Augmented Reality meets Decision Support

In yesterday’s post we discussed how Virtual Reality (VR) can be utilised in OSS. Today we look at how OSS and Augmented Reality (AR) to be further augmented with decision support systems to help OSS operators.

As a starting point for this exercise, we have to think about what OSS situations have a spatial reality so it seems logical to start at genba, the real place. To me, this implies out in the field and other OSS screen-time activities.

As geo-positioning technology on mobile platforms (eg tablets, smartphones, wearables) improves they become an increasingly viable platform to augment the CSP field worker experience,

Field workers are becoming increasingly armed with mobility tools to assist with their daily activities. Job scheduling, remote access to design packs, redlining of designs for immediate design updates, etc.

In the past I’ve written about a cool tool called AugView that lets you augment what you see in front of you with a spatial representation of physical assets, such as conduits, cables, etc that are actually hidden underground.

The next step comes in overlaying what these workers can see with helpful information, Examples include being able to see virtual wireframes of where racks, equipment, cable trays, cables, etc need to be installed within a premises once they arrive onsite. Perhaps even an overlay of current status on those assets (eg the wireframe is flashing red/amber if the rack has a device within it that is in an alarmed state).

Or like the AugView example, underground cables the field workers need to find (or avoid). Or for a designer doing a walkout, to prepare the design immersively whilst onsite using gesture or tablet markups, then giving the customer a view of what the job will look like. For an equipment activations team or cabling team, their view will be overlaid with important design data such as device configs (IP addresses, etc), routing tables, splice / patch diagrams, live circuits / customers, operational status (eg test, in service, in alarm, etc.)

This streamlines the design process, firstly because designs won’t need to be translated from field notes to CAD format and operators won’t need extensive job-by-job design packs. They won’t need it all explicitly documented in design packs because they will be able to query any additional information they need such as nearest neighbor, site contact
and access procedures, etc. via their mobile OSS tools.

They will also have decision support tools that learn from how the fastest operators get tasks done and prompt others with the steps they need to follow for any given process, including data collection required, notifications / approvals, closure, etc.

The aim of these tools is obviously to streamline the field work – to increase quality, to reduce truck rolls, etc not to add further administrative effort. As such, user experience (UX) design expertise must become more prevalent within OSS vendor product teams.

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