Gaming controls to improve workplace safety

By Mansi Gandhi
Thursday, 09 August, 2012 | Supplied by: Sentient

As networking and communications technologies continue to reduce the attention span of workers, it’s becoming increasingly harder for companies to make workers sit through long but important safety presentations. An Australian software company, Sentient, is using this to its advantage. The company has used video game technology to develop MVX technology, which can be used for different workplace safety applications including employee induction and training, site supervision and monitoring amongst others, said Dean Bester, Director, Sentient.

The MVX technology, which brings data into a 3D true-to-life scene, can integrate data from smartphones or any other location tracking device. When connected to the network, the information from the smartphone or the location tracking device can then be used to locate the worker in the virtual environment. The technology can help companies teach core skills to the workers in a fun, interactive way, he adds. It’s hard to get that learning across when somebody is talking, said Bester, who expects to find many young tech-savvy takers for his latest technology. The interactive training scenarios are totally customisable. Customised games could be created based on the requirements of the company and the industry, Bester adds.

The technology is attracting interest from companies across different industry sectors such as oil and gas, mining and construction, and other industrial sites. Training and safety issues can be discussed with multiple users interacting with the plant at the same time, informs Bester, noting that the MVX technology also provides a good picture of underground facilities, subsea pipelines or remote railway track. Being able to view the exact physical location of employees and contractors on-site in a 3D environment has tremendous safety benefits in the event of a crisis, said Bester.

Sentient has developed an induction demo which can be downloaded from its website. The system offers a number of advantages: it can provide an accurate view of remote operations; provide a simulation environment for training; deliver impressive visualisation tools for sales and marketing; ensure easy comprehension of complex systems and technology; and help to operate safely from remote locations. “One experienced operator at an MVX station can train or control a number of trainees physically in a work environment. They can guide or talk trainees through complex tasks in the field,” said Bester.

Australian oil and gas company Woodside is currently using MVX for new inductees to its Browse site. The technology allows people to navigate their way around the site with gaming controls, in a true-to-life virtual world. The software developed by Sentient for Woodside’s Kimberley induction program has provided workers with a more engaging and effective site induction, said Jim McQueenie, Woodside’s Health, Safety and Security Manager for the Browse LNG Development. “The software provides a realistic ‘virtual experience’ of the environment in Broome, which enables our people to become familiar with the health, safety, security and environmental hazards and controls before they travel,” McQueenie said. “This familiarity is an important element of the induction that cannot be replicated by traditional means such as PowerPoint presentations.”

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