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Verizon Turns to AR to Train Technicians

There are a growing number of companies who are exploring how virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) can aid in training and educating employees. US-based communications company Verizon has joined the list of firms that are using AR to assist in training.

Verizon has begun using AR as part of its knowledge transfer system to help train its FiOS technicians. FiOS is a bundle that includes internet access, telephone and television service, all of which operates over a fiber-optic internet connection.

Verizon has previously used Oculus Rift for training some of its other staff, but the new training programme uses AR and 360-degree video in order to deliver content and information to technicians in the field.

According to Joseph Beasley, vice president of field operation in New York City, the program is currently being rolled out for 4,600 technicians, with plans to further extend it across the company. Beasley says the main goals of the project as as follows:

  • Accelerate training
  • Cut costs
  • Create a technician workforce that can learn multiple skills and be nimble enough to go beyond core specialities
  • Quickly create training content where technicians are the stars
  • Develop a culture that uses the platform for community building, too

New York is serving as the test bed for Verizon’s FiOS unit. The city offers examples of several challenging conditions that technicians might face, such as up telephone poles, or underground in manholes.

“The goal is to store data and content and have it available. If a two hour installation can become 1:40 it can equate to millions of dollars over the year,” Beasley added, saying that technicians have largely embraced the new technology, “The best ideas are from the front lines.”

The new AR training has only been in place for a few weeks, but the company say it has already gained several valuable insights from the process. For future news on use of VR and AR in education and training, keep checking back with VRFocus.