A growing number of companies are actively integrating video game technology for training and collaborative purposes. As this trend grows, virtual reality technology is now set to become an integral tool in heavy industry and warehousing.
Three companies, Next View Software, Consafe Logistics and Accellos, are expected to fight for their share of the virtual warehouse management systems market, with products being released within a few months of each other. These management solutions are being developed to give users the ability to visualize the layout of their warehouse in 3D. Read More...
This technology will provide unprecedented access to warehouse contents, which users will be able to browse through a virtual walk down the aisles or with a bird’s eye view. Clicking on rack locations will deliver all relevant data on the items enclosed, such as product source, stock-keeping units and the age of the inventory. Query searches will also help speed up management processes by rapidly highlighting areas where products can be found.
Next View’s product, called Next View Live, is based on the Microsoft .NET Framework and was released in January 2009. “Our strategy for real-time visualization is in response to over 20 years of experience in the industry. Customers around the world have been asking for better visibility tools for years and the technology is in place to satisfy this demand,” said Steve Simmerman, Business Development leader for Next View Software.
The Accellos product was scheduled to go into beta testing on March 1st and become widely available in April 2009. On the other hand, the Consafe program is slated for release during the second half of 2009.
Industrial processing plants are also getting their own virtual world technology, created to improve plant safety and security and to increase production and efficiency, while controlling costs.
Developed by Invensys Process Systems, the Immersive Virtual Reality Process can recreate existing or proposed plants, rendering them at 60 frames-per-second. Wearing a stereoscopic vision headset and holding controls that sense gestures, users will be able to move in any direction through their virtual plants.
“The ability to simulate complex processes in connection with virtual actions allows the user to directly experience an environment that changes over time, making it more effective at transferring skills learned in training to the work environment,” said Maurizio Rovaglio, director of IPS global consulting.
The system was developed with a variety of functions in mind, ranging from process design to maintenance engineering and plant safety.
“Because rarely performed volatile tasks, such as plant shutdowns, can be rehearsed in a stable, realistic environment, users and operator trainees have the opportunity to learn and make mistakes without putting themselves, the community or the environment at risk,” added Rovaglio.
This innovative technology, while still in testing phases is expected to be released in mid-2009. To view a video demonstration, click here.