Partnership: Since 2018, the Danish tech companies NNIT and Virsabi have offered value-creating visualization technology solutions to larger enterprises and smaller production companies. The purpose is to help companies increase the quality of their work and reap the benefits of digital transformation.
Breakdowns or delays on production lines. Logistical challenges. A lack of insight and access to secure production environments.
These are just some of the challenges that Danish production companies face every day. Until now, the knowledge needed to solve these problems has often required the physical presence of certain employees and key people both inside and outside of the company.
That no longer needs to be the case. NNIT and Virsabi work to deliver both standard and specially developed visualization software for virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality, breaking down physical barriers and helping companies in e.g. the industrial production industry to collaborate across time and location.
CEO at Virsabi, Michael Harboe, Business Development Director at NNIT, Brian Troelsen, and Advisory Director at NNIT, Kasper Kronmann Nielsen tell us how two innovative companies can help production companies pick up steam by leveraging the giant digital leap provided by visualization technology.
Remote collaboration has become a need to have
Virtual reality (VR) is a fast-growing technology that presents the user with a virtual world that covers the entire field of vision. Augmented reality (AR), on the other hand, shows the user reality as it is, but with an extra layer of images, sounds or other data on top:
"AR can give even the junior technician superpowers. The glasses allow him to keep his hands free for work, while receiving instructions from someone sitting elsewhere in the world, without disturbing daily operations. In fact, this is the most awesome tool in the box, as it reduces labor costs and increases the quality of work", says Michael Harboe.
AR has really gained a foothold in a large number of industries, and within the production industry, it has been shown to create noticeable business value in various use situations. Since COVID-19 caused travel activity to plummet and reduced physical contact, the use of virtual solutions has accelerated in earnest, and the need for smooth workflows has caused remote collaboration to go from nice to have to need to have:
"Many production companies have had production facilities at the ready, but they have not been able to push the go button because they have not been able to bring in the people needed to carry out the final tests. If they are not ready to produce on time, it can mean both lost earnings and millions in fines. However, visualization software and devices like Microsoft's HoloLens have made it possible to complete the installation and start production", says Kasper Kronmann Nielsen, adding:
"Fundamentally, it is about making a limited resource more accessible, streamlining workflows, and increasing both the speed and the quality of production."
Production companies' license to operate
Another area where technology has seriously proven its value to business is in connection with quality assurance – especially in secure production environments, where it is not physically possible to come and go as one pleases:
"Many production environments have strict requirements for safety and compliance, and this means that not everyone can come in and do the work. Yet with AR, you can send a device to an employee who can perform the work while receiving instructions from someone watching on a screen elsewhere. This is particularly suited to the identification and correction of defects, maintenance of production facilities and general quality assurance. In this way, the technology has become a license to operate for many companies, because they can now perform their work asynchronously," says Kasper Kronmann Nielsen.
A front row seat for training
Companies have also embraced VR – particularly in connection with training and teaching. VR provides a sense of presence and interactivity, which means that it is both easier to learn, and that the knowledge is retained better than if the training takes place in a classroom or via a regular instructional video. New cases even suggest that, in some cases, VR training surpasses peer-to-peer training – perhaps because there are no disruptive elements during the training process.
"Putting on the VR glasses launches a universe with a training course that adapts to the reality you are in. This is as close as you can get to the real experience of doing the work. The advantage is that you can do it anywhere, and thus avoid having to go to a physical location to receive training, and at the same time you get the feeling of being right there in the front row," says Michael Harboe.
Specialist knowledge meets solid professional ballast
When Virsabi and NNIT decided to enter into a strategic partnership in 2018, they had the ambition of helping production companies reap the many benefits that digitization and, in particular, AR and VR have to offer.
According to Brian Troelsen and Michael Harboe, the partnership is good business for both parties:
"NNIT is good at understanding customers, validating use cases and ensuring general compliance, as well as IT security and EU GDPR compliance. In addition, NNIT has a partner ecosystem within a wide range of technologies – for instance, they are a Microsoft Mixed Reality Partner. Due to NNIT's history and size, they have extensive experience of integrations for both new and existing solutions and technologies. For their part, Virsabi contributes niche knowledge and specialized competencies within AR and VR, and have a large network within the startup environment and smaller production companies. The way I see it, this is a match made in heaven," says Brian Troelsen. Michael Harboe adds:
"Obviously, we complement each other's skillsets very well. And we also work well together on a personal basis."
Business value for both large and small
Together, Virsabi and NNIT have both launched projects for larger companies – including in the life science industry – and for smaller Danish production companies that need to get started quickly.
"NNIT has a great deal of knowledge about how to scale up from POC and pilot studies to full-scale enterprise use, and in combination with Virsabi's specialist know-how, we have the muscle to shoulder projects for large and complex companies, and very much for the small and medium-sized ones as well. The technology is mature, and it is neither cumbersome nor costly to get started", states Kasper Kronmann Nielsen, who concludes:
"Using visualization technology, we will make a joint effort to support the production companies' digital transition, which will trigger noticeable resource savings, enhance competitiveness and increase resilience."