Even though the level of skill required and workload are increasing, most manufacturers and infrastructure industries continue to face the challenge of workforce shortages. On the other hand, automation using robotics is not progressing fast enough. Robots are skilled at handling fixed tasks, but they cannot work with the flexibility that people can. For some tasks, such as bulk materials handling that people can do easily, even as a part-time job, most attempts to implement them with robots have not been practical. Robots are also expensive, so it is difficult for all but the largest companies, such as automobile manufacturers, to adopt them. Under these conditions, digital technologies that are able to reduce the workload for on-site workers and multiply the added value created by several times have begun to attract attention. An example of such technology, which uses digital devices that on-site workers can wear to receive AI and IT support, improve their skills and implement DX, is a solution that we call “Connected Worker.”
Connected Worker can improve the standard of on-site work to that of an experienced technician through use of various digital supports including:
Connected Worker is starting to be introduced to achieve complex goals such as “improving work productivity,” “managing worker health and safety,” and “preventing work errors and omissions,” for on-site work that is intolerant of error, such as in high-tech materials facilities, chemical plants, oil refineries, and electrical power plants.
Below shows use cases of DX in on-site operation of a factory, a construction site and for maintenance, respectively. We have found that it can also be effective in logistics, warehusing and transportation domains. For example, by assigning a speech recognition digital device to long-distance truck drivers, they can interact with the fleet management system while driving, within the scope of what is permitted legally.
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