Osterholzer Stadtwerke, Trianel and ZReality use mixed reality glasses for remote support of switching operations
World premiere at the Osterholzer Stadtwerke. On May 5, 2020, the first mixed reality application for Microsoft HoloLens 2 in the energy sector was launched worldwide. Around six months after the project start, the joint pilot project of the Trianel Digital Lab and the Osterholzer Stadtwerke enters the test phase with the handover of the mixed reality glasses. The pilot is investigating how mixed reality technology can be used to safeguard manual switching operations in the medium-voltage grid and digitize documentation requirements. The application enables switching processes to be carried out more efficiently, since only one employee needs to be on site instead of two. The Microsoft HoloLens 2 application digitizes the entire switching operation, so that installer assignments can be planned and executed more effectively and the handwritten documentation can be replaced.
“Thanks to the work in the Trianel Digital Lab and the many years of cooperation with our shareholders, we have a precise idea of what an application must look like in order to deliver digital added value for municipal utilities,” explains Dr. Oliver Runte, Managing Director of the Trianel municipal utility cooperation. “The fact that we are celebrating a world premiere with the application for the HoloLens 2 also encourages us as a municipal utility cooperation to take on a pioneering role in digital applications for the energy sector,” continues Oliver Runte.
Christian Meyer-Hammerström, managing director of Osterholzer Stadtwerke is convinced of the new application: “We offered ourselves as a partner for the development of the application, as the idea had already been pushed by one of our employees. The application has a model character and we are pleased to be able to further develop this project in the Trianel Digital Lab together with other public utilities”.
Digitalisation of the switching operation leads to more efficiency and work safety
“The aim of the pilot project is to test the mixed reality technology in a concrete application for a municipal utility company. In its current form, the process of a switching order for the activation of cable lines is very resource- and time-intensive because it is completely analog and paper-based. Everything still runs via forms and personal meetings,” says Dr. Philipp Stephan, head of the Trianel Digital Lab. Together, we looked for a solution that would relieve, support and, above all, secure the daily switching jobs of municipal utility employees. “As a TSM-certified company, the security aspect is particularly important to the Osterholzer Stadtwerke, as errors here can cost lives in the worst case,” Philipp Stephan continues.
This process can be fundamentally simplified by the new Mixed Reality technology. With the new application, all process steps for circuits in the medium-voltage network are carried out digitally: “Previously, three employees had to carry out the process. The manager created the switching order in a form, the employee who carries out the switching operation filled out the form in analog form. The responsible manager, the so-called switching order authorizer, then compared both forms manually and released the process. Errors can occur here alone,” explains Philipp Stephan.
First experiences already gained – positive feedback from employees
“The experiences we have already had with the previous HoloLens 1 glasses during the project have shown us that the glasses give the user a greater feeling of safety. It is also interesting for our employees to further develop their work processes using the latest technology,” continues Christian Meyer-Hammerström.
The 3D and virtual reality specialist ZREALITY from Kaiserslautern is also working on the mixed reality project in the medium-voltage grid. “At the Osterholzer Stadtwerke we can test the first European application of Mixed Reality with the new glasses from Microsoft. Let’s talk about applications in the energy industry even worldwide” emphasizes Adrian Dietrich, Head of Sales & Marketing of ZREALITY.