Told knowledge and manuals are currently commonplace in training for service personnel. For now. Zreality and Empolis have now developed a bot assistant that actively supports employees during training. With its help, employees can learn process steps in the metaverse in a practical way and do not only have to fall back on theoretical knowledge when service is required. The bot assistant is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week – for service employees worldwide.
Training for service employees usually involves a lot of theoretical knowledge. Although the instructors usually explain the process steps well and precisely, the training courses are limited to the spoken word. Videos are supposed to illustrate the individual processes for field service, but basically they only convey the necessary knowledge in theory. Service employees still receive manuals, PDFs or PowerPoint presentations as reference works – and are then supposed to be equipped for future service cases.
But the reality shows: such training courses serve as an introduction, the real learning only takes place in practice at the customer. New employees need a while to internalize the process steps and movements. It is almost impossible to avoid the fact that the systems are then at a standstill for longer during maintenance and repairs and that errors occasionally occur. Unless, of course, virtual bot assistants are used to help service employees with both training and service cases.
Virtual bot assistant guides during service training.
The software manufacturers Empolis and Zreality GmbH have developed such a bot assistant. Empolis specializes in structuring knowledge with the help of knowledge graphs – a semantic database. Content is linked so that the resulting database can be searched in a targeted manner. In addition, Empolis uses artificial intelligence (AI) to bring the action sequences and relevant markers required for the various service cases into a logic. Zreality GmbH accesses these logics of the knowledge graph with its cross-reality platform and translates the individual markers into virtual actions.
Training for field service employees then no longer takes place in a real seminar room, but in the metaverse. Here, employees perform virtual actions, with the bot assistant guiding them, giving tips and helping them find the next step. Which part of the plant needs to be opened, which screw needs to be loosened next? The bot shows all of this. The virtual assistant also recognizes when an employee is not acting according to the predefined logics and supports them in carrying out the process steps correctly.
Instead of just being passively taught the training content, participants actively learn it because they perform the action sequences in the metaverse themselves. “In addition to hearing and seeing, training for service employees can now be extended to include experiencing and motor skills by means of a virtual intelligent service assistant,” explains Eric Brabänder, Chief Product Officer at Empolis. “This makes it quick and easy to learn product training or service cases, especially for complex products or machines, and optimally prepares both machine operators and customer service.”
Fewer errors, shortened service time.
The great advantage of this type of service training is that employees can repeat the training as often as necessary. So before they go out to a service case at a real customer, they train the steps and handles until they have internalized them. The typical beginner mistakes are made in the metaverse and have no impact on reality.
On the customer’s premises, the field service employees are then confident in their handling of the equipment and perform maintenance and repairs not only accurately, but also more quickly. That’s because, “Employees also exercise their motor memory during virtual training sessions,” says Brabänder. “They remember the process steps more quickly, so fewer errors occur and service time is reduced.”
Another added value is that the virtual trainings in Metaverse can be accessed at any time and from anywhere in the world. Employees can learn from almost any location, at any time and at their own pace. What’s more, they can meet up with other people who are somewhere else entirely in reality. As avatars, employees participate in collaborative training and presentations.
These can be held in the Metaverse without much effort, because no one has to travel there specifically. And outside of these shared times, each employee can still learn for themselves.
Training on complex machines or components, which in reality is time-consuming or difficult to learn under difficult conditions, is also much easier to implement in Metaverse.
Application beyond trainings.
These training courses in the Metaverse can be accessed via any end device. Participants experience the training in 3D via PC, tablet or smartphone; special virtual reality (VR) glasses provide an even more realistic experience, but are not a prerequisite. The technical hurdles for training in the Metaverse are therefore extremely low.
But the bot assistant is not only used in virtual training. “The bot offers the potential to guide untrained employees or machine operators during service or when reconfiguring machines and systems,” explains Brabänder. Employees can then also solve many smaller service cases on site themselves with the help of the virtual assistant, without the need for a service technician to travel to the site first.
This significantly reduces the downtime of plants. In addition, the digitalized knowledge in the metaverse can also be used for sales or project planning: Employees can demonstrate the new plants to customers even before they have been planned, let alone built.
Practical learning instead of theoretical knowledge – with virtual training in Metaverse, this is possible without much effort. The bot assistant developed by Empolis and Zreality supports server employees in learning action sequences. Employees can repeat the process steps as often as necessary, regardless of time and place, until they have internalized them and are ready for real-life use at the customer. Since this training format addresses not only the senses of sight and hearing, but also motor memory, service employees learn faster and more efficiently. The Bot Assistant can also assist untrained employees with smaller service cases.
Zreality GmbH was founded in Kaiserslautern in 2015 and has since implemented more than 100 projects in the areas of virtual, augmented and mixed reality. The company specializes in B2B solutions for metaverse projects and has developed an easy-to-use and secure cross-reality platform – Zreality Grids. The platform is an all-in-one solution where people can meet, educate or collaborate as avatars in immersive, highly realistic 3D environments. The software is cloud-based, content can be managed in real-time 3D and used web-based on almost any device. Customers such as HP, BASF, ZDF, Porsche, General Dynamics, Opel and Hilti rely on the development skills of the team from Kaiserslautern.
Empolis is a leading provider of cloud-based software in the area of Intelligent Decision Support Solutions based on Artificial Intelligence. Empolis’ approach is the intelligent combination of knowledge and content management in standardized SaaS products according to the motto “DECIDE. RIGHT. NOW.” Many national and international companies as well as public institutions, such as ABB, BMW, Bosch, Bundesverwaltungsamt, Carl Zeiss Microscopy, Homag, Koenig & Bauer, Kuka, MAN Energy Solutions and Vodafone, rely on Empolis solutions and its comprehensive industry and process know-how. There are currently around 500 Empolis installations worldwide and every day around 700,000 professional users use Empolis solutions to serve around 40 million end customers.