Better Building speaks with Harvey Wright, head of Optus 5G, about how the technology's being used to make remote work training possible through state-of-the-art technology.
5G promises to deliver the goods in a new world of ultra-fast connectivity. It's opening up new avenues for training and remote work completion, as Optus, AVR Lab (Augmented and Virtual Reality Lab) and SpringCity recently demonstrated in a solar panel installation utilising AR glasses and collaborating between Perth and Sydney. Harvey Wright, head of Optus 5G explains the tech and the potential.
Please talk us through your role and work at Optus. How is 5G shaping changes to your own work?
My role within Optus is head of 5G and I am responsible for the 5G portfolio. 5G is set to transform the way we live and work and we are committed to highlighting the genuine benefits that our customers can expect to see once they are connected to the network.
How have leaders in construction and training been using augmented reality (AR) technology to date?
With remote working becoming more prevalent in our lives, and travel restrictions impacting business operations, innovative technology has really stepped up to fill in the gaps in the Australian workforce. The construction industry has been integrating the use of AR technology more and more frequently to support its workforce and overcome the obstacles that it faces as a result of COVID-19. We’re already seeing this change take place, with the use of remote workplace training and assistance. Apprentices and junior employees can now be trained or assisted on the job with the use of AR smart glasses.
The benefit of an application like this is that it negates the need for multiple staff to be on-site at the same time. This is particularly relevant given social distancing measures and restrictions currently in place across the country, as it allows for real-time collaboration between colleagues when so much of the workforce is working remotely.
Could you please elaborate on your recent work with AVR Lab and SpringCity?
Optus has been working with a number of local start-ups to test future technology on the Optus 5G network to help educate Australians on the benefits of 5G and what our future will look like. The team at AVR Lab do some incredible work and we have been working closely with them to highlight how AR powered by 5G can transform the future of trade up-skilling and remote on-the-job training.
Working with the AVR Lab and Perth-based solar panel company SpringCity, we were able to demonstrate a solar panel technician in Perth being assisted in completing his job with the support of a Sydney-based engineer using AR over the Optus 5G network. The remote assistance was facilitated with the use of AR Smart Glasses worn by the technician in Perth – with the feed from his glasses delivered in high resolution imagery in real-time to the support team in Sydney, which was able to provide feedback both verbally and with the addition of an AR overlay to support visually.
How does the AR work? What 5G capabilities have made this increased connectivity possible?
5G, thanks to its increased bandwidth and lower latency, enables a more realistic and seamless AR experience in real time, with higher resolution video and imagery shared live between a command hub and remote location. This could mean that a technician or tradie can be guided through the steps of the job they are working on in real time by their colleague who has the same view as the on-site tradie thanks to 5G and the AR Smart Glasses.
What excites you about the technology? Are there any other examples of how this can assist with construction/safety and training?
The opportunities that 5G can and will deliver across a variety of industries is limitless. As 5G continues to roll out across Australia and across the globe, it will play a central role in providing businesses across almost every industry with improved efficiencies as businesses are digitally transformed thanks to 5G’s increased speeds, low latency and network capacity.
With both 5G technology and AR products rapidly evolving, this will open the way for more advanced use cases including:
- 4K live stream capture capability on the AR glasses (important when dealing with complex environments, where detail is crucial), and
- 5G Standalone Core and ultra reliable low latency communications. These emerging 5G technologies will further reduce network latency and improve
connection reliability – this is especially important for critical remote assistance applications where decisions need to be made in real time.