How Siemens utilizes Virtual Reality to enhance the employee experience
With more than nearly 300 production and manufacturing facilities and more than 385,000 employees, the global technology powerhouse Siemens is Europe’s largest industrial manufacturer and one of the most famous enterprises worldwide. Setting the highest standards throughout their line of business using innovative concepts and technologies, the company is constantly striving for new ways to improve existing concepts.
EHS & QHSE are crucial for employee & factory security
Ensuring the safety and health of their employees is an important and ever-present matter for companies worldwide. Especially industrial enterprises in the manufacturing business, whose employees work with heavy machinery in factories, face the challenge of continuously sensitizing their staff to issues such as plant security and occupational safety. For this reason, EHS training provides the staff with valuable insights about their workplace, underlying processes and implemented safety measures.
What is EHS?
EHS (short for Environment, Health, Safety) is a discipline that focuses on implementing practical aspects of environmental protection, risk reduction and safety at work. When it is combined with Quality Management, it is commonly referred to as QHSE. Other common acronyms are, among others, OHS, SHE, HSSE, QEHS and QHSSE.
Since these measures are so crucial for the safety of their staff, companies are constantly looking for ways to make EHS training more efficient. Immersive technology like Virtual Reality elevates the learning effect for employees, helping them to grasp the training content faster as well as to apply them more confidently. Siemens has acknowledged exactly this and successfully implements Virtual Reality to train its employees.
Virtual Reality allows for immersive experiences even beyond training scenarios
Thanks to its easy-to-use approach, the VRdirect platform allows the use of Virtual Reality not only for EHS and QHSE, but also for a myriad of departments and use cases, for example Sales & Marketing, Human Resources, training in general as well as on- and offline events. With no special development skills needed, Siemens departments can create complete Virtual Reality applications quickly and easily on their own. The broad feature set of the platform allows for the creation of immersive Virtual Reality projects that are not limited to virtual tours only, but allow for countless fields of application. In only a short amount of time, divisions can create Virtual Reality experiences tailored to their own specific needs with nothing more than a clear idea of a story and a couple of 360° images or videos. With the VRdirect platform, projects can also be constantly updated or developed further in real-time.
The potential of one Virtual Reality platform as a Virtual Reality mainstream tool for various departments
Besides the success of the EHS Escape Game, a number of other Siemens departments have already implemented or are currently developing Virtual Reality use cases with a similar approach using the VRdirect platform. Besides a web portal, the Siemens VR app (available in the company’s internal app store soon) serves as a central hub that allows code protected access to the Virtual Reality projects.
Siemens IT APD GLS in Munich has acquired the platform as a potential mainstream tool for internal Virtual Reality projects:
Next to VRdirect, Siemens IT APD GLS remains the internal contact for the solution, allowing departments worldwide to realize straightforward use cases in Virtual Reality.
Interview with Martin Weber, Senior Manager Digital Distribution at Siemens Smart Infrastructure / Distribution Systems / Operational Excellence
To what extent has the introduction of VR technologies contributed to the improvement of your EHS concept?
Very much, it has helped to reach employees in a new and interesting way on certain focus topics. The awareness for EHS is greatly increased by the virtually collected experiences.
How did your employees react to the new VR application?
We’ve had different results – but over 98% of our employees have responded very positively. Reactions went from enthusiasm about the content and technical possibilities to a need for discussion, improvement requests and cause analysis.
Where do you see the decisive advantage compared to the use of “classic” media within your EHS?
The unique selling proposition is the perfectly simulated situation that urges employees to react and thus to act consciously.
This prevents the general public from simply ‘tagging along’ with the crowd in stuffy training rooms. The game-based approach increases the intrinsic motivation of each individual employee.
What were your main reasons for choosing VRdirect?
There were different factors that played into the decision. Mainly the ease of use as well as excellent customer service and the low hardware costs. Also the fast implementation of small projects and their central integration into the existing media landscape were important reasons for choosing VRdirect.