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  The utility industry faces future workforce problems, as baby boomers retire. In addition to this, safety and efficiency are on-going issues. We have seen the rise of Augmented Reality (AR), which allows for the real-world environment to be painted over with digital enhancements. Other variants of this such as mixed reality, artificial intelligence, and assisted reality are set to take off in a big way. However, how do emerging technologies tie into the energy and utility sector? 

According to an article by GloblaData Energy, “AR may benefit investor-owned, municipal and cooperative utilities in improving business processes, speed power restoration and help address the challenge of an aging, retiring utility workforce facilitating the preservation of institutional knowledge.” 

As mentioned with aging workers retiring, the energy sector will need to train and hire thousands of new employees. This poses a challenge because novice employees may not be familiar or experienced enough to work with dangerous equipment or circumstances. AR has the ability to allow new trainees to interact with 3D models of equipment and gain a better understanding of how they function. Thus, enabling more “in-depth training and faster information retention.”

AR can also be developed to fit in with existing data in the field. For example, the article reveals systems being designed that “combine GIS technology with AR to display infrastructure such as pipes, lines, cables and other assets in-field and in real-time.” 

It is clear that AR allows for greater visualization of underground assets and equipment. Not only that, but according to GlobalData Energy,  accidents may be reduced by AR- wearables or devices that “enable a subject matter expert to advise a field technician on what steps to take.” By implementing such technology, safety can be kept at the forefront. 

As the saying goes, “knowledge is power”—AR can expedite years of knowledge by experts in the industry to increase overall efficiency and productivity. The power that emerging technologies are set to have on the utility segment cannot be overlooked. 

We would love to hear from you on how you think AR will impact the energy sector!