5G IN ACTION: MIXED REALITY FOR REMOTE SUPPORT

Where has 5G been deployed to enable VR and AR for remote support?

As a part of the UK5G Testbed and Trials Programme, 5GEM is embracing 5G-connected AR/VR headsets to provide remote expert support to customers. With this setup, the manufacturer can guide on-site staff to fix relatively simple faults which would previously have required a callout of an engineer to the factory. 5G’s low latency is critical for this practical and comfortable VR experience. 

Mazak likewise provides support to customers who have purchased their machines. Typically, this requires a visit to the customer site by a Mazak engineer, and due to the wide range of machines sold by Mazak and the extent of customisation available, there is no guarantee that a single visit will result in a fix. But as part of the Worcestershire 5G project, 5G-enabled augmented reality presented a new solution. The technology facilitated interactive live streaming and communication between centrally located experts and remote engineering staff operating in the field, improving their ability to fix issues the first time. This reduced the need for follow-up visits, minimised machine downtime for Mazak’s customers, and improved service quality.

Based on an assessment of nearly 240 follow-up diagnostic visits over a two-month period, Mazak estimated that 15% could have been avoided had the system been available. With each follow-up visit taking a further day on average, this equates to around 216 man-days over a full year, reaching just over 2% of available engineering resources. The manufacturer has recognised that this time could be better used elsewhere, showing that 5G could be the answer to reducing customer downtime, as well as service and warranty costs.

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