25/11/2020 - 09:19

RemSense launches unique Virtual Plant

25/11/2020 - 09:19

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Photogrammetry is not new technology; most associate it with services like Google street view and it is this technology that RemSense has catapulted to extraordinary levels of resolution and detail with its Virtual Plant.

Photogrammetry is not new technology; most associate it with services like Google street view and it is this technology that RemSense has catapulted to extraordinary levels of resolution and detail with its Virtual Plant.

Virtual Plant was borne from RemSense’s growing suite of technology solutions, specifically its Technology Development as a Service (TDaaS) program. Responding to a technical challenge to provide a virtual reality platform for energy giant Woodside, RemSense worked in close collaboration and partnership with the Woodside team to create and implement Virtual Plant.

TDaaS is the company’s ‘engine room’ driving its growth by generating tailored technology solutions to clients’ problems. Like Virtual Plant, some of these solutions have wider applications, outside the original client’s needs and RemSense commercialises them to the wider market providing a return on investment to their clients.

RemSense CEO Steve Brown explains most virtual reality digital tools use scanned or 3D models of the environment. While RemSense offers this type of product too, Virtual Plant is very different. It uses real 3D pictures, so the viewer is experiencing the location in exact reality – if there’s corrosion on a pipe or a puddle on the floor, they see it.

He says it has a similar feel to using Google maps street view but with superior resolution that can reach small, hard to access spaces and show detail as fine as equipment ID tags and electrical wiring tags. If you can read it in person on site it can be read through Virtual Plant.  

As a result, Virtual Plant allows users to visualise remote assets in extraordinary detail and it acts as a visual ‘fabric’ providing the basis for additional functional tools to be added including live IoT instrument and device outputs.

Best of all, Virtual Plant is quick to implement and cost effective. RemSense expect that clients could easily recoup the cost of implementation through productivity improvements and operational cost savings in the first year.

Mr Brown explains: “When RemSense undertook its product development, the team realised there was an opportunity to vastly improve the usability of the product by increasing the resolution, while keeping it extremely fast.”

The business case for Virtual Plant began by helping to solve some of the challenges involving training and  orientation for staff intending to work on offshore platforms to help them understand the task, hazards, and the environment they’d be working in before they arrived.  

“Because of Virtual Plant’s extremely high-resolution imaging and ease of use Woodside started using it for other activities including inspection and project planning.”  

“It’s taken on a life of its own and is now used throughout Woodside. The company also recently opened it up to contractors who can use it to look at the area they will be working in before they even fly up north.”

As you can imagine with such high resolution and detail, data security is a critical factor for RemSense’s clients. Woodside assisted RemSense greatly in ensuring that all cyber security concerns were addressed.

“It is secure, works on a phone or laptop or through 3D goggles and it’s fast – if you’re spending time rendering images, that’s not going to work.”  

Such has been its success RemSense is now delivering Virtual Plant to the wider market.

“We were given a brief that required a solution that would be secure, available to every single employee wherever they are in the world, at any given time. Furthermore, it had to be easy to implement and use – no additional hardware or software, infrastructure   required.“ Mr Brown says.

“Over the past 12 months, apart from expanding the Woodside assets covered by Virtual Plant, we’ve been researching and collecting other asset use cases.”  

“While Virtual Plant is directly transferable to other oil and gas operators, we’re seeing strong interest from other sectors too. It’s totally relevant to any industry that operates a distributed asset base.”

Mr Brown says that whilst the development and implementation of Virtual Plant predates the COVID-19 pandemic there’s no doubt that Covid-19 has played a part in the growth of this technology by highlighting the improved efficiencies attainable by adopting new tools and empowering the workforce.

“Virtual Plant is an enabler adding value across all aspects of our client’s businesses he says. We see Virtual Plant as part of a ‘new normal’ way of operating when Covid-19 is no longer a factor”

The tagline of “Any Device. Any Time. Anywhere in the World“ certainly seems apt, not just for Virtual Plant but for RemSense’s view of how all of its technology solutions should be delivered.

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