Professional Skills Training
TAURON Polska Energia S.A. is a Polish company grouping companies from the energy sector. The Tauron Group is the second largest group of this type in Poland and one of the largest energy holding companies in Central and Eastern Europe. It operates in all areas of the energy market – from coal mining to distribution and sale of electricity and heat.
VR training design
Switching station training: a matter of life and death
A switching station is a place where the slightest mistake made by a worker can lead to his or her death. The client needed a VR work simulator that would familiarize the employees with the workplace and the specifics of the equipment, thus allowing them to do the right thing based on the orders received from a supervisor. The aim was to provide a safe step-by-step training course for a team that deals with risky activities. The actual challenge, though, was to move from strictly paper-based training to one that would best reflect real-life conditions that the workers are likely to face.
Modeling and simulating the workplace to the fullest
The training applications we prepare in VR are counted among the most appreciated services. The possibilities of modern equipment make it possible to display photorealistic graphics and use devices able to track our movements with high accuracy and ease of use. That is why VR has become ideal for creating various training simulations, regardless of the scenario.
The most important issue when developing a VR work simulator like the one presented here is to create an appropriate scenario. Therefore, our goal is always to make the world modeled in VR work exactly as it does in reality. And this project was no exception. Once we finished creating the scenario and completed the documentation, we were able to proceed with the development proper. The work was carried out in two-week sprints, where we created graphical features and application mechanics simultaneously.
We created a professional skills training course for a specific job where the user must perform a series of operations in a specific order. The modeling we did was a photorealistic, one-to-one representation of the workplace, with added elements of conversation that inform users about their tasks and provide comments on them step by step.
The VR work simulator scenario is simple, yet effective. Users start their training in a room where they can get acquainted with the ways to move and navigate in the application, and also the basic tools that will be in use. Once the users are ready, they have to answer a call from the dispatcher. First, they learn about the work that must be done. Next, they get the right equipment and start acting. The job consists in performing a series of works at the switching station. There are several additional training features, such as getting the right hints or exploring exam options. After completing the training, the user receives an appropriate summary.
Practice makes perfect (and safe)
In the case of training applications, it is all about safety and saving costs associated with the training itself. Owing to the application we developed, the client can now conduct the training anywhere, anytime. There is no need to take employees to a specific facility.
It is also worth adding that such training courses make it possible to develop good habits in employees and are much more effective than standard forms of training.
All the features of the app allow users to exercise their practical skills that are essential for their workplace. They teach them how to avoid mistakes and how to know what to look out for.
Such VR work simulator should be mandatory for all workers in order to avoid employee reluctance due to missing knowledge (as well as to avoid worst-case scenarios, including death).
Photorealism and VR join forces to ensure occupational safety
The VR work simulator sports photorealistic graphics made in 3ds Max. The application itself, in turn, was developed in Unreal Engine 4. This product was specially designed to run on HTC Vive devices.