intelligence (AI), digital twins, and other emerging technologies via its novel testbed.

Keppel O&M worked with M1 to test-bed applications for Smart Glasses, harnessing M1’s 5G high-speed and low latency connectivity to enable quicker and more effective responses.

Similar projects from the company’s parent site aim to reduce emissions, physical resources, and operating costs for multinationals as they work to reach sustainable development goals (SDGs).

Keppel’s smart glass solutions will use camera lenses, microphones, mobile and WiFi connections, and speakers to provide real-time data for control rooms and achieve the following:

  • Site Inspection to digitise inspection and maintenance processes with smart glass technologies to view instructional overlays with voice commands, eliminating manual check sheets and providing remote guidance to slash working times up to 50 percent.
  • Digital Twin Virtualisation Remote Monitoring to safeguard on-site equipment with real-time sensor data with AR smart glasses, allowing remote workers to stream, capture, and transfer critical data to offices, boosting efficiency up to 40 percent.
  • Remote Virtual Walkthroughs to allow Keppel engineers and clients to inspect shipping vessels to spot design flaws, validate designs, and issues early on and reduce pre-construction risks.

Responding to the initiative, Chris Ong, CEO of Keppel O&M, said,

“As a provider of leading-edge solutions for the maritime industry, Keppel O&M is pleased to partner M1 in leveraging digital technologies to enhance yard operations and safety. During the Covid-19 pandemic when safe management measures limited physical inspections and site surveys, we were the first to officially conduct remote inspections for a newbuild vessel with a classification society using Smart Glasses.

He added his company would expand use cases of the new technology to deliver projects and boost yard operations, as well as its capabilities to increase digital solutions for clients according to its Yard of the Future Initiative, which aims to facilitate digital transformations for products and services.

Manjot Singh Mann, Chief Executive of M1, said his company was “pleased” to work with Keppel O&M to trial the smart glasses programme to empower Singapore’s maritime industry.

He continued, stating,

“Through M1’s robust 5G network, Smart Glasses can provide high-bandwidth immersive AR/VR environment that enables highly detailed representations and real time information to be relayed to users and control centres”

Leveraging such technologies could also allow the company to scale and replicate future operations to increase efficiency “across businesses and industries.”

The IMDA and Emerging Technologies

The IMDA, tasked with building Singapore’s 5G ecosystem, hopes to build a growing number of use cases and accelerate digital transformations for the nation’s local and global businesses.

Lew Chuen Hong, Chief Executive for the IMDA said in a statement,

“Singapore will continue to push the boundaries of innovation through frontier technologies such as 5G. We are excited to work with our industry partners to unlock the real impact of 5G. We look forward to seeing new and exciting ways 5G will benefit our businesses and consumers”

The IMDA has selected numerous projects for its 5G Innovation Programme worth $30 million USD, which will support the following projects:

  • Asia-Pacific’s first 5G mobile edge computing platform for healthcare-based MR and Holomedicine
  • A novel 5G-enabled outdoor cinematic AR experience
  • 5G-powered MR health tech
  • Southeast Asia’s first-ever maritime 5G XR smart glasses solution

Success Stories in XR Remote Guidance

The news comes as several key remote operations firms tap potential new use cases for the shipping and remote operations sectors in a bid to streamline processes needed to ensure logistical connectivity across the maritime, railway, and lorry freighting industries.

Representatives from Kognitiv Spark worked with remote workers operating in the maritime industry using HoloLens 2 mixed reality (MR) headsets to tap the company’s RemoteSpark platform.

Canadian firm LeeWay Marine shared its successes with RemoteSpark at a Microsoft HoloLens event, stating it had deployed the platform to resolve vessel concerns with significantly reduced turnaround times and cost-effective resolutions despite challenges from the coronavirus pandemic.

Taqtile, a leading AR platform company, recently wrapped up its Hangar 51 accelerator programme with the International Airlines Group (IAG) to provide remote guidance support for affiliated airports.

The company’s Manifest platform allowed IAG workers to assist operators with airport maintenance and repairs among a group of 75 invited companies to trial the massive rollout.

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