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How E.ON infrastructure subsidiary Avacon builds its own internal VR training platform

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Avacon AG is one of the largest regional electricity and gas network operators in Germany, based in the district town of Helmstedt in Lower Saxony. The company is a subsidiary of the E.ON Group. The network area extends from the North Sea coast to southern Hesse and over 66.000 kilometers.  

Marek Hadrys is a technical training manager and responsible for the Virtual Reality Training Platform. He is convinced that VR will fundamentally change everyday working life, far beyond today's application possibilities and concepts. For this reason, he is a VR pioneer and significantly responsible for the use of VR training.

A trailblazer in Virtual Reality training

E.ON infrastructure subsidiary Avacon, the largest regional power- and gas- infrastructure operator in North-Germany, has been using VR training since 2018 to complement their on-site training efforts. Avacon’s key objective is to build a library of recurring training experiences that trainees can use to complement their traditional training curriculum, and which allows them to train complex training situations repeatedly without any cost or risk associated.

 
A completely self-operated, internal VR platform

Using the VRdirect platform, Avacon is able to create the VR training experience internally: 360° content is created using standard 360° cameras mounted on helmets and edited with standard freeware software. The VRdirect platform is then used to create interactive VR experiences with additional text boxes and explanations, as well as to distribute the experiences across the entire company using a private VR app that runs on a number of Oculus Go and acts as the hub for all VR training experiences. In the meantime, several content creators across a number of locations have been creating training content that is distributed across all user devices.

Using 360° images and video, the experience allows users to identify health and safety risks evident in scenes at the job site without actually being in danger. With more time and less stress in this virtual environment, employees learn how to do the job right and how to do it safely. All outside distractions are eliminated in VR training, increasing the user’s focus on the content of the experience. To learn more about how to improve safety and performance in VR training, read our article on the subject.

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A partnership to turn visions into reality

In the mid-term future, the VR training will be integrated in the regular training schedule to complement on-site training efforts. In the long-run, VR training has the potential to become an integral part of training efforts and to be integrated as a mandatory training method. This will eventually result in less travel for trainees because training can be conducted at decentralized locations and distributed to a multitude of different devices and operating systems.

In particular, the goal of Avacon's partnership with VRdirect is to develop a library of training content that employees can return to at any time without additional cost or health and safety risk. Even with the best training, information is best retained through repetition. The fact that these experiences can be freely revisited is invaluable to the training process and resulting in 70% fewer costs for company-wide safety training.

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“We are just starting to explore the potential of VR training within a large organization like ours. Initial results are very promising and prove the advantages of VR-based training. We will certainly expand VR training as a high priority to digitize training efforts and improve our employer branding. VRdirect allows us to operate the entire VR training platform internally, which is key to not only keep control over the content and build internal expertise in VR training but also to keep costs in line with our training budgets.”

Marek Hadrys, HR Manager at Avacon

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